Oct 30, 2013

    Just keep going if life is against you

    In 2007, Briton Paul Potts went from a shy nobody - he was a mobile-phone salesman in Wales - to an international opera-singing star after he appeared on, and won, the first season of Britain's Got Talent.

    Now, his life story has been made into a film, One Chance, named after his debut album and directed by David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada).

    My Paper recently caught up with Potts, 43, who will release an autobiography next month, to talk about his whirlwind career.

    How much input did you have on the film?

    I didn't want the movie to be a documentary. I wanted it to be a comedy, and I didn't want it to take itself too seriously.

    If it's comedy, then I think the message gets through in a more subliminal way.

    People learn more when they're laughing.

    It was important that it was heartwarming, funny and touching at the same time.

    What is it you want people to take away from watching the film?

    What I'd like people to take away is the message that even when you feel life is against you, if you just keep going, then eventually you'll get where you want to go. It's just a matter of keeping going in spite of everything.

    I'm not sure I'd describe myself as courageous, or even persistent, but sometimes you've just got to keep going and not let obstacles get in the way - just live life to the full.

    Looking back at Britain's Got Talent, do you remember how you felt and what the journey was like?

    I'd more or less given up on singing when I did the audition. I was at the point where I thought everything was over but little did I know it was actually just beginning.

    Would you consider judging on a show like that?

    I've done judging on shows in different parts of Asia, one or two of the Korean talent shows. I've also been a mentor for pop stars in Germany. I tend to take the role quite seriously. I don't go there with the intention of getting camera time.

    The thing that was important for me (in these instances) is to give people the best guidance that I could and for them to make the best of their opportunities.

    You've spoken about being bullied in school, have faced health issues and hard times. What is it that keeps you going when life throws you such curveballs?

    You've just got to keep going and try not to think about them too much. Don't concentrate too much on the pitfalls because they can sometimes drag you back.

    What advice would you have for aspiring singers?

    Challenge yourself to improve. You have to put yourself out there and get lots of good advice. Get people to listen to you singing, performing and don't be disheartened when you meet an obstacle.

    What are some of your career goals?

    I just want to continue doing what I love doing. That's the single most important thing for me. Nothing else matters. I hopefully will continue giving people reasons to believe in themselves.


    Paul Potts' The Greatest Hits album is in stores now.

    One Chance will hit cinemas here on Jan 9.