- A feature from the January 2017 issue of Suffolk Norfolk Life magazine
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Stephanie Mackentyre meets singer/songwriter and musician Paul Young
At 60 years old, Paul Young had to support each other as friends as ‘Am I going to get the next job?’ Many we spent so much time together performing and on the road. I prefer to perform with my friends around me. Even when the band changed members I still had the keyboard player and the manager; we stayed together throughout as a trio for 10 years and they kept me grounded. I remember Jed the manager said to me when things did start taking off with my solo career, ‘We’re going to make sure you don’t throw any pop star tantrums.’
I think there are relatively few artistes who believe the hype the media create about them. I’m like most musicians in that we have all the same insecurities. You know your own limitations. I have a good friend in actress Michelle Collins (East Enders and Coronation Street). Even she, when the job ends, still thinks is still happy to be on the road being part of a band. Born and brought up in Luton, his first band Kat Kool & the Kool Cats was quickly followed by Streetband, the remnants of which formed the Q Tips in 1979. The band had a one hit wonder with the song Toast. He’s always said he prefers to be in a band rather than performing as a solo artist. “Even as Paul Young the solo artist I surrounded myself with friends and musicians so I could fool myself I was actually still part of a band.”
I asked Paul if, when his solo career took off, it was hard to remain himself once the media branded him a teen heartthrob? “I’ve always fought to stay grounded. When I was in the Q Tips we people have an interview and then stay in their job for the rest of their working lives. We get this scare every six months or so; you are only as good as your last song or album. So as a musician you are constantly getting reappraised all the time, sometimes positively but sometimes negatively.” Paul left the Q Tips to begin his solo career. “The Q Tips were out of a record deal and my manager had a feeling in the wind that something was going to happen to me.