It’s no secret that print journalism is my first love. It’s seeking out the story, pinning down that sought-after story and then holding the finished publication, fresh from the printers in your hands, smelling the pages and seeing your name next to something that makes you proud.
I love to interview people. People from all kinds of backgrounds, industries, businesses and worlds. I love to find out about their lives, their loves, their passions for what they do and more importantly an insight into what makes them excited.
Some interviews are challenging, some enjoyable and some downright difficult. I enter the interview with the same outlook; I am there to do a job and I will damn well do it to the best of my ability. There’s nothing but upside if the interviewee turns out to be incredibly easy to talk to – making my job easier.
That’s just what happened when I was asked to interview X Factor 2009 winner Joe McElderry. Given an hour’s warning, I hastily researched him on Google. I was suitably impressed that, at 24, he has released 4 albums (most X Factor finalists have only reached 3), has won 3 reality TV programmes (X Factor, The Jump, Popstar to Operastar), is nearing the end of a looong tour (Evolution began in February and ends at Christmas), took six weeks out to take part in The Who’s ‘Tommy’, stars in pantomime until January in Hull and then stars as the lead in Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat from February. Phew! Expect a diva, I thought.
I thought wrong. After being given his mobile number (most personalities are seated in their agent’s offices for a day of press) I called Joe, who was sat in his flat in London (eating cereal) having answered a day of journalist’s questions. He know what they would be asking, just as he had been prepped as to what he should be telling them. But not once did he sound bored, irritated or even tired as he answered my questions on his tour, Tommy, going onto the West End stage and (not) getting nervous on stage – for the nth time.
Joe was refreshing, charming and downright lovely. he restored my faith in interviewing ‘celebrities’ and reminded me why I love my job. I even managed to make it to the show venue, met him in person for 2 minutes where he hugged me AND my mum and signed my interview.
Not only is he a fabulous performer, he is a genuinely down-to-earth young entertainer. And if karma exists, this boy from South Shields should expect a long and successful career….