FEATURE: Joe McElderry “I don’t believe that you need to put yourself in a box and say this is what I am going to do for the rest of my career.”

Having been awarded the title ‘flopstar’ the moment his debut single “The Climb” failed to hit the number 1 spot, it is good to see that X Factor winner Joe McElderry is a popular fella. Having been written off by the press within a week of winning the reality television talent show, McElderry decided to stay sheltered from the storm and focus on furthering the career he had always dreamed of. As The Kaje meets the Geordie gent in his dressing room ahead of another sell out show on his “Classic” tour, the happy go lucky star flinches slightly at the term “flop” but retains his warm smile as he states, “the press have made it out like it is massive highs and massive lows but to be honest there was no real flop period – I just changed record label.”

“I have kind of not focussed on any of the negatives of it, so it has been pretty plain sailing for me.”

“It was made into this big deal that my career was over because I had been spotted in a supermarket buying a pint of milk. You can’t go shopping when you are famous apparently.” Clearly accepting that a career in the public’s eye brings both its fair share of positive and negative feedback, McElderry, who still lives in Newcastle, may have been affected by his very public slaying but now that he has laid the foundations of a solid career in entertainment, his beaming smile and natural warmth simply shrug them off. He continues, “It has been fine. It has been absolutely amazing and I have just enjoyed every minute of it. I have kind of not focussed on any of the negatives of it, so it has been pretty plain sailing for me. I have just enjoyed every experience I have had.”

“What I wanted to do is try explain the journey,” explains McElderry of his debut solo tour. With two tumultuous years in the spotlight already behind him, McElderry is too gracious and grateful to do anything but focus on his fans. Unlike many an X Factor star, McElderry has decided against biting the hand that first fed him, instead using the tour as a celebration of the diverse audience both X Factor and Popstar To Operastar have brought him to. “There are two audiences that come see the show now. It ranges from five year olds to teenagers to middle-aged people to older people. When I step out on that stage and look around the room there is everything from a group of five year olds with their family to some seventy year olds and even a hen party. For a performer to have such a wide ranging audience is fantastic. What I wanted to do was show a bit of everything. There is a bit of my pop album “Wide Awake”, a few of people’s X Factor favourites then the “Classic” section. You can see from people in the audience that they may not have heard certain parts of it, but they still go crazy for it which is amazing.”

While he may have never predicted that his name would be known for renditions of “Nessum Dorma” or “Canto Della Terra”, he refutes any claim that his career has changed direction. While on the X Factor he was celebrated for his versatility, and though he is seemingly aware that bold, emotional ballads are his forte, he sees little reasons to place restrictions on his output. “We are just making nice music, so that is probably what I will keep on doing. The Christmas album is the same really – a few uptempo numbers on there, a few chilled out numbers. But I guess really it goes back to where I started with the big emotional ballads, so that is kind of what I want to be doing. That is not to say I won’t do uptempo numbers as I enjoy doing them. I want to just try doing different things all the time. I don’t believe that you need to put yourself in a box and say this is what I am going to do for the rest of my career. That just limits you.”

“I always think that when you put a rapper with a singer that shouldn’t go, it is the most genius thing as it is so different.”

“I’d love to go into film, musical film, musicals. There are so many things I would like to try.” While his foundations may not be firmly laid, McElderry is far from comfortable in his fortunate position. A born entertainer, he craves innovation and seeks new challenges. Rather than being comfortable in a framework that will further his fortune, he would rather challenge both himself and his audience by breaking the mould. Though film and stage work are clearly stated on his to do list, they are not at the top. The current cherry on the pie is explained by a beaming and excited McElderry, “I would like to try a pop/rap collaboration. I always think that when you put a rapper with a singer that shouldn’t go, it is the most genius thing as it is so different. I would love to try do something like that as I don’t think anyone would expect me to do that. Somebody like Dappy, Tinie Tempah or Tinchy Stryder. Any of those rappers would work because we are so different. If you put us together it would be amazing.”

While he may be full of big dreams, which we have little doubt he will more than achieve, McElderry lacks the ego that many of his contemporaries ooze. Having made his name as the affable boy next door, his lack of celebrity craving has allowed him to ride the wave of success unaffected. Far from feeling like an interview, McElderry allows you to be his mate, even if only for five minutes, and as he boasts a similar on stage presence, it is little wonder than every man and his dog is queuing by the stage door for an autograph after the scream fest that accompanies his stunning stage show. Now if only I could land the role of his biographer, or even if his best mate…

Joe McElderry is currently touring nationwide.

Words and Images: Jeremy Williams

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3 Comments

  1. I believe Joe has a house in South Shields. Otherwise a great article.

  2. You’re right that the ‘affable boy next door’ image is one Joe McElderry works to present but he is reality a compulsive liar and a cynical con merchant preying on young men to make money: http://t.co/RFvrCm8W

  3. Fabulous article. Extremely well written. Captures exactly who and what Joe is. Well done.


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