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Interview with Shayne Ward: Stacee Jaxx in Rock of Ages

Shayne WardAt the time of the interview, Shayne was starring as Stacee Jaxx in the musical Rock of Ages at the Shaftesbury Theatre. Together with an impressive cast, he is receiving rapturous applause every night for his performances. At the relatively young age of 27, Shayne has already enjoyed a highly successful career.

Since winning the UK X Factor in 2005 he has released three albums, which have sold over 3 million copies, received an astounding 14 Platinum discs and had number one albums in nine countries.

Earlier this week Shayne took some time out from his very busy schedule to answer some questions about himself and his career. I hope you enjoy reading what he had to say!

You were born in Manchester, what are some childhood memories of growing up there?
Well Cheshire and Manchester – as a kid I had lots of fun. Being from a huge family there were a lot of games like hide and seek and bike races. I loved it. My favourite thing to do would be when the 7 of us sat in a row with wallpaper laid out and all of us drawing. Just wish we’d kept them.

You have a twin sister called Emma, how do your personalities compare?
We both have similar personalities. I guess we think alike too. Funny when people ask if we look identical… If we did I don’t think she’d walk around with a beard – lol

What was it like growing up in Manchester, divided by Red and Blue?
The majority of my mates are United so we always dominated. Manchester has changed now that the City stadium has been built there. There is hardly a red shirt in sight.

Who was it that first noticed that you had a talent for singing?
The thing is my whole family sing – it’s always been the norm.  I was in a band for 4 and a half years and I guess that’s when I took it seriously.

Before X Factor, you were in a band called Destiny, with Tracy Murphy and Tracey Lyle, performing at pubs, clubs and weddings. What songs did you sing and what are your favourite memories from then?
They were some of the best days of my life. I had a lot of fun with them. We would perform songs from Liberty X, Savage Garden, Anastasia, Luther Vandross and of course an Abba medley. We had everyone up dancing.

In 2005 you won the second series of X Factor How did performing in the show help you develop as a person?
I’ve always been a strong person because of my family. I have respect and nothing has changed. I’d say winning the show definitely helped me provide more.

Your first hit single That’s My Goal is the 3rd fastest selling single of all time, with 313,000 sales in one day, and your success has continued. What ambitions do you have for the future?
I’m really proud of that single – it has a special place in my life.  I’ve been in this business 6 years and I’m not slowing down just yet!  I’m in an amazing Rock musical called Rock of Ages and I’m absolutely loving it.

You have toured the UK, Ireland, Asia and South Africa. What do you like and dislike most about being on tour?
I’m pretty lucky to have experienced these places and have had a lot of success because of it. Being away from family is the hardest part but I’ve always had the backing from them so everything else that comes with touring is easy.

You are currently performing as Stacee Jaxx in Rock of Ages at the Shaftesbury Theatre. How would you describe your character?
A complete Rock god who women adore. Lol. I love playing this part. Makes my job a pleasure to be part of it every night. AND I get to sing Foreigner and Bon Jovi. LOVE IT.

Rock Of AgesWhat is it like backstage at Rock of Ages? Who are the comedians?
Everyone has a great personality. Justin (Lee Collins) has great one liners and Simon Lipkin aka Lonny attacks you with dish cloths!

What is your favourite song and scene in Rock of Ages?
I love Dead or Alive because the audience get an insight in to how Stacee is feeling deep within. He just wants to be taken seriously sometimes but because of his antics no-one does. Just before Stacee is about to break down he stands proud and belts out a Bon Jovi classic.

Why should everyone go and see Rock of Ages?
Because it’s the best ’80s Rock show ever. Fully of big hair, leathers, guy liner, sexy girls, massive Rock classics and a baby llama.

If you could turn back time which rock band would you like to have been in?
I would probably say Def Leppard. I love their songs.  But then again Gene Simmons of KISS looked like he had a lot of fun.

Who would you most like to perform on stage with?
Legends like Tom Jones and Phil Collins and definitely the Bee Gees.

Past and present, who are your ‘pop idols’?
Tom Jones, The Stylistics, Bee Gees, Finbar Furey, The Dubliners. I have so many.

I gather that you helped decorate your mum’s house. Do you like doing DIY?
I love DIY that I can do. I can do the usual – paint, wallpaper, change plug sockets etc. Nothing too extreme. It’s nice when I can help out like that. What makes my mum happy makes me happy.

You have an APP on iTunes, have thousands of followers on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace. How much time do you put into social networking each day?
I try to update what I do every day. It’s amazing how powerful these sites have become. I love my relationship with my fans. They really mean a lot to me and have stood by me for so many years. I thank them.  Better put up a tweet now lol.

You have a day off with no work to do. What do you like to do to chill out?
At the moment I only get Sundays off to rest and I like to do nothing… but that never happens.  I’m really liking Camden Market at the moment, there are so many interesting things to buy there.  You never know, you might see me there one Sunday!

What message would you like to say to your fans?
I’m truly grateful for all the support and love you have shown me through the years. Xx

Many thanks Shayne for an interesting insight into your career. Best wishes for Rock of Ages and the future!

You can follow Shayne on Twitter @shayneTward

Interview questions by Neil who you can follow on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

18th November 2011


  • Neil Cheesman

    First becoming involved in an online theatre business in 2005 and launching londontheatre1.com in September 2013. Neil writes reviews and news articles, and has interviewed over 150 actors and actresses from the West End, Broadway, film, television, and theatre. Follow Neil on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

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