We’ve recently featured Ben with his new album ‘Alive’ which was released 25th May to great acclaim and now we have an exclusive interview with the man himself for your reading pleasure.
Ben was a great sport and answered all our silly questions too and we hope you’ll get a little bit of personal insight into this wonderful artist.
First, the silly ones.
If you could breed two animals together to defy the laws of nature what new animal would you create?
Probably a hedgehog and a dog?????!!!
And here’s the tough question – any idea what you’d call it?
A HedgeDog… naturally.
Do you know the dance steps to an annoying cheesy pop song?
Well, I can macarena and conga with the best of them! But other than that, I don’t really dance and when I do, it has been said that I sometimes look like I am allergic to music.
Do you have any lucky items, objects or traditions?
I had a pair of lucky pants on The X Factor which seemed to work out ok lol! However, they have since met their demise. I do still wear pants but they are not specifically lucky… just comfortable.
Who’s your favourite celeb with the same first name or surname as you?
I don’t think there are any other Haenows in the industry, so I’m going to go with Ben Shephard! Top bloke.
What horror fiction character scares you the most?
Teddy Ruxspin… he’s maybe not said to be horror fiction… but a little talking bear who flies around in an air balloon with a scientist always freaked me out as a kid… and the theme tune is horrendous.
And now onto the serious ones.
The X Factor was a big break for you, and one that you never envisaged until your pals and family talked you into it. And we’re glad they did. Would you recommend a show of this sort for other aspiring creatives out there to be noticed?
Well, my experience was a great one and whatever the opinions, it is such a huge platform to be seen by millions of people. I’d say it’s a very long and tough process but if you are serious about it then go for it. Cheesy as it sounds, I’m a big one for saying follow your dreams.
What’s the overwhelming characteristic you need to succeed in this business, which is competitive, tough and often cut-throat?
I think resilience is a massive part of it. You have to be strong enough to get back up after being knocked back which can happen a lot in this industry.
You’re song-writing now, and we guess finding inspiration from anywhere you can. Is being in control of the creative process from start to finish fulfilling, and how are you finding it?
It’s a little scary having total control for sure, but it feels great to know that the finished product sounds and feels like we wanted it to. I love the song-writing process and creating something from scratch, but there’s always that bit of anxiety when putting new material out and hoping it will resonate with people. I got to write the whole album with my brother who is an incredible guitarist so this time it’s been really good fun getting the tracks together.
You’ve already dueted with the fabulous Kelly Clarkson on ‘Second Hand Heart’. Is there any other singer, no matter who, dead or alive, that you want or would have wanted or want to sing with and why?
I would love to have sung with Freddie Mercury… that guy had an incredible voice and was so creative. Or Otis Reding was another one of my heroes, nobody had tone like Otis.
You have a special rapport with your brother Alex, and you write songs together. Tell us a bit about how he’s inspired you and what Alex’s future role will be with you as a member of your band?
Well as you say, Alex and I write together and have been doing so for years since we were in a band together for about 7 years. Alex is great to have around, he’s got a good ear for music and production. As brothers, and having worked together musically before, we seem to have the same sort of vision and ideas. It’s also easier to tell each other if we don’t like something without things getting awkward, to be honest.
It’s a tough one to answer, perhaps, but just how thick a skin do you need to grow when you’re in the public eye?
With social media and being in the public eye, it’s very easy for people to give an opinion on anything and everything. I think as I said, you have to be able to take both good and bad comments. To be honest, I just don’t really let any of it get to me if I do see negativity. But a thick skin is a must.
Finally, what’s on the cards for Ben Haenow in the future, have you got any exciting projects you can share with us now?
Just lots of live shows! Big Day Out festival in July is the next big outdoor gig, and I’ve got a little something planned over in South Africa very soon. I’ll be on the road with the band soon as we are looking at UK & Europe tour dates.
By addressing themes of love and aspiration, the album promises to be Ben’s most authentic body of work to date. The former X Factor winner shines a mirror on his soul with each and every song.
Ben’s second album is available to order/stream