UK Musician and Actor SHAYNE WARD Discusses the Past, Present and Future of His Career, Including Brand New Single, ‘Crazy in Love’!
Multi-platinum recording artist and award- winning actor Shayne Ward rocketed to fame by winning the U.K. talent competition The X Factor in 2005. That same year, his debut single, “That’s My Goal,” went to number one in the U.K. in advance of his first self-titled album in 2006. The musician went on to release “Breathless” (2007), “Obsession” (2010) and “Closer” (2015). With a smooth, earnest delivery on adult pop songs that favor romance, he released three more Top 20 albums before becoming a household name for his portrayal of Aidan Connor on the famed television drama Coronation Street, where he remained from 2015 to 2018. He exited the show on an incredible storyline tackling the taboo of male suicide. This earned himself and the show public praise for its delicate handling and also won them many television awards.
More recently, Shayne is back to making music and he recently released his newest single called “Crazy in Love.” Listen to it HERE.
Learn more about Shayne Ward in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! So what has this past year been like for you?
THIS PAST YEAR HAS BEEN ABSOLUTELY CRAZY FOR EVERYBODY. FULL OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF EMOTIONS, SCARED OF COURSE, EMOTIONAL, UNCERTAINTY. AND ALL OF US JUST WANTING TO GET BACK TO NORMAL LIFE, IF WE CAN CALL IT NORMAL.
BUT WHAT IT HAS DONE IS THAT IT HAS MADE PEOPLE REALISE JUST HOW PRECIOUS OUR TIME IS TOGETHER, TIME THAT WE’LL NEVER GET BACK AND ALSO ON THE POSITIVE SIDE IT HELPED PEOPLE RETURN BACK TO FIRST LOVES IN TERMS OF WORK HOBBIES AND IT RETURNED ME BACK TO MY MUSIC AND I’VE BEEN IN THE STUDIO SINCE LAST YEAR WRITING BRAND NEW MATERIAL FOR SINGLE RELEASES AND A NEW ALBUM WHICH IS VERY EXCITING.
How are/did you get through the pandemic? Are things opening up now where you are? How do you feel about that? Did you get vaccinated yet?
I’VE BEEN WORKING CLOSELY WITH SO MANY DIFFERENT PRODUCERS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR WRITING FOR OTHER ARTISTS PITCHING SONGS FOR MOVIES AND NETFLIX WHICH IS VERY EXCITING AND THAT’S WHAT’S BEEN GETTING ME THROUGH PROFESSIONALLY KNOWING THAT THE TIME WILL COME WHEN WE CAN GET BACK OUT THERE DOING SHOWS AGAIN.
I’VE SEEN RECORD LABELS ANNOUNCING WITH THEIR ARTISTS THAT SHOWS ARE BEING PUT ON AND I’M VERY EXCITED FOR MY SHOWS TO HAPPEN AS WELL WITH MY AGENCY.
ON A PERSONAL LEVEL, I’VE HAD THE MOST INCREDIBLE TIME WITH MY GIRLS; MY DAUGHTER WILLOW MAY AND MY FIANCÉE SOPHIE. WE’VE JUST SPENT EVERY DAY AS MUCH AS WE COULD HUGGING, DANCING, SINGING AND PLAYING. KEEPING THE JOY. BECAUSE OF THE TERRIBLE THINGS THAT WAS HAPPENING AROUND THE WORLD
WE JUST HAD TO MAKE SURE THAT INSIDE OUR HOME WAS A SAFE HAVEN FOR OUR DAUGHTER.
Let’s talk about your newest track, “Crazy in Love.” What was the inspiration for it? How would you say that it compares to anything else you have put out before?
THE INSPIRATION BEHIND CRAZY IN LOVE JUST HAPPENED COMPLETELY ORGANICALLY. I THOUGHT OF THE MELODY IN MY HEAD JUST AS I SAT DOWN TO HAVE SOME DINNER. I JUMPED UP AND RAN INTO MY STUDIO AND SANG THE MELODY INTO MY MICROPHONE, THEN I WENT BACK TO DINNER AND THEN RETURNED BACK TO THE STUDIO LATER THAT NIGHT.
I LAYED A ROUGH PIANO GUIDE ON Logic Pro X AND THEN PUT THE MICROPHONE BACK ON AND THEN WHAT WILL BE WILL BE!
I LISTENED BACK AND I KEPT MUMBLING THE WORDS ‘CRAZY IN LOVE.’ AND IT JUST STARTED FROM THERE. I WAS THINKING HOW DOES THIS SENTENCE MAKE ME FEEL AND IT MADE ME FEEL “HAPPY.” IT MADE ME THINK ABOUT LOVE, ABOUT FALLING IN LOVE, BEING IN LOVE AND WHAT LOVE DOES TO OUR EMOTIONS. LOVE IS LOVE. AND YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO LOVE WHO YOU WANT AND WHEN YOU WANT.
IT’S A VERY INCLUSIVE SONG AS WELL AS THE VIDEO THAT I’VE CREATED SO I’M REALLY HAPPY AND I HOPE IT MAKES YOU FEEL HAPPY TOO. IT’S AN ABSOLUTE SUMMER BANGER AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CRAZY IN LOVE COMPARED TO MY OLDER TRACKS THAT I’VE RELEASED IS IT’S MY OWN, I OWN IT AND I WROTE IT AND CO-PRODUCED IT.
Do you have plans to release more new music soon and a full album of new songs? What has been motivating you musically lately?
I’M WORKING ON AN ALBUM RIGHT NOW IN BETWEEN DIFFERENT PROJECTS. I’M HOPING TO COMPLETE IT BY THE END OF THE YEAR AND I’M HOPING TO RELEASE IT IN THE EARLY PART OF NEXT YEAR. THE SOUND IS NOTHING LIKE WHAT I’M RELEASING AT THE MINUTE WITH THESE SUMMER TRACKS.
MY METHOD OF WRITING IS TO HAVE A MOVIE MINDSET. I LIKE TO CREATE LITTLE SCENES IN MY HEAD AND I CAN IMAGINE IT BEING IN A BLOCKBUSTER. THE END CREDITS AND/OR IN AN ACTUAL SCENE.
How would you say that your acting and music influence each other? Do you find that you enjoy one over the other these days?
I FEEL BLESSED ENOUGH TO DO BOTH ACTING AND SINGING. MUSIC WILL ALWAYS BE MY FIRST LOVE AND IT DEFINITELY TRANSCENDS INTO MY ACTING. I LOVE THE DIFFERENT EMOTIONS ACTING BRINGS OUT OF ME AND I LOVE BEING OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE.
IT HELPS ME CHALLENGE MYSELF TO BE BETTER AND HOW AMAZING WOULD IT BE TO BE IN A BIG FILM AND ALSO HAVE THE SOUNDTRACK. IT’S SOMETHING I WANT TO ACHIEVE. SO I HAVE MY FINGERS CROSSED I CAN MAKE THAT HAPPEN IN THE NEAR FUTURE.
BUT TO CHOOSE OUT THE TWO-MUSIC IS MY FIRST LOVE.
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be a musician? What about an actor?
BEING FROM AN IRISH FAMILY MUSIC HAS ALWAYS PLAYED A HUGE PART IN MY UPBRINGING.
IT WAS ALWAYS ON THE RADIO OR ON THE LP PLAYER OR CASSETTE PLAYER. MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS ALL SINGING DIFFERENT SONGS IN DIFFERENT ROOMS. FAMILY PARTIES AND CHRISTMAS PARTIES, IT WAS ALWAYS THERE SO I ALWAYS FELT THE PULL TO DO SOMETHING.
AS I GOT OLDER I COULDN’T GET AWAY FROM IT AND I JOINED A BAND WHEN I WAS 15 YEARS OLD WITH TWO GREAT FRIENDS OF MINE AND THAT’S HOW I STARTED TO LEARN MY CRAFT; IN BARS CLUBS AND PUBS. AND IT CONTINUED FROM THERE. I ALWAYS KNEW I WAS GOING TO BE IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY BECAUSE ONCE I HAD THE TASTE OF IT, I WANTED MORE.
I ALWAYS FELT WHEN I WAS DOING MY MUSIC VIDEOS THAT ACTING WOULD FOLLOW. I ALWAYS HAD THIS GUT FEELING THAT I COULD DO THAT AND ONE DAY I WOULD. I’M REALLY HAPPY WITH THE ROLES THAT I’VE PERFORMED ON TELEVISION AND ON STAGE TO DATE.
I LOVE TO LEARN, TO ASK QUESTIONS AND TO BE BETTER. I ASPIRE TO BE IN A BIG BLOCKBUSTER FILM. IDEAL ROLES: ANYTHING ON NETFLIX LIKE A THRILLER, HORROR OR HISTORICAL FANTASY OR ACTION. I’VE JUST FINISHED A GREAT SERIES CALLED ‘THE LAST KINGDOM’ ON NETFLIX SO SOMETHING LIKE THAT WOULD BE AWESOME! AND OF COURSE A GREAT BRITISH DRAMA ON ANY OF THE CHANNELS.
SO EVERYTHING BASICIALLY! LOL I’M GONNA MAKE IT HAPPEN! YOU’VE GOTTA PUT IT OUT INTO THE UNIVERSE. GOTTA STAY POSITIVE
If you weren’t an artist today, could you see yourself doing anything else? What is something else interesting/funny you are good at?
IT’S WEIRD TO THINK OF MYSELF DOING ANYTHING OTHER THAN MUSIC OR ACTING BECAUSE THEY’RE SUPER AWESOME JOBS. BUT I SAID BEING FROM AN IRISH FAMILY I WENT TO A LOT OF FAMILY PARTIES IN PUBS OVER THE YEARS GROWING UP AND I THINK I WOULD’VE LIKED TO HAVE OWNED MY OWN PUB. OR EVEN MY LOVE FOR HISTORY. ESPECIALLY THE TUDOR PERIOD, VICTORIAN TIMES AND EVEN THE ROMANS. BACK IN SCHOOL I USED TO LOVE LEARNING ABOUT ALL THESE THINGS AND YEAH I JUST GOT A LITTLE BIT FIXATED ON THE TUDOR PERIOD. ESPECIALLY HENRY VIII AND HIS WIVES SO MAYBE A HISTORIAN WAS IN THE CARDS. I MEAN THAT MUST COME FROM MY LOVE OF CASTLES. I’M KIND OF OBSESSED WITH THEM SO MAYBE IT’S BECAUSE I HOPE TO ONE-DAY LIVE IN ONE.
ONE CAN DREAM.
I’d love to know about your time on the second season of The X Factor. What was it like winning it? What did you learn from your experience on the show? Do you recommend other up and coming singers to try out for it?
COMING FROM THE X FACTOR WAS AN INCREDIBLE MOMENT FOR ME AND AN UNBELIEVABLE OPPORTUNITY FOR ANY SINGER. TRAVELLING AROUND THE WORLD, HAVING A RECORD DEAL, PERFORMING TO MILLIONS OF PEOPLE FROM THE AGE OF 21 WAS A DREAM COME TRUE.
I WANT TO BE DOING THIS FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. I’VE BEEN IN THIS INDUSTRY NOW FOR THE LAST 16 YEARS AND I AM HAVING THE MOST AMAZING TIME. YES, THERE’S BEEN HIGHS AND LOWS BUT THAT’S LIFE AND THAT’S WHAT COMES WITH THE INDUSTRY. IT’S NEVER EASY AND NOTHING IS HANDED TO YOU ON A PLATE. YOU’VE GOT TO WORK HARD FOR IT AND I WORK SO HARD, AND I’M SO DETERMINED AND FOCUSED.
THAT DRIVE HAS NEVER LEFT ME. MY MAIN DRIVE NOW IS MY FOUR-YEAR-OLD BEAUTIFUL LITTLE GIRL CALLED WILLOW MAY. I WANT HER TO SEE AND EXPERIENCE WHAT DADDY CAN DO AND I HOPE IT MAKES HER PROUD WHEN SHE FULLY UNDERSTANDS THE JOB THAT DADDY DOES. SO YES, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND UP-AND-COMING SINGERS TO GO FOR TALENT SHOWS.
MY ADVICE IS: WHATEVER AUDITION YOU GO FOR, “WHAT YOU WALK IN THAT ROOM WITH, YOU LEAVE WITH” AND THATS TALENT! IF YOU TRULY BELIEVE THAT YOU HAVE THE TALENT AND YOU HAVE THE HUNGER THEN YOU GO FOR IT! YOU SHOWCASE IT AND YOU DON’T LET ANYBODY HOLD YOU BACK BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW, YOU COULD BECOME THE NEXT BIG THING.
What has been a favorite acting role of yours so far? What would you still love to play?
I HAD THE MOST AMAZING OPPORTUNITY HANDED TO ME DURING MY THREE YEARS AT CORONATION STREET AND THAT WAS PLAYING AIDAN CONNOR. WE TACKLED THE MOST INCREDIBLE TABOO SUBJECTS WHICH JUST HAD TO BE SPOKEN ABOUT AND THAT WAS MALE SUICIDE.
THE WHOLE TEAM WAS INCREDIBLE AND IT WAS HANDLED WITH SUCH DELICACTE TENDERNESS AND CARE AND WE WORKED VERY CLOSELY WITH CHARITIES, CALM AND MIND. WE MET WITH A LOT OF FAMILIES TO SPEAK ABOUT THIS ISSUE. SO THAT IS ONE OF MY PROUDEST MOMENTS TO DATE.
I WOULD LOVE TO PLAY A ROLE LIKE MAXIMUS IN THE FILM GLADIATOR OR ULTRED RAGNARSSON IN THE LAST KINGDOM.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music and acting your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
THE THING ABOUT MUSIC AND ACTING IS YOU NEVER KNOW WHERE IT’S GOING TO TAKE YOU NEXT AND YOU’VE JUST GOT TO GO WITH IT. DON’T FIGHT IT! JUST FEEL FREE AND EXPRESS YOURSELF AND MANY OTHERS WILL CONNECT WITH WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND THAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. IF YOU’RE REAL IN YOURSELF, THEN PEOPLE CAN SEE THAT. I LOVE A CHALLENGE AND I’M READY FOR THE NEXT ONE TO HAPPEN.
What do you think of the power of social media? How active are you on it all? Do you enjoy or have trouble keeping up with it all?
SOCIAL MEDIA IS SO IMPRESSIVE AND IT’S SO POWERFUL AND SO SCARY AT THE SAME TIME. I’M FROM THE OLD SCHOOL SIDE OF IT. WE ONLY HAD DIGITAL SPY AND MYSPACE. SO NOW WE’VE GOT ENDLESS SUPPLIES OF DIFFERENT SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS AND YEAH I’M GETTING SO MUCH BETTER WITH IT NOW BUT I WASN’T AT FIRST. I WAS TRYING TO GET MY HEAD AROUND IT BECAUSE IT’S SO FAST AND THERE IS SO MUCH GOING ON AND SO MUCH CONTENT OUT THERE. YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO, WHO’S DANCE TO COPY IN TERMS OF TICK-TOCK AND THINGS LIKE THAT.
BUT I’M ENJOYING IT AND I’M HAVING FUN WITH IT. THERE’S STILL A LOT TO LEARN BUT IT’S A GREAT MARKETING TOOL TO HAVE ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE INDEPENDENT LIKE MYSELF AND WANT TO CONNECT WITH YOUR FAN-BASE ON A PERSONAL LEVEL
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
I WOULD LOVE PEOPLE TO TAKE AWAY FROM MY MUSIC A SENSE OF BEING HAPPY, CALM, LOVED AND AN HONEST PERFORMANCE IN MY VOCAL. AND IF YOU FEEL THAT CONNECTION TO ME, THEN THAT MEANS EVERYTHING.