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Interview: Simon Webbe of Blue fame shares his latest news

NO LONGER BLUE: Simon Webbe

LOVE CAN be one hell of a catalyst. And for 39-year-old Simon Webbe, it served as a large influence in his life, helping to better him both as a man and as a musician, just as he prepares to release a new album after a 10-year hiatus.

“I’m at that point in my life where everything is starting to make sense. It’s like I just had an epiphany and that has a lot to do with my fiancée,” says the former Blue member.

“I now get that saying that ‘behind every strong man is a strong woman’ and within three months of meeting my fiancée, things just turned around so quickly, because she had such good advice for me and wasn’t pressuring to change me but to better me.”

Webbe proposed to Ayshen Kemal in February 2017 during a romantic getaway to Jamaica. Discussing his reasons for proposing, he says:

“I was at that point in my life where I realised I had to stop being stubborn and think I know everything, and just accept the help. I’ve always wanted to share intimately with someone everything that I’m going through and she is the one. So it was easy for me to just get in the studio and write.”

The Mancunian has always been inspired by women, starting with his humble beginnings in Moss Side, where he was raised by his mother.

WATCH SIMON WEBBE AND HIS BLUE BANDMATES' THROWBACK VIDEO ALL RISE, BELOW (credit: YouTube/BlueVEVO):

“My mum raised me to respect women – which wasn’t difficult after seeing some of the stuff my mum and aunties went through,” he reveals.

“Being a young black boy raised in a predominately white area, it was hard at times and my mum was fearful of where I was going as a child because I was easily influenced. Luckily, I got into sports and music and it all worked out. So she’s been a massive catalyst for me, and purely because she’s done everything by herself, including raising me.”

Despite initial fears about what direction he would go in life, things ended up quite well for Webbe. From being one-quarter of one of the biggest British boy bands in the world to the upcoming release of his second solo album Smile, things seem to be getting better for Webbe – but not without a few trials and tribulations.

“A lot of people fall into the trap of trying to keep the high, because it’s a high that you can’t explain when you’re on stage,” says Webbe.

“And then after a show, that’s when the alcohol and stuff will come in, because you want to try and keep the high going, and then addiction starts. I know this, because that’s what I went through. Taking that break from the industry probably made it worse for me, actually, because I need to be active as I’m an over-thinker. Sometimes people numb the pain when they over-think.

WATCH SIMON WEBBE'S 2017 TRACK, NOTHING WITHOUT YOU, BELOW (credit: YouTube/SimonWebbeVEVO):

“So this is a hard industry to live in and move forward in, but the most important thing is to be honest to yourself and not fall into the traps.”

A reformed state of mind and new romance helped Webbe to free himself from a dark place and get inspired to make new music. He says:

“The reason I went for the title Smile is because there’s not enough going on in the world, I feel. There needs to be a bit more positivity, but also it’s a message to a lot of guys that sometimes you may need to step up if you want a good life.

“With this album, I also took a lot of time to train – I’m a much better singer now than I was,” he adds.

“I was that guy that hated the sound of my voice, but I started listening to a lot of Tank and how he sings.”

As Webbe prepares to re-enter the industry, which has changed drastically since his 2006 album Grace, he admits that the new social media age is something he is still getting to grips with.

“If social media was around when I was at the top of my game, I’d probably have over 20 million followers,” laughs Webbe.

“But I didn’t really care to know why I had to let people know what I was doing. But yes, the industry has evolved and I’ve sort of got my head around it, so I’m doing a lot more posts and letting people know and my followers are going up.

“How the album does doesn’t really bother me, I’m not fussed about getting the no.1 album. I just want to get the music to the people and let it grow naturally. It's in God's hands at the end of the day."

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