Will Young has told UTV the prospect of performing live again is nerve-wracking but he is excited to be releasing his first album in four years.
His new album 85% Proof is released next month and is his first since Echoes in 2011, which went to number one.
During that period he has been involved in theatre, was nominated for an Olivier Award for his role in Cabaret, he has presented a documentary and showed his political side in blogs for the Huffington Post.
But during a whirlwind stop in Belfast, he said that the recording process is still a thrill for him.
“It’s the most exciting thing,” he said.
“That’s kind of why I take breaks from it, because if I was doing it the whole time, it wouldn’t mean so much.
“So when I came back to write the record 85% Proof, I did it 10 days with Kish Mauve and his band that I did the last record with.
“We’re all really good friends and there’s no kind of ego, there’s no nerves, we just kind of trust each other and we just did it. It was unbelievable.”
The first soulful offering from the album, Love Revolution, features lyrics from the 2003 dance anthem Loneliness by Tomcraft, something that Will said came about spontaneously.
“I didn’t set out to do any samples, it’s all about the music, if something comes up that works in the song, then it works in the song,” he explained.
“I think I’ve done one other sample in my time which was a Bill Withers one, it’s a pleasure to use it if someone lets you use it.”
“It’s been a while since I’ve sung live so it’s nerve-wracking and it’s exciting and I think that’s the best thing – if I wasn’t nervous then it would mean that I wouldn’t care.”
“It’s a great track, it came about because Jim Eliot, who does the music from Kish Mauve, came back and said ‘look I’ve flipped the track completely and we can do this’ – and I said ‘that’s awesome’.”
Will said he is hoping to perform in Northern Ireland when he hits the road again to tour.
“I definitely hope so, I am just waiting to organise the route. Touring’s brilliant because you get the music out to the people. It’s when the music comes alive,” he said.
The English artist said during a previous tour he has done a spot of surfing on the coast here.
“They were quite big waves and I got up on the first wave and I thought, ‘hey’, because everyone was looking and I thought people are going to be really impressed…and I had a gig that night.
“The second wave, I completely wiped out and I’m not joking, because the surf board is tied to you, it flipped round and literally skimmed my teeth, I mean it would have knocked my teeth out, I couldn’t believe it.
“So then I took it really gently after that!”
Will came to fame from winning X Factor’s predecessor, Pop Idol in 2002, and despite a rocky success rate in other artists’ longevity after similar competitions, he says he wouldn’t discourage anyone from trying it to break into the music industry.
“I’d recommend any avenue,” he said.
“I tried many avenues, sending off demos, writing to all the record companies, I worked for Sony Publishing when I was at university.
“I think you try any avenue and if a talent show is one, then it’s cool, so long as you stick to your guns and remain true to yourself then I think any avenue is good to get out there.”
The singer has managed to carve out his own identity as an artist in the years following the TV show, and he credits this to having good people around him.
“I had a great manager, Simon Fuller, who I still, even though I’m managed by IE I still have very strong ties with Simon,” he said.
“He moved me away from Simon Cowell quite quickly and I think that was a good move.
“They just looked after me brilliantly, and I did interesting videos with great video directors, great producers, Steve Lipson, who did two of my records, and I’ve had another great manager Fay, who’s been with me for my whole [career], 13 years, and great people around me.”
He added: “You choose the people around you, I take credit for that, and also they keep me level headed, if I become an idiot, they just tell me ‘you’re being an idiot, so shut up’.”
Love Revolution is released on 18 May, followed by the album 85% Proof on 25 May.