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Watch > Episode > Will Young - Who I Am

Will Young - Who I Am

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Be Yourself and Happier

Will Young is a British singer, actor, and LGBTQ+ advocate who rose to fame as the winner of the inaugural season of “Pop Idol” in 2002. Beyond his chart-topping music career, Young has become an influential figure known for his openness about mental health, LGBTQ+ rights advocacy, and his continuous artistic exploration. In this compelling London Real interview, Will joins host Brian Rose in studio to discuss his experience on Pop Idol, his views on Simon Cowell and how the music industry today compares to 2002.

Will Young’s journey to stardom began with his participation in the reality singing competition “Pop Idol.” His soulful voice, authenticity, and captivating performances won the hearts of both the judges and the public. Young emerged as the show’s victor, securing a record deal and laying the foundation for a successful career in the music industry.

Following his “Pop Idol” win, Will Young’s debut single, “Anything Is Possible/Evergreen,” became one of the fastest-selling singles in the UK. The success continued with his debut album, “From Now On,” and subsequent releases, showcasing Young’s versatility as an artist. His music blends various genres, including pop, rock, and soul, earning him critical acclaim and a dedicated fan base.

Will Young has been an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and mental health awareness. As an openly gay man, he uses his platform to address issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community, advocating for inclusivity, acceptance, and equal rights. Young’s candour about his own experiences has contributed to breaking down stigma and fostering conversations around mental health within the LGBTQ+ community.

Beyond his accomplishments in music, Will Young has pursued a successful career in acting. He made his theatrical debut in the West End production of “The Vortex” in 2007 and went on to star in various stage productions, showcasing his theatrical talents. Young’s ventures into acting expanded to television, where he appeared in shows like “Skins” and “Strictly Come Dancing,” demonstrating his versatility across artistic mediums.In addition to his performances, Will Young has explored writing, sharing his insights on mental health and the entertainment industry. His book, “To Be a Gay Man,” delves into his experiences as a gay man, discussing mental health, self-acceptance, and the broader societal context of being part of the LGBTQ+ community.

Will Young’s openness about his struggles with mental health has been a catalyst for important conversations surrounding well-being. He has been candid about his battles with anxiety and depression, emphasising the importance of seeking help and reducing the stigma associated with mental health challenges. Young’s advocacy aligns with broader efforts to foster a more compassionate and understanding approach to mental well-being.

Complementing his advocacy efforts, Will Young has been actively involved in charitable work. He supports organisations working towards LGBTQ+ rights, mental health awareness, and other social causes. Young’s commitment to using his platform for positive change reflects a deep sense of responsibility and a desire to contribute to a more inclusive and compassionate society.


Will Young’s journey from winning “Pop Idol” to becoming a multifaceted artist and advocate showcases not only his artistic talents but also his commitment to making a positive impact on societal issues. Through his music, acting, writing, and advocacy, Young has demonstrated the transformative power of authenticity and openness. As he continues to contribute to the entertainment industry and advocate for important causes, Will Young remains an inspirational figure, encouraging others to embrace their true selves and fostering a world where diversity and acceptance thrive.

Chapters

00:00 | Trailer.
02:09 | Brian’s thoughts on the episode.
05:27 | Brian’s introduction.
06:14 | 2002, Will enters Pop Idol show with an innate sense of the future.
09:14 | Boot camp for how to be a pop star.
10:13 | Limited past experience.
12:25 | Memories of sharing the joy of the 20 week Pop Idol experience.
15:12 | When Will answered back to Simon Cowell, one of the biggest moments of his life.
15:54 | Why he did it.
18:43 | Is Simon Cowell a bully?
20:52 | Touring with others from the show and coming out.
23:27 | Publicly coming out back in 2002.
26:20 | Being outspoken on LGBT issues for the younger generation.
30:56 | Negative and positive decisions following winning Pop Idol.
33:05 | Not managing his ego.
33:50 | Is it possible to make music if not happy?
34:31 | I think you are pretty unlikeable, Lois Evans tells Will.
35:43 | How he never has a bad day at work.
37:54 | Using the tennis ball technique.
39:20 | True connection with the audience is a spiritual feeling.
42:06 | Musicians sometimes feel a performance is an out of body experience.
43:00 | PTSD, trauma, depersonalization, derealisation and hypervigilance suffering.
51:26 | Limited benefit of medication.
53:08 | Experiential therapies.
55:41 | Will’s other artistic endeavours in film and a play.
59:29 | Difference between performing in concert as yourself and acting a part in the theatre.
1:01:04 | Why Will feels more vulnerable in the pop world than acting in a play.
1:03:06 | How the music industry today compares to 2002.
1:09:08 | How Conor McGregor moves astonishes Will and introduced him to Muay Thai.
1:10:51 | Why Will would like to eradicate the word failure.
1:15:34 | Learning how the voice can be a tool to link us to our personalities.
1:19:19 | Considering doing a Ted Talk.
1:20:14 | What Will would like the next five years to hold for him.
1:21:16 | A love for teaching.
1:23:46 | Does he still need to have another Number One Album?
1:26:10 | Phone call to the 20 year old Will Young.
1:27:41 | Best advice ever received.
1:28:35 | Relationship with parents.
1:29:50 | Advice to the young person who wants to be like him.
1:31:19 | Brian’s summing up.

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