He rose to fame after winning Any Dream Will Do in 2007, capturing the heart of the nation. Since then he’s triumphed in the West End, toured extensively with his music, married and divorced presenter Denise Van Outen and become a father. Amie Mulderrig catches up with Lee Mead ahead of his show at the Beck Theatre.
You’re coming to the Beck theatre in Hayes, have you been to the area before?
No, it’s the first time, which I’m really excited about. It’s always great to do new venues and towns. I’ve decided to make this more of a stripped back acoustic-based set. I do songs like Hallelujah and Coldplay’s Fix You.
Do you perform any original material?
It’s mainly covers and West End songs, you might even find the odd Joseph song in there too, which is what I’m known for. The tour for the record next year will be based on films from the MGM era, which will be released in the spring. I’ll be trying some of them out on this tour too.
What have been your career highlights and lows?
Singing at Wembley stadium in front of 70-odd-thousand people was really cool. Making records is great. Career low? I don’t have any. Someone told me that if you’re an actor and work at least six months of the year, at any one time, then you’re doing pretty well. Fortunately I’ve been working for the past ten years.
You’re no longer signed to Universal, instead you’re releasing music independently. Do you prefer that way of working?
It’s a tricky one that, because obviously you’ve got more backing with a label, there’s more money, so your album is going to be on billboards and available across the country in shops. But you get no control, even down to what clothes you wear and how your hair is styled. I prefer this way of working.
Did you find Universal controlling, then?
I wouldn’t say controlling, you’ve just got less say as an artist. I think that’s generally the case. Producing my own records on a smaller scale, I still get to tour and I get to do a mix of things, panto at Christmas and I’m filming for Casualty at the moment.
Have you always wanted to be famous?
Some people set out to be famous, but I never planned or wanted to be famous. I have to promote the work that I do, the press that comes with the job that puts you into the public eye.
So you don’t enjoy the press side?
I really enjoy it because I talk about the work I do, there’s a purpose to it. But fame for the sake of fame, I just don’t get it. It’s random.
Would you apply for Joseph again?
Hundred percent. It gave me a big platform to show what I was doing prior to that. It was a great time.
Do you think being famous leaves you fair game for press intrusion?
Yes and no. No, if you’re someone promoting what you’re doing, you’re in the public eye. But, if you decide to entertain by putting your life in magazines and details about your private life out there, then it is fair game.
What was it like being married to someone in the public eye?
Without going into too much detail as it’s personal, no different to someone that’s got a normal job or that’s not in the public eye really. We’re still people.
But you see your relationship splashed all over newspapers.
No that’s not normal, I never tend to read any of it. It’s not real most of it anyway. I read occasional interviews I give for work stuff, but when stuff is written about you, no good can come from reading it.
How do you juggle your career with looking after your little girl?
Quite easily. My family and daughter come first. I’m not obsessed by the work.
Do you think she’ll follow in your footsteps?
She’s four years old! She’s only a baby.
It’s been reported that Denise is seeing someone new, how are you coping with that?
I’ve got no comment on that actually.
Do you still get nervous on stage?
Yeah, being nervous means you care. When it gets to the point when I’m not, I’ll be nervous.
Lee Mead is at the Beck Theatre, Grange Road, Hayes, Sunday, July 20, 7pm.
Details: becktheatre.org.uk, 020 8561 8371