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Digital Subscriptions > Gay Times > February 2016 > The evolution of Joe McElderry

The evolution of Joe McElderry

“I’m certainly a lot more confident now. I used to be a little bit frightened of my own shadow. I was frightened to make the ultimate decision on things. I was always questioning myself: ‘Should I do this? Should I do that?’ But now I’ve got to the point where I know the difference between what I want to do and what I don’t. That doesn’t mean I go round shouting my head off and being an awful diva; it just means I know how to deal with the business side better.”
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Joe McElderry is telling us how he’s changed since he rose to fame on The X Factor in 2009. Joe won the show that year, beating Olly Murs into second place, and his winner’s single, a cover of Miley Cyrus’ The Climb, topped the charts soon after. A thoroughly underrated album of upbeat pop songs called Wide Awake followed in 2010, but it didn’t sell as well as expected and, by February 2011, Joe had parted ways with Simon Cowell’s label, Syco. That could easily have been it for the bright-eyed teenager from South Shields; he could’ve been the next Steve Brookstein. Except it doesn’t pay to underestimate Joe McElderry. As the smiling 24-year-old tells us, “The worst thing you can ever tell me is: ‘You can’t do that.’ I like to prove people wrong.” Joe bounced back by signing up for ITV’s celebrity singing contest Popstar to Operastar that summer, and winning the thing – this time making Bucks Fizz legend Cheryl Baker his runner-up. He released two successful classical crossover albums before 2011 was out, followed by a more pop-oriented album called Here’s What I Believe in 2012. Since then, Joe’s never really stopped working. Last year alone, he starred in a revival of The Who’s rock musical Tommy at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens and played more than 100 solo shows. His schedule doesn’t feel gruelling, he says, because he enjoys performing for an audience so much.

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Joe McElderry gives GT an insight into his indomitable nature. Winning the X-Factor was just the beginning of his success story. You can also read about how he faced down body-shaming tabloids. There's also an video exclusive to this digital edition featuring 'backstage' footage from his photo-shoot. Also in this issue: Kele Okereke tells us about Bloc Party's new album. Boy George. Why are we STILL fighting homophobia? Andy Bell. Tab Hunter. Profile on Lynne Featherstone. The gay TV Characters you need to know. Danny Young. Seann Miley Moore. How much does online dating really cost? Max Emerson. Travel special featuring New York State, Cologne Vatican City, and the top 14 destinations to visit in 2016. And don't forget all our regular features: Fitness with Charlie King with Chris Jones. Date night with Edd Kimber and the Gastro Gays. Ask Aled. Dear Josh. Michelle Visage. Benjamin Cohen. Michael Alig. Modern Family. Positive Luke. PJ Brennan. The Guyliner. Last but not least, enjoy bonus videos and images exclusive to this digital edition.