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Interview: Shayne Ward

6 min read

After winning the very first season of the UK’s X Factor way back in 2005, Shayne Ward has enjoyed success at a consistent level over the last decade with the release of 4 studio albums and finding his feet on the West End Stage in Rock of Ages and on the ice as part of the line up on season 8 of Dancing on Ice in 2013.

The singer has recently unveiled a brand new record in the shape of Closer which was created with the the help of his fans and a successful PledgeMusic crowdfunding campaign. Following the release of Closer we got the chance to speak with Shayne about the new LP as well as his views on being a sex symbol and gay icon and his work outside of the recording studio. Here is what he had to tell us…

Brendon Veevers: How are you Shayne and where does our interview find you today?

Shayne Ward: I’m good thanks, mate. The album came out last week so I’ve been doing loads of interviews and signings all over the UK.

Shayne Ward - Closer (Deluxe)BV: You recently released your brand new album Closer which came out on April 13th. What can you tell us about the new album?

SW: Closer is my first album in over 4 years and a lot has changed in that time. This album is probably my most personal yet, as I have co-written every track (except the two covers on the deluxe). It’s back to good old fashioned soul pop melodies and proper vocal performances.

BV: We have heard the album and it’s pretty good! Where would you say you drew inspiration from during the creative process of the writing and recording of Closer?

SW: Thank you! I really love old school music with proper melodies and great harmonies like The Stylistics and the Bee Gees, so I was definitely inspired by them. You can hear the sentimental 60s soul touches in My Heart Would Take You Back and there’s even a disco funk track called Rendezvous!

BV: Are there any standout tracks on the record for you that you hold a little closer to your heart than others?

SW: Every track is so different and shows a different side to soul pop but I really enjoyed doing Crying Lying Eyes. I call that my George Michael song! There’s even a sax solo! Haha.

BV: Closer is your first full-length release since 2010’s Obsession. What have you been up to since the last record and why has it taken so long for us to have a new album from you?

SW: I did a few West End shows and appeared on Dancing on Ice which was loads of fun. But I was writing and recording music during that time too, trying different things and collaborating with different people. It wasn’t until I got in the studio with Mike that it clicked. Hopefully the fans enjoy it because they have been so patient over the years.

BV: You worked with PledgeMusic for the release of Closer. What led you to go down the crowdfunding path and is it a route you would recommend to other musicians?

SW: Absolutely. I think the industry has changed so much since I won the X Factor. Crowdfunding, at the heart of it, is about connecting with your fans, offering experiences and really including them in your journey. I’m lucky to have such passionate, loyal and supportive fans… many have been with me for years! It was really nice doing the karaoke nights and afternoon tea with them.

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BV: We were lucky enough to catch you doing your thing on the West End while you were in the cast of Rock Of Ages and you were incredible, I’ve gotta say! What was that experience like for you and are there any plans to return to the West End stage?

SW: Thanks! Glad you liked it. That was such a fun character to play! I miss the blonde hair sometimes. I would love to get into more acting so watch this space.

BV: In the last 10 years you have released several albums. What’s been the best part of the journey so far?

SW: There have been so many special moments in the studio and on tour but one that stands out time and time again is the moment they announced I won the X Factor.

BV: You found fame 10 years ago on the UK’s X Factor when you were crowned the winner of the 2nd Season in 2005. The show has changed a lot over the years. Have you continued to watch the show?

SW: Yes, it’s a great show and I still tune in every year!

BV: Many previous winners have failed to lead successful careers following their win but you have remained a fixture in the UK pop scene ever since your win in 2005. What do you think is the secret to keeping the engine running after taking the crown?

SW: I absolutely love what I do – you can’t keep me from it! There are ups and downs in this industry, you just have to learn to pick yourself up and keep going.

BV: What would you say has been your biggest accomplishment of your career so far?

SW: Starting this new chapter with the new album. It’s good to be back with new music, definitely been long overdue and I’m feeling really positive about the future.

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BV: You are regarded as a sex symbol and a gay icon. How does it feel to be regarded this way?

SW: Haha I am very flattered!

BV: You have been very supportive of the LGBT community. How important are your gay fans to you and your career?

SW: I’d like to think the support and love is mutual. In fact, I started my career singing in a group with two lovely ladies, who later got married to each other. They are my very dear friends and I was honoured they asked me to be their best man. Guess you can say LGBT people have been part of my life and my career from the beginning… And will always be!

BV: Going back to Closer, the record was written by the very successful Mike Stock from Stock, Aitken and Waterman who comes with a long list of previous successes including Kylie Minogue and Bananarama among many. How did the collaboration come about?

SW: A songwriter from Liverpool called Laura Walton suggested to Mike to work with me and he reached out. I was flattered to get the call and hear he wanted to do a whole album!

BV: What would you say you took away from working with Mike on the new record?

SW: Just a confidence in writing and expressing myself. He has a special way of listening to your stories, finding the heart of it and putting it in very straightforward and catchy pop melodies.

BV: You have recorded an acoustic version of the Sugababes hit About You Now for the new LP. What drew you to this song?

SW: It was actually Mike’s idea. I laughed a bit when he suggested this song because of course Sugababes released About You Now the same week I came out with If That’s OK With You. They debuted at number 1 and I made number 2. But no bitterness there! A good song is a good song, and it really shows in a stripped back arrangement.

BV: Will you be heading out on the road to deliver the new songs to fans?

SW: I would love to! Stay tuned.

BV: Thanks Shayne – all the best with the release of the new album J

SW: Thank you mate!

Shayne Ward’s new album Closer is out now! 

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