Your new album Lexicon reminds me so much of your album Echoes which featured your standout track Jealousy, it feels like a natural successor to that album, even though you had an album out between these two called 85% Proof, in 2015?
I made that song Jealousy with Richard X, and the same writing partners Jim and Mima Eliot. And when we did that album Echoes, we always said pretty much that when we finished it that we wanted to do a part two to it. So that is really what this new album is, it is part two, for now, because it was just so enjoyable to do and we clicked as a partnership. That song Jealousy changed my career for me.
I was about to say that too! It elevated you from this reality show (Pop Idol) winning singer to an established singer/songwriter, wouldn’t you agree?
Well it moved it on, didn’t it? And it happened so naturally and it’s weird because let’s say even though I am not selling records like my first single, which was the fastest-selling single or whatever, so I am never going to get to that again, but I think for myself creatively that was a game-changer, and when I did that song I could have thought “Well, I’ve done it”. For me personally, this is the place that I wanted to reach, then I floundered for a few years because I didn’t know what to do now, and considered stopping music, which I did do! I just did not know what to do. Then I got back in with Jim and Mima, and the first song we wrote was All The Songs, and I kind of thought “Oh yeah, oh I remember this, this is quite fun”.
It would be crazy if I didn’t mention your ‘very risqué’ Rankin directed music video All The Songs, the first track from your latest album Lexicon. Did you give this world-renowned photographer free reign with it?
Well, we came up with it together, all the characters, the references, and particularly the sailor who was referencing a Jean Genet film. We get on really well, and I just thought it was one of those brilliant moments where the collaboration just worked. It looked beautiful, and it’s got a lot of lead in it, there is humour in it, and sexiness in it. It’s asking questions in that why is it that women are always expected to do these type of videos. I just thought it was fantastic and looked so epic in a way, although that might be the wrong word.
Is that the purpose when you write a song, and if you decide to make a video, then it is to make an impact with that video?
I always want a video to make an impact, and I have always ‘loved’ doing all of my videos, and by being very proud of all the people that I have worked with over the years. They have just been unbelievable. I don’t really often come up with a video idea when I am doing the song but for that song (All The Songs), suddenly it just came to me about what would be a job where someone would have to hear a song a lot that reminds them of their ex, and I thought well, a stripper! So it came to me that way.
The reason why I asked the question is that I know you do a lot of acting, so presumed that was the case?
It’s a completely valid question and also because I am an actor that is why I do enjoy the videos. It doesn’t scare me to try and play a part and also, it was music videos that made me realise that I could act. So it was that way around in that they (the videos) really helped me and “I really liked doing this”.
Will Young will appear in Concert
Cardiff St David’s Hall