From bursting onto our screens and into the charts in 2002 as the winner of Pop Idol, to hitting the road in support of his seventh studio album, Will Young has had a frantic 17 year career. Jamie Walker speaks to him before his show in Brighton about his longevity and whether we may see him headlining Pride in the future

IT MAY not be well known, but for a period of time Will Young called himself a resident of our fine city.

And speaking to him, it is clear to how excited he is to return to Brighton.

On October 1 Will Young will hit the stage in Torquay, the first date in his 21 show UK tour.

And while the jaunt around the country will see him play historic venues like Blackpool’s Winter Gardens and London’s Eventim Apollo, the date at the Brighton Centre on October 9 holds a special place in Will’s heart.

For a time Will used to own a home in Kemp Town and is relishing the chance to revisit some of his old haunts.

He said: “I feel very comfortable in Brighton. I always try and get out, even if it’s for a couple of hours. I can go for a run or something.

“Brighton is a great place to get out and explore. I love the shopping arcades. I love pottering around The Lanes too.”

But this will not be the first trip Will has made to Sussex this year.

In May Will was spotted dancing on Worthing Pier as part of the music video for My Love, the first single off new album Lexicon.

And the singer said the day out was one of his most enjoyable video making experiences, and his former hometown even played a part.

“It all started with Brighton Pier,” he said.

“Years ago I said to my friend that I wanted to do a video on Brighton Palace Pier. I wanted it to be a one shot video.

“We looked into it for this song, but it’s just too busy, logistically it would have been very tough.

“I love the Englishness of a Pier. The English Riviera is just amazing.

“We ended up in Worthing and I’d never been there before.

“I came down to check it out the week before and it was the worst weather ever. But when we came to shoot the video the sky was so blue and glorious.

“We were shooting for about 20 hours, but the love of the project gets you through it.

“It’s amazing still getting to have bucket list moments.”

The talk of Sussex brings us on to one big matter, Brighton Pride.

The LGBT+ celebration has made a habit, in recent years, of bringing star-studded headline acts to Preston Park.

So, does Will think he could close the festival one year? The answer, unfortunately, is no.

“I would love to do it”, the singer said.

“But I don’t think I’m big enough for that. I think it’s great that people are now getting bigger acts in for Pride and paying for them.

“I think they need to do that in London. At the moment they’re not getting the acts like Brighton. Brighton are doing it right and bringing more people to the city.

“If I wanted to see anyone headline it I’d like to see it be Troye Sivan – he’s an amazing representation of the LGBT community, but maybe he’s not had enough time to become big enough yet.”

It seems a lifetime ago that Will Young hit mainstream popularity when he was crowned the inaugural winner of ITV’s Pop Idol.

More than 13 million people watched Will topple second-placed Gareth Gates to steal the crown.

Now, 17 years on, Will is delighted to still be as relevant in the British charts as he was back then.

He said: “People think pop is a very youthful thing, but what I’ve noticed is the more you stick around the more respect you earn.”

“I’ll run into pop stars now who are way bigger than me and more relevant but they’ll be the ones excited to meet me.

“The variation in the charts is amazing, the fact the grime scene has become more mainstream is great. We have some amazing MCs in this country now.

“But I do think music has become more throwaway now – you can have 200,000 streams of a song and still people don’t know who you are.

“I feel very lucky that I have fans that were created and know who I am.

“I don’t think fan loyalty is what it used to be.

“But the reaction to the new record is a nice feeling, it shows those fans have stuck by me.”

Lexicon, released in June, is Will’s seventh studio album to date.

It was his first record since 2008’s Let It Go to not top the charts, he was beaten to top spot by rising Scottish singer Lewis Capaldi.

But it seems that Will is still just happy to have so many fans supporting his music.

His new tour, An Evening With Will Young, will see the singer run through a few songs from Lexicon as well as his better known hits.

And while the phrase “An Evening With” implies a laid back night of entertainment, the show will be anything but.

“I quite like starting with a big finale,” Will said.

“Why save it to the end? There’s a surprise at the beginning, it’s something I’ve never done before.

“This tour opening is something I’ve wanted to do for ten years.

“The stage could get messy but the audience will be fine.”

There are some bands that have a tendency to steer away from classic hits, especially when they have a new album out, but Will is a man who understands the importance of playing the fan favourites that got him where he is.

He said: “I always recognise that it’s important to play big hits from the back catalogue.

“I might have played them 1,000 times, but it might be someone’s first time hearing it.

“There will always be moments in songs everyone loves, no matter how many times you’ve played them.

“If you go into them with a negative mindset you may feel a bit bored but I love music and my songs so I love performing them.

“I wouldn’t be doing stuff I didn’t believe in.”

Will Young plays the Brighton Centre on October 9. For tickets visit