Catching a gig in the illustrious surroundings of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew is something to make any fan’s summer. And it turns out it’s the same for the people on stage too.

Chart topper Will Young returns for his second appearance at Kew the Music this summer, topping a bill on July 13 that includes Billy Ocean and Con Brio, and he told us he is very much looking forward to it.

He said: “I love doing outdoor gigs. There is something really freeing about it and Kew Gardens is such a landmark place within London. Everyone knows Kew Gardens and it has got such a history.

“It’s a special thing for me to do and I hope it’s a special thing for the audience. You don’t get to hear music in a place like Kew Gardens every day.”

He added: “I have done it before and it was really, really good.

“Everyone really got involved in the gig. Even though it was drizzling, people didn’t really care and it didn’t really matter.”

It’s hardly believable that Will was the product of Pop Idol, part of the Simon Cowell-dominated TV talent show format famed for creating stars that usually have a very short period to shine.

In his nearly 15 years at the top of the music business – not forgetting an Olivier nominated stint in Cabaret in the West End – his six albums have all charted at either number one or two, including the most recent 85% proof which hit number one last May.

He credits his continued success down to the people around him (he has had the same manager since his early days) and their nurturing of his desire to do things a little bit differently.

He said: “The key things is, I’m not really scared. I think people can make music in a fear environment – ‘where am I going to get the next hit?’, ‘how am I going to stay relevant?’ I don’t think for me that’s a great environment for making music.

“I like to make things with love and enjoyment.”

The understanding that he does not need to try to swim in the same stream as his competitors was recognised by those around him very early on.

He said: “If I think about it, my second video for Light My Fire was black and white, done by a British director called Baillie Walsh who is fantastic, and it was quite cutting edge and based on Andy Warhol’s muse Edie Sedgwick.

“It was very leftfield and quite arty. That was an idea that was nurtured by my management and record company. I think very quickly they realised that they didn’t have to do the same old things.”

In the ensuing decade, Will’s approach has evolved and his fans have moved with him.

He said: “I was very lucky because in a short space of time I gained a fanbase from the show so there was a freedom to do these kind of things as the fanbase grew with me.

“I think people can be quite patronising to audiences in pop – ‘oh no, you’ll just like this kind of song’ – no, people might like something a little bit different.

He added: “When I think of the writing process, I think I have grown so much as a writer both melodically and particularly lyrically, especially in the last few years. I’m a lot more relaxed and really have been for the last ten years.”

Anyone with a ticket to see him at Kew the Music will be glad to know his refreshingly different approach extends to his live show too.

He said: “I am really into turning what a pop show is on its head. I basically start with a finale, which I think is so cool.

“It is like a deconstruction of a pop show and I’m really into that at the moment. I just like the idea of it being less contained and scientific and more just a kind of party.”

Will Young plays Kew the Music on July 13. Other acts playing at Kew between July 12 and 17 include Simply Red, The Corrs, Gipsy Kings and Bjorn Again. Go to

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