SHAYNE WARD burst onto a very different pop scene in the middle of the last decade. Back when pop was largely a shiny, crooning outlet for love songs and harmonies, he was a fresh-faced X-Factor winner who grabbed an immediate Christmas number one, the first stemming from an original post show song, with ‘That’s My Goal’.
In fact, that debut single was the third fastest selling in UK history back in 2005, yet while writing and performing music is still central to Ward’s life, he’s progressed into some strong acting roles, too, and sees balance as his new primary aim in life.
Referring to his years on Coronation Street and a number of film roles, Ward jokes about some of his idols, and admits it’s mainly about having the right kind of experiences. “I’ve watched other people balance film and music, people like J-Lo and LL Cool J, and I figured I’ve got to try my hand at it. You only get one life to live,” he says. His acting has arguably taken centre stage recently.
Along the way, Ward’s not been afraid to speak his mind. In one particularly bold move, he went on popular chat show Loose Women at a physical low ebb, and talked about male body confidence, having gained weight himself after the arrival of his first child.
“A lot of guys have body confidence issues. I felt okay being a bit bigger, and I’ve lost the weight again now, but I thought it was important to talk about. Shaming people for their body isn’t okay,” Ward explains. “It felt like an important message. I think men are much worse at talking about that kind of stuff.”
“I’ve had a lot of obligations recently, and I’ve tried to make them things that matter to me,” he continues. The music, clearly, has become a much more occasional part of Ward’s life, though you still sense the passion in his voice when he speaks about it.
“Back when I released that first song, I felt a lot of pressure, it was a huge responsibility,” he recalls of ‘That’s My Goal’, “I was really lucky it was received so well. An original song for X-Factor seemed like quite a new idea back then.”
“The coming show in Dublin will be a mix of classic songs, and with it being late October, I’m going to do a bit of Halloween stuff. I have a lot of things I’m working on, including a feature film, so it’s hard to imagine an album anytime soon. Maybe an EP. I crowdfunded the last one [‘Closer’], which was a great way to get people involved in things.”
“I’m just really grateful to be doing it. A few years ago I had a vocal issue, a bit like Adele has, through overuse of the vocal cords. Back at the start I did so many vocal performances. I knew I’d done something, I just sensed it. It really affected my falsetto. I had surgery on it, and it’s back at about 90%, which I’m really grateful for.”
“I’m in a great position, enjoying life a lot both professionally and personally. I’m doing it for the love of it, and out of respect for my future. I think people are over the idea that pop stars get big and then disappear. You can keep going for a long time now if you keep connecting with your fans. I’ve had a great journey, and I’ll keep going as long as there are people coming to watch me. They’re great.”