Will Young reveals he was told his singing voice was ‘too gay’ after winning Pop Idol

Josh Jackman March 21, 2018
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British Idol winner and pop star Will Young performs at FOX-TV's "American Idol" finals at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, Ca. Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2002. Photo by Kevin Winter/ImageDirect.


Will Young has revealed that he was told his voice was “too gay” for music executives.

The British singer won Pop Idol in 2002, releasing three chart-topping singles and attracting millions of fans as he did so.

Nonetheless, Young had to endure music bosses who made him re-record tracks to avoid telling him that they thought his voice was ‘too gay.’

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 15:  (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Will Young presents the award for Choreographer onstage at the 2012 Olivier Awards at The Royal Opera House on April 15, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Tim Whitby/Getty Images)

He only found out when he was in the studio to lay down Leave Right Now, which went to number one and sold more than half a million copies in the UK.

“I didn’t know at the time,” he told The Telegraph.

“But when I was recording Leave Right Now, someone at the record company said I ‘sounded gay’ and kept making me re-record the track.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 29:  Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Will Young atend The Final Of BBC2's 500 Words Competition St James Palace on May 29, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Eamonn M. McCormack - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Young, who revealed last month that he had to come out twice – once in his personal life and once professionally – opened up about how this made him feel.

“There’s a real flavour to homophobia and bigotry,” said Young, who now hosts podcast Homo Sapiens alongside his music career.

“It’s really shaming. People don’t understand the power of language.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 07:  Will Young attends the South Bank Sky Arts Awards at The Savoy Hotel on June 7, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images)

The singer also opened up about his battle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in 2016.

The singer and actor quit Strictly Come Dancing in 2016 after struggling with his mental health.

He said: “I was really ill. I just couldn’t do it anymore.

Will Young
(Photo by willyoungofficial/Instagram)

“It was so bad I thought about breaking my leg to get out of [the show].”

Young has previously said that his record company didn’t attempt to dissuade him from going public with his sexuality, but that during his run to the Pop Idol crown in 2002, people tried to persuade him not to come out.

London mayor Sadiq Khan reached out to Young earlier this year after he was targeted with vile homophobic abuse by a bus driver.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan at Pride 2017
(Photo by Josh Jackman)

The star was left shocked after the incident in which a Transport for London bus driver reportedly called him a “poofter”.

Despite reporting the incident within minutes, Young was left helpless after being told it was too late to get CCTV of the incident.

The Mayor of London’s office responded to the singer’s calls for help days later.

LONDON - NOVEMBER 14: Top British musical artist Will Young arrives for the 20th anniversary remake of Midge Ure and Sir Bob Geldof's 1984 charity single "Do They Know It's Christmas?" at Air Studios, Hampstead on November 14, 2004 in London. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

A spokesperson said: “The Mayor’s Office are in touch with Will Young in regards to this incident and the work being done across the TfL network to tackle all forms of abuse including homophobic hate crime.”

Young has also spoken about struggling with a gay porn addiction.

Related topics: entertainment, Gay, Music, UK, will young

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