GARETH Gates spent Christmas in Milton Keynes of course, in the title role of Aladdin at MK Theatre, which ends its run next Sunday.
Now a regular stage stepper in the West End, he came to prominence for his singing voice in Pop Idol and went on to shift millions of units in the UK alone, hitting the singles top spot four times in the process.
But what are the sounds that he gravitates to?
We’ve got the answers...
Tell us about the first record you bought
Candle in the Wind by Elton John
Your favourite cheesy disc
I’m not sure. Does Summer of ’69 by Bryan Adams count?
It’s a great tune. It’s not necessarily cheese, but it’s one of those songs that is played to death, so I’ll go for that.
However I love Bryan Adams, the last time I saw him was at the 02, and it was his birthday.
We were invited on his birthday boat to travel back from the 02 to where he lives in Chelsea and it was incredible.
An album you wish you’d bought, but didn’t
I haven’t bought the Jessie J album yet and I think she’s great, she is doing something that no-one has done before ...she’s quite new and fresh.
What about your favourite artist of all time? What is the attraction?
That’s a difficult one. Michael Jackson is one of my heroes and I think he is just incredible, but then I like a whole range of 70s and 80s bands like Foreigner and Toto, Starship…I’m a massive fan of some of those bands.
Some of the melodic changes they did, no-one really does any more.
These days it’s quite a conventional strict format on how songs are written. In those days there were very few rules.
They are not trying to be too clever, they are just great pop records with great meanings, and musically I think they are just incredible.
I did this whole spree of working with different writers, and it felt very methodical and I was there for the wrong reasons. I found it quite hard to write good sentiments for songs that way.
It wasn’t until I found people like Judie Tzuke, and built a great rapport with her...it’s only then that you can start to write great songs.
If we could grant you a wish to meet one musician or band, who would it be, and what would you ask them?
I have met many great pop stars and the biggest of stars, but the only person I didn’t meet was Michael Jackson and I am gutted.
I had tickets for his 02 show, but obviously never got to see him there.
What would I ask him? I’m not sure. I would just love to have lunch with him.
I once had lunch with George Michael and just bantering was perfect, you know?
We worked in the same studio together for a few weeks and would often sit down and chat, it was great.
Name a song that never fails to pick you up
And one that chills you out…
Damien Rice’s Cannonball
What was the first gig you attended
This is a bit embarrassing, but I loved him at the time, it was Craig David.
He played at the Manchester Apollo when his album Born To Do It was out and it was massive.
I learned all the songs and all the rap bits and sang along. His vocal live was great.
You can step into the shoes of your musical idol for 24 hours. Who do you choose and what do you do?
Michael Jackson. I would dance. I am not the best of dancers and if I had his talent I wouldn’t stop dancing.
Is there a new or undiscovered artist that you think we need to hear?
Leanne Caroll. Her album Standard Issue is just incredible. It’s well known songs that she has done versions of and it’s just great.
You can banish one act to the bargain bin. Who do you choose?
That’s a hard one. I’ll be diplomatic…I really can’t think of anyone.
Every music serves its purpose doesn’t it?