Star Interview: Definitely not Toast yet for Eighties’ pop heart-throb Paul Young

Paul Young
Paul Young

After years in the spotlight, 1980s’ pop heart-throb Paul Young had stepped back to become a devoted family man. But this July, he will join a host of stars from that era on the stage at Alive@Delapre in Northampton... and he can’t wait.

The 58-year-old singer, originally from Luton, in Bedfordshire, will be performing well-known hits from his successful pop career.

“It will be fun and nostalgic to get people up and dancing again,” he said.

Now a singer-song writer with Tex-Mex band, Los Pacaminos, Paul said: “Song-writing never came naturally to me, but when I returned to music after starting a family, I got more involved in the production side and it improved my musical and guitar skills.

“I like to listen to anything I can get my hands on, but I’m particularly into a lot of South American-inspired hybrid music and I love working with bands of that genre.”

“I really love real Mexican mariachi music.

“I’ve tried to get involved in playing some, but it requires a huge amount of skill and I wasn’t very good at it.

“One of my favourite musicians is Ry Cooder, who makes mixes of all sorts of international music, but also bands who make film soundtracks, like the Buena Vista Social Club.

“In Los Pacaminos we get a lot of influence from music like that.”

Also currently working on a cover album with Arthur Baker, Paul has always had a career in music, ever since he left school at 17 and began working and playing bass for local bands in the evenings. He had a hit with Toast, while with The Streetband, but it was as a solo artist that he made his name, topping the charts with Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home) in 1983.

“I left the big music industry in the 90s after I broke into it, after one incident where I was so tired from running around doing gigs that I fell asleep at the wheel of my car.

“Having already made good money by that point, I wanted to devote myself to raising my family.”

He met his wife, Stacey, in 1987 and the pair now have four children: Levi, aged 27, Layla, 19, Grady, 18, and Jude, 7.

“Levi is also a huge music fan and when I was still doing big shows and she was little, she would sometimes pretend to be asleep after I came offstage so that we would have to go straight home, because she was jealous of the attention daddy was getting.”

“But I still never even thought of a future career in anything other than music.

“When I got back into the industry I wanted to continue focussing on my more “mature” music, which I tried to do in the 1980s as well, with tracks like Won’t Look Back, but it never had the same sort of success as the pop hits.”

But that could still change as Paul revealed that he is also a natural in the kitchen and has appeared on both Celebrity MasterChef and Hell’s Kitchen, as well as launching his own cookbook 18 months ago.

“Like my music taste, food is another thing inspired by my travelling.

“There are few feelings better than just sitting and having an amazing bit of pasta in Italy while looking over the sea. It’s a feeling that I want to recreate at home for others.”

“I’m a bit too long in the tooth now but I would have liked to run a restaurant to cater for people in the local area, but only if I could do all the front of house hosting and not to get all hot and sweaty in the back.”

Now he is looking forward to his upcoming show in Northampton.

He said: “I think I’ve done gigs with all the other 80s’ night performers, apart from Boney M, but I haven’t performed solo in a long time. I have played in Northampton before and it will be nice to be back.”