Will Young

Will Young

Infobox musical artist 2
Name = Will Young
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = William Young
Alias =
Born = birth date and age|1979|1|20|df=y [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1094099/ Will Young (I) ] ]
Origin = Berkshire, England, United Kingdom
Instruments = Singing
Genre = Pop, jazz
Occupation(s) = Singer-songwriter
Years_active = 2002–present
Associated_acts =
Label = Sony BMG
URL = http://www.willyoung.co.uk/
Current_members =
Past_members =

William Robert Young (born 20 January 1979) is an English singer and actor. He rose to fame in 2002 after winning the inaugural "Pop Idol" contest. He has continued to work in music, and as an actor.

Early life

Young was born in Wokingham, Berkshire, with a fraternal twin, Rupert. He also has an older sister, Emma. He was educated at Horris Hill preparatory school and Wellington College. He also studied at D'Overbroeck's College, Oxford.

Young read Politics at the University of Exeter and graduated with a 2:2 honours degree. At university, some of his haunts included Timepiece, The Old Firehouse, and Harry's, where he used to work. 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.


"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.

The songs Young sang on the show were:

*Audition - "Blame It on the Boogie" by the Jackson 5
*London Rounds (Day 1 - first round): "Up on the Roof" by The Drifters
*London Rounds (Day 1 - second round): "All or Nothing" by O-Town
*London Rounds (Day 2): "Fastlove" by George Michael
*Top 50 (Semi Finals): "Light My Fire" by The Doors
*Top 10 (Your Pop Idol): "Until You Come Back to Me" by Aretha Franklin
*Top 9 (Christmas Songs): "Winter Wonderland"
*Top 8 (Burt Bacharach Songs): "Wives and Lovers" sung by Jack Jones
*Top 7 (Movie Hits): "Ain't No Sunshine" by Bill Withers
*Top 6 (ABBA Songs): "The Name of the Game" by ABBA
*Top 5 (Big Band Hits): "We Are in Love" by Harry Connick Jr
*Top 4 (No 1 Hits): "Night Fever" by The Bee Gees; "There Must Be an Angel (Playing with My Heart)" by the Eurythmics
*Top 3 (Judges' Choice): "Beyond the Sea" sung by Bobby Darin; "I Get the Sweetest Feeling" by Jackie Wilson
*Top 2 (Grand Finale): "Anything Is Possible"; "Light My Fire" by The Doors; "Evergreen" by Westlife

He continues to have a very successful music career since appearing on Pop Idol.

Post-"Idol" career


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. "Anything Is Possible" won an Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.

In October 2002, Young released his debut album, "From Now On", which included "Evergreen" 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 [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/2655109.stm BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Music | Brit Awards 2003: Winners ] ] .

Young's second album, "Friday's Child", was released in December 2003. It features the singles "Leave Right Now", "Your Game" (which won Young his second BRIT Award in 2005) [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/music/4162591.stm BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Music | Brits 2005: The winners ] ] 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".

Young has been nominated for eight BRIT Awards. In May 2006, he was voted the UK's favourite artist ever in a poll conducted by commercial radio. In May 2007, he was voted the UK's favourite artist of all time for the second consecutive year.

In November 2007, Young's official website reported that he was in Los Angeles working on his fourth album, and had amassed a large number of tracks from which he would be making a short list for the album. On 29 September 2008, the album, entitled "Let It Go", will be released, preceded by the single "Changes", which is to be released on 14 September. [ [http://willyoung.co.uk/home/ Will Young - Home ] ]


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. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/2022995.stm BBC NEWS | UK | Palace pop spectacle wows Jubilee crowds ] ]

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. [http://www.eabf.org.uk/RVP2002.htm Royal Variety Performance 2002 ] ] 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.

Following a sell-out theatre tour in 2004, Young appeared at The Olympic Torch Concert, performing a duet of "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" with soul legend James Brown. Later that year, he embarked upon his first solo arena tour, another sell-out success. He toured again at outside festival venues in mid 2005. In July 2005, he performed at Edinburgh 50,000 - The Final Push, the final concert of Live 8, a charity concert in Edinburgh to raise awareness of the plight of Africa, where he duetted with James Brown once again and also sang with One Giant Leap, Neneh Cherry and Maxi Jazz. In November 2005, Young appeared in his second Royal Command Performance.

In May 2006, he sang at The Prince's Trust 30th Birthday, which took place at the Tower of London. [ [http://www.princeofwales.gov.uk/newsandgallery/news/a_star_studded_concert_celebrates_30_years_of_the_prince_s_t_788.html The Prince of Wales - A star studded concert celebrates 30 years of The Prince's Trust at 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. [ [http://www.tonight.co.za/index.php?fArticleId=3444088&fSectionId=&fSetId=251 Tonight - Stars Unite Against Hunger live in SA ] ]

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 [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/2007/pitp/london.shtml BBC - Proms - Proms in the Park - London ] ] , 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.

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 [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/tinthepark/2008/artist/will_young/ BBC - T in the Park 2008 - Will Young ] ] in Scotland and Bestival [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/6music/news/20080409_amy.shtml BBC - 6 Music -Bestival: Amy and Young ] ] 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. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7540593.stm BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Will Young to play Olympic party ] ]

Young is also featured singing in trailers for the recording/film making group 1 Giant Leap's newest project "What About Me?" (http://www.whataboutme.tv.) He appears at ~ 1.30 in the "Bombardment" episode trailer, and in the trailer on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4EfdaxUiO0) at ~4.17 .

Other projects

Acting career

Young added acting to his repertoire when he accepted a role in the BBC film "Mrs. Henderson Presents" [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0413015/] , 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 Noel Coward. This production ran from January to March 2007 and Young played the leading role of Nicky Lancaster. Critics, including the well respected and acclaimed critic Nicholas de Jonghe, thought Young played the role of Nicky just as it should have been played and he wrote, "revelatory Will finds key to Coward classic". [ [http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/theatre/show-23361506-details/The+Vortex/showReview.do?reviewId=23382645 Revelatory Will finds key to Coward classic| Theatre | This is London ] ]

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

Television documentaries

In November 2004, Young presented a documentary entitled "Runaways" [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2004/11_november/09/cin_runaways.shtml BBC - Press Office - BBC Children in Need 2004 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.


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." [http://www.womensaid.org.uk/fundraising/Womens_Aid_Annual_Report_lower.pdf]

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) [http://www.pasw.org.uk/] , 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".

Personal life

In March 2002, Young revealed that he is gay, to pre-empt a tabloid newspaper that was preparing to run a story outing him. He also stated that he had never hidden, and was comfortable with, his sexuality. [Will Young, "Anything Is Possible", page 229] He also reaffirmed this to the BBC. [ Will Young 'I am Gay' http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/music/1864643.stm] [cite web
title=We gays haven’t won the battle yet
publisher=The Times


*"From Now On" (2002)
*"Friday's Child" (2003)
*"Keep On" (2005)
*"Let It Go" (2008)

See also

*List of artists who reached number one in Ireland
*List of songs that reached number one on the Irish Singles Chart


External links

* [http://www.wyoung.co.uk/ Official website]
* [http://www.musicOMH.com/interviews/will-young_1105.htm Will Young interview @ musicOMH.com]

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Will Young discography — Infobox Artist Discography Artist = Will Young Caption = Studio = 4 Live = Compilation = Video = 2 Music videos = Tribute = EP = Singles = 12 B sides = 13 Option = 8 Option name = Other releases Option link = Other releases featuring Will… …   Wikipedia

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  • Don't Let Me Down (Will Young song) — Don t Let Me Down / You and I Single by Will Young Format CD Recorded 2 …   Wikipedia

  • Who Am I (Will Young song) — Single infobox Name = Who Am I | Artist = Will Young from Album = Keep On Released = 24 April 2006 Format = CD single, digital download Recorded = 2005 Genre = Pop Length = Label = Sony BMG Producer = Last single = All Time Love (2006) This… …   Wikipedia

  • Anything Is Possible (Will Young song) — Single infobox Name = Anything Is Possible / Evergreen |200px Artist = Will Young from Album = From Now On Released = 25 February 2002 Format = CD Recorded = 2002 Genre = Pop Length = Label = BMG Producer = Cathy Dennis, Oskar Paul Last single =… …   Wikipedia

  • You and I (Will Young song) — Single infobox Name = Don t Let Me Down / You and I |200px Artist = Will Young from Album = From Now On Released = 18 November 2002 Format = CD single Recorded = 2002 Genre = Pop Length = Label = BMG Producer = Mike Peden Last single = The Long… …   Wikipedia

  • Let It Go (Will Young album) — Infobox Album | Name = Let It Go Type = Album Artist = Will Young Released = September 29 2008 (UK) Recorded = 2007 2008 Genre = Pop Length = 48:08 Label = RCA Records Producer = Eg White Reviews = Last album = Keep On (2005) This album = Let It… …   Wikipedia

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