Peter Andre… 25 Years in Showbiz – It’s ‘Insania’!
From opening for Madonna and moonwalking in Michael Jackson’s famous footsteps, to waltzing his way into our living rooms in ‘Strictly’ and conquering his fears in the ‘Celebrity Jungle’, this pop star-turned-presenter has been making waves in the music and entertainment business for an impressive quarter of a century.
Global singing sensation and star of the stage, Peter Andre, talks exclusively to Angela Sara West about his 25th anniversary tour, his new capsule collection of luxury handmade beds for HOS Home, and how he’s making a new name for himself in Hollywood.
He’s entered The Guinness Book of Records, supported Bobby Brown, written songs with the late, great Robin Gibb, graced the ‘Strictly’ dancefloor and entertained us in the ‘Celebrity Jungle’. With 25 years in showbiz under his belt, plus a plethora of projects in the pipeline, this irrepressible star is just hot off the stage from a retro 90s tour, following filming for a new movie role in LA and launching a new interiors range. And now, pop sensation Peter Andre’s set to celebrate with a very special anniversary tour, taking him on the road again!
New Faces – Big Break
Born in England but raised in Australia from the age of six, Peter discovered his passion for music at an early age, with Michael Jackson his biggest inspiration growing up. “I’ve loved music ever since I was young, but I have to tell you, my parents didn’t want me to go into music, so when I went into the business, they were petrified! They were thinking of all the common pitfalls, but I wanted to show that, if you are honest as a performer, it can be OK.”
And that ensuing career in the industry has worked out as a whole lot more than okay… it’s been a total triumph. Let’s face it, not many people can claim to have owned a mansion that previously belonged to Tom Cruise!! Alongside his singing success, Peter’s become a popular TV personality and is now finding fame as an actor, too. But how did it all begin for this international icon?
Peter first rose to fame as a singer during the ’90s, after his big break at sweet 16, when his 1990 appearance on the Australian TV talent show ‘New Faces’ resulted in a recording contract. Following success in his adopted Oz, the pop star sang his way into the limelight in the UK. After moving to London, Peter forged a successful music career in Europe with his much-loved single ‘Mysterious Girl’, which enjoyed 18 weeks in the UK charts in 1996, peaking at No.2 and making the Top 10 in 13 countries worldwide. Follow-up singles ‘Flava’ and ‘I Feel You’ (also from the chart-topping album ‘Natural’) both hit the No.1 spot in the singles chart and Peter went on to become the sixth best-selling artist of the decade in the UK.
Opening for the Material Girl’s Girlie Show World Tour stadium tours 25 years ago also put him on his path to superstardom. “I mean, it was Madonna! The biggest pop star in the world… it totally blew my mind… Walking out onto that massive stage and seeing everyone in the stadium in front of me was just incredible.”
Peter went on to become an internationally-acclaimed music star, touring with his own shows all over the world and winning countless accolades along the way. Having clocked up three No.1 singles, a No.1 album and 10 Top 5 singles in the UK alone, he’s also clinched two platinum and three gold albums, along with numerous gongs, including a prestigious World Music Award and no fewer than three ARIAs (Australian Recording Industry Association Music Awards).
Strictly dancefloor moves & jungle life
Following four further Top 10 singles, the ‘90s pop pin-up took some time out, but came back with a bang after his break from the public eye, finding fame again when he entered ITV’s hit jungle-based show ‘I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here? in 2004, where he wrote the song ‘Insania’ and gave fans a daily dose of those impressive abs.
Along with reality shows a-go-go, there have been small-screen appearances aplenty, including presenting gigs galore on shows such as ’60-Minute Makeover’, showbusiness reporter jobs on ITV’s ‘This Morning’ and cookery slots on ‘Lorraine’. Peter’s also a sought-after host for prestigious events, such as OK! magazine’s Beauty Awards, while the in-demand personality recently entertained fans with his ‘An Evening With Peter Andre ‘My Life Story’’ talks and Q&As at his speaking events, interspersed with the odd acoustic song or two.
Gracing our screens to show off his enviable dance moves on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, and going back Down Under to take on jungle challenges as a contestant on ‘I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here?’ were both big learning curves for the celebrated singer. “’Strictly’ and ‘I’m a Celebrity…’ are two shows that are completely poles apart, but where you learn different things about yourself. Let’s just say that both shows taught me a lot!”
Shortly after leaving the jungle, the 2004 re-release of ‘Mysterious Girl’ went straight to the top of the UK charts, eight years after its original release, seeing Peter enter the Guinness Book of Records as the only singer to have the same song hit the top of the UK charts three times!
A couple of years ago, the record-breaking pop star was cruising’n’crooning on board P&O’s flagship cruise ship, Britannia, with Ant and Dec and an eight-piece swing/jazz band, Ashley Roberts, Stephen Mulhern. James Nesbitt and Katherine Jenkins.
2018 saw Peter perform at festivals alongside artists such as Ronan Keating, Midge Ure, Right Said Fred and The Cheeky Girls, as well as headlining arenas around the UK at the Stepback! 90s Concerts, featuring B*Witched, Blazin’ Squad, East 17, 5ive and S Club, among other 90s bands. The nostalgic gigs saw him headline at Wembley Arena again for the first time in over 20 years. “They were great shows to do… really fun,” he says.
The 90s was a golden era for pop music and the decade’s much-idolised music is currently enjoying a welcomed revival. “I think people really just love pop nostalgia. It can take one song just to take you back to a great place, time or memory in your life.”
King of Pop
Last year, Peter also performed several Michael Jackson hits to rave reviews at Thriller Live’s special gala night. As a huge fan of the King of Pop, how was Pop Prince Peter’s experience of the ‘thrilling’ night? “Can I just say, it was one of the biggest honours of my life! I am a massive fan of Michael Jackson and to go out on stage and sing some of his songs was just incredible. It was to celebrate 4,000 performances of Thriller Live in aid of The Prince’s Trust – I was so proud to be a part of that.”
La La Land… An official Hollywood actor!
From the small screen to the silver screen, the singing star is now officially a movie star, having landed a leading part in ‘The Inheritance’, directed by British director James Hickox and recently filmed in LA. Putting his all into his new-found craft, hardworking Peter took online acting lessons from Al Pacino and is unrecognisable in his new movie role. “Although it was very full-on, I can honestly say shooting was an incredible experience. It was intense and very dark, and becoming the character took months of preparing. Thankfully, it paid off.”
Another big-screen part, which left his kids especially impressed, entailed voicing the character of a mischievous rally car in the latest ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ film. “It was a real honour to be voicing the character of Ace in the new movie, and it was such a buzz for me to be doing my first worldwide movie voiceover for something that I grew up on and loved as a child and that my kids now love, too. All the kids also love the new film and, secretly, I think they were quite proud of me doing it!”
Back on the road…. Celebrating 25 years in showbiz!
He once performed three shows in two countries in one day – phew!! And, as a music and entertainment business stalwart, he’s showing no signs of slowing down… February and March 2019 see the record-breaking Aussie Brit back on stage to mark his impressive quarter-century milestone in showbiz. “My ‘Celebrating 25 Years’ tour will see me performing at 25 venues around the country. I’m so excited to celebrate with everyone who has followed me over the years!”
Showcasing his musical journey through the years, he’ll perform his best-loved hits from his early years right up to his most recent tracks. “It really is going to be a great show, with lots of the old classics as well as some of my more recent stuff, plus a few surprises thrown in along the way! I hope everybody loves it…”
Kicking off in Aberdeen, the tour takes in many of the UK’s other big cities, before winding up in London’s O2 and The Brighton Centre. Meet-and-greet packages are available for superfans to get up-close-and-personal with Peter, who always enjoys giving back to his fans.
On first entering the industry, did he ever think he would be so staggeringly successful that he would still be recording and performing today? “When I started out, I was so determined to make it because singing and performing was all I wanted to do. But if you had told me that I would still be around in 25 years’ time, I don’t think I would have been able to answer that, honestly.”
Go… Grease Lightnin’!
This summer, he’s set to star as Teen Angel in Grease the Musical. “’Grease’ is such an iconic film isn’t it?!! And after ’Thriller Live’, I’ve got a real taste for musical theatre, so it’s nice to dabble a little in that world. It’s a great new door to open for me. Unfortunately, I couldn’t commit to the whole tour, so I won’t be performing on every date, but it’s gonna be fun!”
Makeover man with a passion for fashion
With a flair for design, Peter’s created several fragrances in the past plus a fashion collection, not forgetting that if you’re after a makeover, Peter’s your man! He ventured into the world of interior design through his work presenting ITV’s ‘60 Minute Makeover’ and never passes up an opportunity to showcase his creative side. “I love presenting ‘60 Minute Makeover’ and the stories from the families that deserve the makeover and seeing the transformation. It’s such a great show to do, I really love the opportunity to change people’s lives. I do love fashion, too. I’ve really been getting into my fitted suits over the last few months…”.
In bed with Andre!
Fancy spending the night in Peter’s bed? Well, now you can!! With many strings to his ever-expanding bow, he recently launched his new interiors collection A. By Andre, with luxury furniture retailer HOS Home, kicking off with bespoke, luxury handmade beds.
How did the collaboration with HOS Home come about? “It was an 18-month idea turned into reality. When my wife, Emily, and I bought our house it was a new build, a complete blank canvas,” he explains. “When I was looking at bespoke furniture it was so outrageously expensive. That’s when I got in touch with Dan and Layla Chapman of HOS Home. They helped to transform our bedrooms very reasonably – in fact, if you saw me on Michael McIntyre’s ‘Big Show’ on TV recently, you would have seen the bed they made for us on that.”
“Since being involved in property and developing my portfolio, I’ve realised the importance of finding the right furniture that looks amazing, is built to last and is affordable. My passion for this really ignited in trying to find the right designs for my own home and embark on designing a range of my own. So, the progression was a natural one and, in terms of the idea behind the brand and designs themselves, we wanted to create a selection of luxury, bespoke beds at an affordable price. We’ve designed four beds, with different tastes in mind to appeal to everyone.”
Beautiful, British-made beds
The brand’s mission is to place itself at the forefront of luxury homeware and style with a range of customisable beds handcrafted by British manufacturers, using traditional upholstery methods, with materials sourced from in and around the UK. “A. By Andre is focused on creating modern, luxury furniture designs that represent glamour, sophistication and joy,” Peter explains. “The ethos of affordable luxury, choice and making a home feel special is ingrained in the brand’s DNA. The beds are bespoke, handmade and, more importantly, British made. All manufacturing takes place in the UK, at our dedicated factory.”
Wearing his new designer hat, Peter enjoys being very hands-on and having lots of creative input. “Absolutely – I don’t just put my name to anything… This is something that was really important to me, so to have the input was essential, otherwise I wouldn’t do it. I’m incredibly passionate about home and family, and being able to have had such a creative input in this project and see the ideas come to life has been a fantastic experience. I loved everything, from looking at the design, to choosing fabrics and colour.” From single to super-king, along with size, shoppers can select smooth or crushed velvet and choose from an impressive palette of colours. His favourite design in his stunning range? “I think, for me, it has to be The Mayfair… it’s a real touch of luxury.”
Screaming style, the celeb-love HOS Home brand boasts bountiful big-name fans, including Amanda Holden and Brian McFadden. Have any famous faces snapped up one of Peter’s luxurious beds? “I’m having lots of conversations with many people who are interested – the feedback has been amazing. But I tell you now, I wish I was taking one on tour with me when I travel around the UK on my ‘Celebrating 25 Years’ tour!”
Designer Peter says he has much more in store for the brand. “This is only the start! Currently, we only design and manufacture the beds, not mattresses. For now, we are concentrating on the beds. But who knows what the future holds!”
Peter’s family has a long history of working in the housing and architecture industries. “You’re right! I wanted to start this new venture following my family history in architecture and designer homes. My dad was one of the first to build luxury designer homes on the Gold Coast, and my brother, Michael, worked for one of the biggest architect and interior design companies in Australia. My dad wanted me to go into this business, but obviously I wanted to go into music. It must run in our blood… it’s just taken 25 years to get the ideas together!”
In 2010, along came Emily… The pair met after Emily’s doctor dad treated Peter’s kidney stones. The loved-up couple wed in 2015 and have two young children, Amelia and Theo. And it looks like Junior and Princess, from his first marriage, will be following in Peter’s musical and acting footsteps; they both made Peter proud as punch on attaining their drama scholarship recently. “I am so proud of Junior and Princess. They both passed the LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art) exams and got a distinction!”
With a wife and four children, plus such a diverse portfolio, family man Peter has a lot on his plate, but somehow manages to juggle all his projects to strike a happy work/life balance to ensure quality time with Emily and the kids. Of Greek-Cypriot descent, when it’s time for a break from A&R, the keen chef heads to his home in Cyprus with his family for some much-needed R&R and to indulge in the Greek gastronomy.
The proudest moments of his career so far? “I’ve had so many, I don’t think I could possibly choose… I’ve been extremely lucky that I’ve had so many opportunities in my career, from singing to TV presenting and even acting now. As for the most rewarding aspect of what he does, he says he’s grateful for the opportunities that have been offered. “It’s just been amazing that I’ve had so many doors opening and I’ve been lucky enough to give new things a try!”
Tips from a top pop star! Peter has advice aplenty for readers thinking about going into the music business:
– The music business is not the same place that it was when I first started in the industry, but if you’ve got talent, then you need to find different ways to be spotted now.
– It’s not so much about the record companies and sending them your music, but getting noticed now in different ways, whether that be YouTube or Spotify.
– Finally, never give up on your dreams – that’s what life is all about!
And his interior design tips?
My top three tips are:
– Don’t be afraid of colour or to experiment – you can be a bit more daring and be surprised by what you use.
– Go with your instincts – if it feels right, then do it.
– Sometimes, less is more, which I know sounds a weird thing to say when I’ve said don’t be afraid to experiment, but have an idea of how you want a room to look. Start with the colour, then once you’ve put that in place it’s like a blank canvas and you can add as you go along!
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