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HOME > RealityTVDB > Will Young

Will Young

Will Young (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)


William Robert "Will" Young (born 20 January 1979) is an English singer-songwriter and actor who came to prominence after winning the 2002 inaugural series of the British music contest Pop Idol, making him the first winner of the now-worldwide Idols-format franchise. His debut single, "Anything Is Possible", was released two weeks after the show's finale and became the fastest-selling debut single in the United Kingdom. Young also came in fifth place in World Idol performing his single "Light My Fire".

As a teenager, Young studied politics at the University of Exeter before moving to London, where he pursued a musical theatre degree at the Arts Educational School. Although enrolled in a three-year programme, Young put his studies on hold in late 2001 to become a contestant on Pop Idol. After winning the competition the following year, he released his debut album From Now On (2002) which went to straight to number one. Friday's Child (2003) followed one year later and enjoyed greater popularity, eventually going platinum five times in the UK and spawning three top five singles. Achieving similar success, the album's successors include the multi-platinum Keep On (2005) and platinum Let It Go (2008) with his most recent release Echoes (2011) becoming his third UK number-one album.

In addition to his string of platinum-selling albums, Young has undertaken numerous tours, acted on film, stage and television, participated in philanthropy, released books Anything is Possible (2002) and On Camera, Off Duty (2004), whilst his autobiography "Funny Peculiar" was published in October 2012.

Established in the music industry, his albums have spawned many songs that have accomplished top ten positions in the UK: four of which went to the number one spot. His success as a singer has been proved by his accumulation of multiple awards, including two BRIT Awards from 12 nominations, and the estimated worldwide sale of over eight million albums. Young's net worth was estimated at 13.5 million in April 2012.

Early life

Young was born in Reading, Berkshire, with a fraternal twin, Rupert Maxwell Young. He also has an elder sister Emma. He grew up nearby in Hungerford. He had a pleasant childhood and has often spoken about his happy memories of this time. Young was educated at three independent schools: Horris Hill School near the village of Newtown in Berkshire and from the age of thirteen, at Wellington College in Crowthorne, also in Berkshire, and at D'Overbroeck's College in Oxford. He then studied at the University of Exeter in Exeter, Devon, where he read Politics and graduated with a 2:2 honours degree. In September 2001, he became a student at the Arts Educational Schools in Chiswick, London, starting a three-year course in musical theatre with a scholarship.

Music career

2001"02: Pop Idol and touring

Main article: Pop Idol
In February 2002, Young came to national prominence by winning the ITV television programme contest Pop Idol. Contrary to press claims of being the underdog, after having beaten the widely accepted front-runner Gareth Gates in the final show, it emerged that Young had in fact gained the most votes in six out of the nine rounds of public voting. This was published in the Pop Idol book, which was released shortly after the programme.

In early 2002, Young joined his fellow Pop Idol contestants in a nationwide arena tour. The final concert at Wembley was in aid of the Prince's Trust, of which Young is an ambassador, together with Gareth Gates and Darius Danesh, the runner-up and third-placed contestant in Pop Idol. In June 2002, Young performed at the Queen's Jubilee Concert in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, singing "We Are the Champions" with Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor.

During July 2002, Young sang at two concerts with the renowned songwriter Burt Bacharach at Hammersmith Apollo and at the Liverpool Summerpops event. In August 2002, he performed at the closing ceremony of the 2002 Commonwealth Games, singing "I Get the Sweetest Feeling" in the pouring rain. He was praised by the announcer, Grandmaster Flash, who said that it was not easy entering a talent show. November 2002 brought an appearance at the Royal Command Performance. In November 2003, Young performed the wartime song "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square", accompanied by the Squadronaires, at the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

The songs Young sang on Pop Idol were:

Week Theme Song performed Artist
Audition Idol's Choice "Blame It on the Boogie" The Jacksons
London Rounds Day 1 " Part 1 "Up on the Roof" The Drifters
London Rounds Day 1 " Part 2 "All or Nothing" O-Town
London Rounds Day 2 "Fastlove" George Michael
Top 50 Semi Finals "Light My Fire" The Doors
Top 10 Inspiring Artists "Until You Come Back to Me" Aretha Franklin
Top 9 Christmas Songs "Winter Wonderland" Perry Como
Top 8 Burt Bacharach Music "Wives and Lovers" Jack Jones
Top 7 Film Hits "Ain't No Sunshine" " "Days of Wine and Roses" Bill Withers/ Andy Williams
Top 6 Songs of ABBA "The Name of the Game" ABBA
Top 5 Big Band "We Are in Love" Harry Connick, Jr.
Top 4 No. 1 Hits "Night Fever"
"There Must Be an Angel (Playing with My Heart)"
Bee Gees
The Eurythmics
Top 3 Judges' Choice "Beyond the Sea"
"I Get the Sweetest Feeling"
Bobby Darin
Jackie Wilson
Top 2 Idol Single A-Side
Idol's Favourite
Idol Single AA-Side
"Anything is Possible"
"Light My Fire"
Will Young
The Doors/Jose Feliciano

2002"03: From Now On

Young's first single was a double A-side featuring Westlife's song "Evergreen" and "Anything Is Possible", a new song written for the winner of the show by Chris Braide and Cathy Dennis. In March 2002, this became the fastest-selling debut in UK chart history, selling 403,027 copies on its day of release (1,108,659 copies in its first week). It went on to sell over 1.7 million copies, and on the official list of the all-time best-selling singles in the UK issued later that year, it was ranked eleventh. In 2008, Official Charts Company released the Top 40 Biggest Selling Singles of the 21st century (so far) in which Will's version of Evergreen topped the chart. On 31 December 2009, Radio 1 confirmed that "Anything Is Possible"/"Evergreen" was the biggest selling single of the 2000s decade in the United Kingdom.This was again confirmed on 7 May 2012 when Radio 1 played a countdown of the top-selling 150 songs of the millennium so far. "Anything is possible" won an Ivor Novello Award for Bestselling Song of 2002.

In October 2002, Young released his debut album, From Now On, which included "Evergreen" nominated in the Best single category in 2003 at the BRIT Awards and "Anything Is Possible". It produced three singles: "Light My Fire", "The Long and Winding Road" (a duet with Gareth Gates, released as a double A-side with Gates's song "Suspicious Minds") and "Don't Let Me Down"/"You and I" (released in aid of Children in Need). He won his first BRIT Award in February 2003 as Best Breakthrough Artist.

2003"07: Friday's Child and Keep On

Young's second album, Friday's Child, was released in December 2003. It features the singles "Leave Right Now", nominated in the Best British single category of the past 25 years at the 2005 BRIT Awards and winner of the Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically in 2004, "Your Game" (which won Young his second BRIT Award in 2005) and "Friday's Child" In November 2005, Young released his third album, Keep On, which included the single "All Time Love", nominated in the Best British Single category at the 2007 BRIT Awards. Other singles from the album were "Switch It On" and "Who Am I".

In May 2006, he sang at the Prince's Trust 30th Birthday, which took place at the Tower of London. From 12 September until 2 October 2006, Young toured the UK with his Keep On Live tour, which included the songs taken from his album Keep On and a selection of past songs. The official merchandise range for the tour, highlighted by the press, included a "tip and strip" pen which, when turned over, reveals Young in his underpants. In October 2006, Young sang at Nitin Sawhney's concert in the BBC Electric Proms series of concerts. He followed this by performing in South Africa for Nelson Mandela's Unite of the Stars charity concerts.

In July 2007, he appeared at the Concert for Diana at the new Wembley Stadium. Young was the headline act at the Proms in the Park, which took place in Hyde Park in September 2007 as part of the Last Night of the Proms. In September 2007, Young performed at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club with the Vanguard Big Band. Young took part in the Little Noise Sessions, a series of intimate, acoustic gigs for the learning disability charity, Mencap. He performed in November 2007 with special guests at Islington's Union Chapel.

2008"10: Let It Go and Greatest Hits

On 29 September 2008, Young's fourth album, Let It Go, was released. It peaked at N2 in the album charts, having been preceded by the single "Changes", which was released on 15 September and peaked at N10 in the UK Singles Chart. His next single "Grace" was released on 1 December 2008, and peaked at N33 on the UK Singles Chart. The third single taken from the album, "Let It Go", was released on 2 March 2009 in the UK, and peaked at N58 on the UK Singles Chart. The fourth and final single, "Tell Me the Worst", was released in the UK only, on 5 July 2009. It served as a club promo, and featured some Fred Falke remixes.

In April 2008, Young again appeared at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club with the Vanguard Big Band. Young is to perform at various festivals during mid 2008, including Glastonbury, T In the Park in Scotland and Bestival on the Isle of Wight.

On 24 August 2008 Young appeared at the Olympic Party which took place in the Mall, London. He performed his latest single Changes and I Can See Clearly Now, which was originally sung by Johnny Nash. On an interview with Digital Spy, Will Young revealed that he was working on a Dance-Pop album, which might be released in late 2009. He also confirmed that he was working with British duo Groove Armada, Superbass, who remixed his UK Top 10 single "Changes", and Gregg Alexander, who has previously worked with British pop singers Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Geri Halliwell. He also confirmed that he is working on an album covering songs by Nol Coward, which is as yet in its very early stages and he "doesn't know if it will end up". Young performed in a sell-out theatre tour, commencing on 16 November 2008 and continuing until 13 December 2008 with two dates at the Roundhouse in Camden, London.

Young was the featured singer on the X-Factor programme on ITV1 on Saturday 1 November 2008. He also mentored the remaining contestants. On 31 December 2008 Young was featured as a guest on Elton John's Live New Year show at the O2 Arena in London along with that year's X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke. He joined Sir Elton in the song Daniel. Young was one of the performers at the BBC's "Live at Blackpool" programme on BBC Radio 2 on Saturday 5 September 2009.

Young's greatest hits collection was released on 16 November 2009. It included two brand new songs, one of them the single "Hopes & Fears". The album was a success on the charts, being certified Platinum by the British Phonographic Industry. In 2010 Will Young collaborated with Groove Armada on their album Black Light, singing vocals on the track 'History'. As part of his 2010 outdoor summer tour, it was announced that he would be a special guest and play on the Queen's Sandringham Estate, Sandringham in Norfolk. Pop singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor was his supporting act for his 2010 tour.

His 2003 song "Leave Right Now" was featured on American Idol as the "departing song". He also performed live on the programme on 25 May 2010. Young gave his first U.S. concert on 26 May at West Hollywood's Ultra Suede nightclub. He was also featured on the cover of the U.S. magazine Instinct.

2011"present: Echoes and record label change

In early 2011, Will tweeted teaser clips of tracks from his new album, 'Echoes', which was subsequently released on 22 August 2011 and entered the UK Album charts at No. 1 on 29 August 2011 making it Youngs first number one album since "Friday's Child" in 2003. The first single is called 'Jealousy', and premiered on BBC Radio 2, between 9.00am-12noon, Monday 11 July 2011, as confirmed on Will's Facebook page. The single was released on 21 August 2011, preceding the album by 1 day with the single peaking at No.5. "A Night With...Will Young" was aired two days before the release of Echoes on ITV1 presented by Kate Thornton charting all of Young's greatest hits plus performing a few new tracks from the album. Young appeared on the third episode of the Jonathan Ross Show performing Hearts on Fire from Echoes to further promote the album. Will undertook a 23 date UK tour including 2 nights at London's Shepherd's Bush Empire in Autumn 2011. The second single from Echoes was Come On released in {. }, with the accompanying video featuring Will performing at a dog show. In November 2011 it was confirmed that Young would appear as one of the four judges on singing competition series The Voice UK although on 12 December it was reported that Young had been replaced by Danny O'Donoghue at the last minute. Speaking to the Daily Star, Young admitted: "Of course I'm disappointed not to be doing the show, not to mention how it's been handled. But the support from fans has been overwhelming. They really have been amazing." He performed a special Christmas concert at the London Palladium in December as the final night of his 2011 performances. The following day it was announced that he would be undertaking summer shows as part of the Forestry Commissions summer concert programme, also at Cornbury festival. 2012 singles releases were Losing Myself and I Just Want A Lover with trademark unique accompanying videos.

On 8 November 2012 it was announced Young had left his record company after being with them since winning Pop Idol over ten years ago and signed with Island Records.

Other ventures

Acting career

Young added acting to his repertoire when he accepted a role in the BBC film Mrs. Henderson Presents, starring Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins, in which he played Bertie. The film was released in the UK in November 2005 to excellent reviews"?not least for Young's performance as both actor and singer in the film. The scene, in which Young appears naked, postdated his "absolutely thrilled" acceptance of the British male Rear of the Year Award 2005, an accolade to add to the Most Stylish Male Music Star, Best Bod, Sexiest Star, Best Dressed and Best Hair awards he had already won.

Young trod the boards in the Royal Exchange Theatre's production of The Vortex by Nol Coward. This production ran from January to March 2007 and Young played the leading role of Nicky Lancaster. Critics, including Nicholas de Jongh, were very positive.

In October 2007 Young narrated an audio version of the Roald Dahl novel Danny, the Champion of the World.

Young also appeared in the Marple drama The Mirror Crack'd From Side To Side and guest starred in an episode of Skins in 2010.

In November 2004, Young presented a documentary entitled Runaways as part of the Children in Need campaign, highlighting the problems facing distressed teens who run away from home, and the plight they were in being picked up off the streets and railway stations by pimps who offered them work and drugs. The children did not know where to go for immediate help unless they were picked up by the police and sent to a refuge centre.

During June 2007 a series of documentaries entitled Saving Planet Earth was shown on BBC Television. Young filmed an episode about saving the gorillas of West Africa during his visit to Africa earlier in the year.

In March 2009, ITV1 arts programme, The South Bank Show presented an hour long fly on the wall documentary about Young that they had been filming over the course of the year as he returned to promote the Let It Go album. It showed him in Iceland filming the video for the Let It Go single, backstage before his performance on The X Factor and on his UK theatre tour from November 2008 amongst other segments.

In 2011, he starred in a new drama series on Sky Living called Bedlam, about supernatural happenings taking place at a disused asylum being converted into loft-style apartments. The 3 million six-part series began airing on 7 February 2011. It was distributed by BBC Worldwide.

Young has been made a "Companion" of the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.

Young was a guest on Top Gear during season 12 episode 2 and was the fastest wet lap around the track in the Chevrolet Lacetti.

Young was an Executive Producer for Ralph Fiennes production of Shakespeare's Coriolanus filmed in Serbia, and his documentary on the making of the film features on its DVD release. He was to have a small role in the film sa a reporter on the conflict as well as being Executive Producer, however it was decided that his appearance was a 'distraction' and did not make the final cut of the film.

In August 2011, ITV based an hour-long programme on Young, entitled "A Night with Will Young". This was to promote the release of his most recent album, Echoes.

On 31 October 2011, Will was the guest host of Never Mind The Buzzcocks.

He currently appears in the musical Cabaret in London. This marks his West End debut.

Other activities

On 27 October 2008, Young spoke on Celebrity at the Oxford Union, where he showed an interest in forming a band named 'Will Young and the Credit Crunchers'. He was invited to appear on Question Time after he revealed he was a fan of the show. He participated in the edition from Dunstable, Bedfordshire, in February 2009 and March 2012

Young supports the charity Women's Aid, about which he wrote: "I am proud to put my name beside this cause, and hope that I might be able to help more people affected by the terrors of domestic violence, as well as help to create a wider awareness within our society."

Young also supports Mencap"?about which he wrote, "I'm very much in this for the long term, and I'd like to help continue to break down peoples' misconceptions and prejudices""?, The Children's Society Safe and Sound Campaign, and Positive Action Southwest (PASW), for which he performed at his first solo concert, in July 2003, at Killerton House, Exeter.

Young has been an ambassador for the Prince's Trust since 2002, and performed at the 30th anniversary concert in the grounds of the Tower of London.

Together with Dame Helen Mirren, Helena Bonham Carter and Martin Freeman, Young appeared in a series of advertisements during the Christmas period 2007 for Oxfam; "Oxfam Unwrapped".

Young is the ambassador for Mood Foundation, a charity which aims to build a database of private therapists and alternative therapies to treat various types of depressive conditions. It was set up by Young's twin brother Rupert Young.

Young is an ambassador for Catch22, a UK young people's charity, which supports young people in tough situations. The young people may come from tough upbringings or districts, where poverty, crime and unemployment are common features. They may be leaving care, truanting, or have been excluded from school. Some of them have started getting into trouble with the police or may have got as far as custody. In April 2011 Young ran the London Marathon for Catch22, competing again for the charity in 2012.

On 18 April 2012 Young confirmed he would be releasing his first autobiography written in Will's witty, frank and self-deprecating style, the book will be a full autobiography covering all the highlights and dramas. The book was published by Sphere on 11 October 2012 titled Funny Peculiar.

Personal life

In March 2002, Young revealed that he is gay, pre-empting a tabloid newspaper that was preparing to out him. He also stated that he had never hidden it and was comfortable with his sexuality.


Main article: Will Young discography
  • From Now On (2002)
  • Friday's Child (2003)
  • Keep On (2005)
  • Let It Go (2008)
  • Echoes (2011)


Film and television credits
Title Year Medium Role Notes
Mrs Henderson Presents 2005 Feature film Bertie
Skins 2010 Television series T Love Appeared in the fourth series in the episode titled "Freddie"
Marple: The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side 2010 Television film Casey Croft
Bedlam 2011 Television series Ryan McAllister
A Night With Will Young 2011 Television Special Himself

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Will Young". Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions this article may contain.

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