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Author Archives: paulpottsmusic

About paulpottsmusic

First winner of Britain's Got Talent in 2007. Won singing Nessun Dorma from Puccini's Turandot. Since then Paul has released 3 albums, One Chance, Passione and his latest album, Cinema Paradiso is out in 22 countries and is an album of film themes produced by Hollywood film music producer, Simon Franglen who was responsible for producing the soundtracks for Titanic, Moulin Rouge and Avatar

How does Singing Make Me Feel?

Singing has always been my joy and passion, and was, before I met Julz, my one and only friend that stood by me through thick and thin.  It meant that what was happening to me outside of singing mattered less.  It gave me my only sense of belonging.

As a child, singing just made the pain wisp away.  Only for that time  that I was singing, but for a few hours each week, I had that magical feeling rush over me.  It was difficult to describe, but there was a warmth about it that I wanted to embrace.

Many people have asked me why I never took up singing as a career much earlier.  There were a few reasons for this.  If I could have a dream, it was always something I wanted to do, as I only really felt complete when I was singing.  Apart from the practical problem of supporting myself financially, there were two other issues.

Forging a career always involves a risk.  How risk averse you are will often depend on your level of self-confidence.  Striding forward into the world of professional singing felt to me to be too much of a risk – Was I good enough?  Would I be able to survive on non-guaranteed money?  Questions I still ask myself sometimes.  The other issue was that singing was mine.  Mine alone.  It was my escape and I wasn’t sure I wanted to share it with others to be held up to scrutiny.  I worried that opening it up to others would allow the demons in.  Life has no filters to keep out the bad, so you have to be prepared to take both the good and the bad, and I wasn’t sure I could face this.

Despite this, I did share my voice to an extent on an amateur level.  It made me feel incredibly nervous, though not in a disabling way.  I didn’t freeze, I just fretted about missing notes or forgetting words.  The feeling of when I was performing was a feeling that was difficult to describe exactly.

It felt like keys opening a door.  Through that door was a world where I felt I belonged.  It was a temporary world, and once the applause died down, I would find myself retreating back into my place.  Outside of that space, I would feel insecure and frightened, but the moment I would open my mouth to sing, this would melt away.

The period of my life when I had to put my singing aside was a difficult one.  I had come through two major illnesses, and was still singing.  The accident was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and financially I couldn’t expect to continue.  Life, I felt had taken a turn for the worst on that front, but on the other, I had a gorgeous wife who loved me, and cared for me in spite of my weaknesses, insecurity and obstacles, and as difficult as leaving singing behind was, I knew I had a friend for life in Julz.

Imagine my surprise when that ten pence piece turned up heads and led where it did!  That same feeling came flooding back.  There was a little more trepidation at first, as I didn’t know what the reaction would be.  But as things progressed, I got more and more lost in the music.  I did still have one fear, though after things exploded in 2007.

Would singing professionally at the highest level change how I felt about singing?

Would it start to feel like ‘work’?

I knew that while I was jet setting it around the world in comfortable seats on planes other people were working their socks off to be able to afford to buy what I was doing, I was fearful that the special feeling I had would go away, that it would feel like 9 to 5 drudgery.

My fears were, in the end, without foundation.  In spite of having performed at over 500 different concerts in over 40 countries over the last 7 years, I still have that yucky nervous feeling before I go on stage.  Better still, however, I still have that ‘door opening’ moment as I start to sing.  That’s the best thing about it.  I have performed in many wonderful places and am looking forward to performing in many more wonderful places as I prepare to tour New Zealand, the USA, UK and Ireland among other places.

I believe that as a person we are the sum of all our experiences, the good and the bad.  I think we do our best when we remember that and use it to get the best out of life.

I’ve said before that I’m not sure that I believe in destiny.  That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a single thing that completes who we are.  Destiny would mean that we would get there anyway regardless of what path we take.  I believe that life is far more complex than that.  I think we get to where we are going because of the path we take in life.  It is up to us as individuals to keep going to where we want to be; to be where we feel most complete.  It isn’t all mapped out for us, or else nothing we do would make any difference.

Is there something that makes you feel complete?  What are you doing about it?  It won’t wait for you!

I look forward to the opportunity to be ‘opening that door’ in front of you at your most local venue soon.  Below are the links to concerts that are presently on sale:

http://www.paulpottsofficial.com/tour-dates/

Read about how my life turned out here:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/One-Chance-Paul-Potts/dp/1602862389/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392897418&sr=8-1&keywords=one+chance+paul+potts

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/one-chance-import-paul-potts/1100535896?ean=9781602862289

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2014 in My Blogs

 

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Sticks and Stones may Break my Bones…

“…but names will never hurt me”

So the old saying goes.  This was a rhyme I was taught at school.  And yes, I did recite it.  Did I really believe in it when I did?

Simple answer:  No.  Not a word of it.

Life got in the way of this fantasy line.  So is it just words?  Does it really just stop there?

The truth is, that in order to beat someone, you don’t have to lay a single finger on them.  Not one.  That is because you can beat them mentally first.  There is another saying;

“The pen is mightier than the sword”

This saying is far more true.  You can hurt someone far more with words than with fists.  Or you can soften them up with words before you go in for the kill with fists or whatever your weapon of choice is.

If you defeat someone in their mind, then you will gain the ultimate power over them.  Remember that all forms of abuse, and let’s not beat around the bush, bullying IS abuse, are about one thing and one thing only – power.

If you have power over someone, then you can control them.  When you get subjugated by someone mentally, then you are much more open to abuse.  It all starts in the mind and in what the victims’ state of mind is.

My experience was that I was defeated not only by people’s fists, feet and weapons.  I was defeated by them in my mind to the extent that I rarely, if ever fought back.

When you want to defeat someone, it’s strategically better to beat them psychologically first.  Why?  They are much less likely to fight back so they are easier to gain control over.

Too many view name-calling as minor bullying.  And yes, that old saying comes up again – “Ignore it, it will go away, they will get bored and find someone else”.  This is a reaction from people that don’t know exactly how to deal with it.  They just want to divert the problem from one person to another, rather than first giving proper support to both the victim and the instigator of the bullying.

Ok, so bullying is really challenging and it is very difficult to find a way of stamping it out.  I truly don’t believe that a ‘zero tolerance’ policy will work because it is meaningless.  What does it mean to have zero tolerance?  What do you do to the bullies?  Will it actually eradicate the bullying or just lead to them saving it until they are out of the school’s jurisdiction?  In fact it will probably be worse because of telling the teachers.

The blame game is great for people to try and demonstrate that they are doing something about bullying.  But just doing something isn’t enough.  You have to do the best thing and the best thing is unlikely to be the quickest response.

There is a seven letter word that is most important here:

SUPPORT.

This might be controversial and unpopular, but both sides need support.  Victim first, for sure.  It’s no good just deciding that punishment is needed.

When your car breaks down, it’s best not to do a Basil Fawlty and whack it with tree branches.  It won’t correct the problem.  You find out the problem first and do the best thing to fix the problem.  Different problems have different solutions.  Even for cars.  Even more so for humans.  There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution.

I believe that many bullies often do what they do because of their own insecurities and problems.  They don’t necessarily see the impact their words and actions have on their victims.  It makes them look big and tough in front of the other kids, and makes them one of the ‘cool’ kids.  Standing up for someone who is unpopular might sound like a noble thing to do, but it is a very risky thing to do.

Many bullies believe that they are just ‘teasing’ their target.  And they enjoy the glow they get from other children or people (after all, it’s not just children that are bullied) laughing with them, but at their chosen victim.

When I was at school, rarely was anything said to the bully.  Nothing was ever said to the children that laughed along with the bully.  As a victim of bullying, I remember well the feeling of having one ringleader shout things and to see lots of other children laughing along with the bully.

It might have been only one of the group doing the name-calling/hitting at certain times, but the laughter and cat calling of the others just told me which side of the divide I was.  I was on the other side – the uncool side.  Not to be befriended, not to be accepted.  I viewed this as a democratic decision:  Everyone agreed how worthless I was.  How hated I was.  How alone I was.  How funny it was (to them, at least).

What support did I get from teachers? Aside from the advice to ignore it, one or two only just stopped short of joining in.  I was told to look after my books better even though the teacher was witnessing other boys throwing them around unchecked.  There was great merriment in the class, and the instigator was only mildly rebuked in a very jokey informal way.  Nothing was said to the others in the class who had egged him on.

It’s not enough to take on the ringleaders.  You have to make more children and people genuinely see bullying of all kinds as antisocial and unacceptable.  Teachers and many others have always advised victims to ignore the bullying as it starves the instigators of attention.  This isn’t true.  You need to starve them of endorsement and of acceptability.  Not only the victim needs to not react.  Others around the instigator need to not react either.  Deal not just with the bullies, but those that encourage them by reacting in a positive way towards the instigator.  Find out the reasons WHY they bully and discover HOW to make them change their behaviour pattern.

The victims need a better support structure.  They will always be my first concern.  Do we seriously have enough support in place to help the victims of this abuse?  Talking with victims about what is happening will certainly be a starting point.  We need to enable victims not only to speak, but also to be the ones to be part of the decision as to what happens next.  We need to empower them.  Going to a teacher when you are a victim of abuse at school is a hard thing to do.  We know that if the teacher speaks to the instigator, that this might make things worse before it gets better.  I gave up speaking to teachers because it usually just made things worse.  We also need to find a way of minimising the problem of bullying, and that means finding the triggers and the reasons.

The Department for Education needs to sit down with victims and start speaking with charities that work so hard to give support to those that are suffering.  They need to see things from the perspective of the victim.  And all solutions should involve enabling the victims.

As I type this, another teenager dies needlessly as a result of bullying.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”  Yeah, right.

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2013 in My Blogs

 

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It All Started Here!

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It’s interesting to look back on the last six and a half years and take stock.  Today, I walked around Cardiff Bay, where this incredible journey started in March 2007.  Back then, I didn’t know where it would lead.  I thought it was the end.  Instead, it was the beginning.  

It’s now 2013, almost 2014, and I find it incredible that I am still doing what I love, performing around the world.  Not only that, but there is a film based on my life! Not just any film, but a film that has made me laugh, cringe (as my wife tells me that yes, I would have asked Pavarotti about his phone, as apparently I am that geeky!) and cry just a little. The film is everything I wanted it to be.  Sad, happy, funny and giving a message that in order to keep going you simply have to listen to those that support you.  

It’s still incredible to me that I have the support of not just my lovely wife, but of so many people around the world.  I am humbled and honoured by this support.  Without it, nothing that is happening at the moment would ever happen.  

What advice would I give to others facing the same dilemmas I did?  

Don’t leave it to fate.

I don’t think of fate in the traditional way.  If everyone did what they were destined to do, nothing they did would make a single difference, and that makes life somewhat pointless.  

I think we have a set of opportunities set out in front of us but it is up to us to decide which route we take and how we follow through.  

You never know which opportunity is THE opportunity.  

I’ve often said that life doesn’t come with any kind of predestined route.  You have to use a mixture of instincts and guidance to get where you want to go.  You will hit bumps along the way, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you are headed in the wrong direction.  Listen to those around you that care about you, even if what they are saying isn’t exactly what you want to hear.  

It isn’t about being right, or about getting it right.  It’s about equipping yourself for life’s challenges.    

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2013 in My Blogs

 

Time for Social Networks to take responsibility?

Another Young life Wasted.

 

This week, a fourteen-year-old girl hanged herself after suffering online bullying on social networking site ask.fm.  This is by no means the first such suicide, and I’m afraid to say it won’t be the last.

 

Why does it happen?

 

It’s easy to bully people online.  You are largely anonymous and my experience of online bullying is that there is very little in the way of protection for people at the receiving end of bullying.  You can report them and block them, but they can just start up a new account as it doesn’t appear that the social networking sites are doing sufficient to prevent this by blocking ip addresses.  Of course the most determined can get away from this by using a proxy ip, but it would stop some.  I could go on and call these crass bullies names but I suspect that that is what they want.  Some call them trolls, but I think those that are small minded enough to hide behind an online identity to get some strange sort of kick from making someone else feel small will wear this as a badge of honour. 

 

Bullying is something that most of us go through in different stages of our lives and it is an important part of our development how we deal with bullying.  Most of us are able to shrug it off and move on.  Others (me included) find this more of a struggle and take to heart what is said and this leads some to contemplate the distressing and desperate act of suicide and of suicidal feelings. 

 

Some may feel that the act of suicide is too far a step to take in these circumstances, but it is a consequence of the oft given advice of ignoring abuse.  We are constantly told by teachers and our peers to ignore it because then ‘it will go away’.  Again for the majority this will hold true.  But we are all individuals and some of us are more sensitive than others and will take the words to heart.  For these people, the act of ignoring the bullying is NOT the correct action to take.  It is of course inadviseable to respond to bullies as they get some satisfaction from this.  In the absence of any meaningful deterrent for online bullying, however some either have to bottle up the negative feelings or react in order to try to defend themselves. 

 

So is Twitter, Facebook, Bebo, ask.fm, et al doing enough to stop online bullying? 

 

I genuinely believe there is more that they can do.  Controversy creates traffic and traffic is how these websites sell their advertising and ‘sponsored’ pages/tweets/questions etc.  So it might be considered against their interests for this to happen. 

 

In the aftermath of the threats of rape and violence against two women involved in the campaign to get a female role model represented on a UK bank note, something that in 2013, I wouldn’t consider to be an extreme measure, Twitter has promised to put an alert button to protect women.  It did this in response to the backlash that followed.  I have not seen any evidence of these buttons on Twitter or Facebook.  Will these buttons be enough?

 

Not on themselves I don’t believe.  Reporting and banning is a step forward, but I don’t think it goes far enough.  I think there needs to be links from the report button to online resources and counselling services for people on the receiving end of this bullying.

 

Ask.fm is a particular worry for me as I have seen how some people have used it when feeling depressed to ask their friends what they like about them.  The issue comes when a bully comes along and tells the person – who is often feeling unloved and lonely, something that is so nasty that it just makes them feel worse. 

 

We all feel in need of reassurance at times and we all react differently, but this is a pattern I have seen more than once.  I am certainly glad that this service wasn’t available when I was in my teens, as I might have used this service myself in the search for something positive.  When you are depressed and feeling like you are alone you search everywhere for reassurance and for something positive.  When what you get is the opposite, far from making you feel full of reassurance, you fee l despair. 

 

So why do people in this position feel the need to search for approval?  They have parents, brothers, sisters etc that love them, so why do they feel like they are alone? 

 

Brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers are meant to love you regardless, so to someone feeling at their lowest, this becomes somehow less relevant.  You want to make a difference and be special to someone because they want that not because they ought to.  When you don’t get the answers you want (and I asked children in school why they bullied me because I wanted to find a reason so I could do something about it) that increases the despair and you end up feeling that you are unlovable. 

 

“But your mum loves you!”  Comes the cry.

 

To a mind searching for positives and only getting negatives, the answer internally is:

 

“well, that’s only because she HAS to”

 

Anyone who has considered harming themselves or even ending their lives, they must have seen despair.  There is no specified point where anyone reaches despair.  We all reach it in different ways.  It’s easy to dismiss the suicidal feelings saying that “we have been through this and never thought about ending it all”.   This means that that person didn’t actually reach despair. 

 

I have been there and know the feeling well.  Every individual is different. 

 

So if you are suffering from bullying in your online activities, what should you do?

 

  1. Use the privacy settings with care.  Try not to make yourself too visible online to everyone.  Control who can see your profiles.

 

  1. Think carefully about making your twitter etc account only viewable by those you know and those who won’t bully you. 

 

  1. If you do suffer online bullying, try not to respond to them.  It’s easier said than done, but often they are bullying for the reaction.

 

  1. Report bullies, but speak to someone about how the bullying makes you feel.  Speak to a friend, relative, parent or contact one of the many anti-bullying charities that exist.  It’s not weakness to ask for help.  That’s a sign of strength. 

 

  1. Don’t allow bullies to make you feel small.  By bullying you, they are making up for something that is missing from their lives.  They can try and make you feel small, but only you can allow them to succeed. 

 

What about the social network sites?  What should they do?

 

  1. Large easily selected report abuse buttons for all, not just those that are considered ‘vulnerable’.

 

  1. Link the report button to a support page so those that are on the receiving end can have immediate access to support if they need it.

 

  1. One of the most frustrating aspects of Facebook is their ability to change your privacy settings without consulting you, and leaving you open to the outside world when you have chosen to keep your profile private.  This has happened to me several times on my personal account.  Facebook – this isn’t good enough.  I have talked about it on your page but received no response whatsoever. 

 

  1. Consult anti-bullying charities to find out how much more they can do to support their users.  Work hand in hand with them. 

 

 

 

 

Much more needs to be done by the social networks to support the majority of their users who don’t use it maliciously.  They may not be responsible for the abuse itself, but they do have a responsibility to protect their users. 

 

Finally, if YOU are going through any kind of bullying, be it online or in real life, don’t suffer alone, get help from one of the following charities:

 

http://www.cybersmile.org

http://www.bullying.co.uk

http://www.bulliesout.com

There are more out there, but these will be a great starting point.  You aren’t the only one going through it.  If you are struggling to deal with it, stop struggling and get help. 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2013 in My Blogs

 

Hell is Other People – What about those that are bullied?

“Hell is other people,” wrote Jean-Paul Sartre in his play No Exit.  This has often been misunderstood to mean that hell is the other people other than ourselves, but Sartre never meant that at all.  The story of the play was about a group of people sent to hell, and hell for them was for four people to be stuck with each other for eternity with no-one else for company.  The consequence was being dependent on these people for opinions of themselves.  This is what is often forgotten when people think and talk about bullying.

Sartre’s view was that it isn’t possible for anyone to gain a view of themselves by themselves.  That their views would be formed by the views of those around them.

Advice often given to victims of bullying is this:

“Ignore them, they will stop then.”

“Ignore them, it will go away.”

“Ignore them, they will get bored and move on to someone else.”

I remember advice like this from teachers at school.  It wasn’t advice, it was a mantra.  A one size fits all solution to a problem that affects every victim of bullying and abuse in a different way.  Everyone seems to have a solution, but these solutions often ignore the feelings of the person that is at the end of the bullying.  What about how he/she feels?

Today the problem of bullying has evolved.  Its effects are still felt by its victims.  And yes, the mantra is still the same:

“Ignore it. They will get bored.”

“Ignore it, it will go away.”

“Ignore it, they will move on to someone else.”

Except as well as schoolyard bullies, there are now online bullies, or to give them a friendly name that makes them apparently easier to avoid and ignore, trolls.

So now, there is a new mantra:

“Don’t feed the trolls.”

There.  That made it go away didn’t it?  No?  Really?

Have a think about it.  Think about Sartre’s words again:

“Hell is other people.”

We are damned to judge ourselves by other people’s view of ourselves as there is no real way of our judging ourselves.  So when someone tells you something often enough, you’re bound to believe it.  How much you believe it will depend on a number of things.  How sensitive you are as a person and on how many people tell you the same thing.

Ignore it, we are told.  I can tell you from bitter experience, that that is easier said than done.  You can try not to respond to it, but that is not the same thing as ignoring it.  What happens to the insult when you don’t respond?  Does it die?  Perhaps.  Perhaps not.  What happens when you are surrounded by bullies?  Do you respond, or accept it?  Can you ever truly ignore it?

Truly ignoring it means it has no effect on you.  You don’t think about it again.  That’s fine when it’s the odd word.  But when that turns to bullying, which is repetitive in nature, ignoring it, or not responding will often lead to you simply accepting it, and since you are not challenging it, in your mind, it becomes true.  Also by not responding, you start to bottle it up, and your self respect and self confidence takes a nose dive.

There is another factor.  When someone tells you to ignore it, they are in effect telling you that what the bully is saying isn’t important.  Sounds like a good idea, doesn’t it?  Of course, it’s not as simple as that.  By minimising the importance of the bullying, they are unwittingly making your worries more trivial, and therefore making your feelings less important.  If the bullying is bad enough to make you feel bad about yourself, then it’s important enough to take note of.

Bullying, both online and in the real world are very real problems that have made children and adults alike feel bad enough about themselves to want to harm themselves or even to make them feel so irrelevant that they see no reason to continue living.

Online bullying isn’t trolling, it’s bullying made easier by the dividing line of not having to face the target of your bullying face to face, so it feel like there is no victim.  So why do we give it another name?  Describing it as trolling doesn’t make it seem more evil, it just makes it seem less real, and therefore makes those affected by it seem like oversensitive cry babies.

The next time you see someone being bullied, whether it be online or in the street, at school or in the workplace, don’t just tell them to ignore it.  Ask them how it makes them feel.  Allow them to express themselves and feel like they count for something.

If you yourself is bullying ask yourself how you would feel in that person’s shoes.  If you don’t feel you are bullying, that you are just teasing, think about how your words make other people feel.  To you it might be a joke, and might be funny.  To the person on the receiving end, it could be very different indeed.

Bullying cannot and must not be ignored.  It won’t go away, but its victims need support and somewhere to turn and people to turn to.  Giving people someone  to confide in and making them feel that they count for something won’t make the bullying go away, but it will help them move on.  Your ears can be so much more help than your mouth.

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2013 in My Blogs

 

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What DO you do when your Life Changes in an instant?

It’s incredible to think that it is already five years since I performed at Cardiff’s Millenium Centre in front of Simon Piers and Amanda.  in some ways it feels like yesterday and in some ways it feels like 50 years ago.  It’s difficult to put into words exactly what happens to you in this situation.  One minute I was strolling around in my badly fitting suit (and yes my Tesco suit is still hung up in my wardrobe upstairs, it fits me even worse now!) and next I found myself on a plane to New York just a day or two after the show.

What was I thinking?  I’m not sure I know! It was such a whirlwind especially as the whole show in my year was over with in a single week, and since then I have never stopped living each day from one to the next, thanking my lucky stars that an opportunity I never dreamed would come to me had suddenly jumped in front of me thanks to a lucky ten pence piece.

in a sense I was fortunate that the show was over in such a short space of time as Susan Boyle who had to wait weeks until it came to the live shows and that obviously put her and other contestants under a lot of pressure.  It did mean, however that I had to learn to adapt, and fast!  My job before the show was to sell mobile phones, but suddenly I found myself in front of many cameras having to sell myself in front of cameras and reporters.  For me this was a sink or swim moment.  Either I would not cope with pressure or I would adapt and deal with it.  Thankfully I managed to adapt, but I never knew for sure whether I would.  Of course it was all exciting, I could feel I was on the cusp of something very special, but I could also feel that things were different.  Now every thing I said and did mattered.

I enjoyed my job before the show, and I was committed to my career as a manager and team leader at Carphone Warehouse, but at the end of the day, if I missed a few sales, internally I would shrug my shoulders and say “Ah well, tomorrow’s another day”.  Now things are different.  Every performance matters.  I have performed over 400 full length concerts in the last five years, and I remember each and every one.  I also remember every missed note and mistake.  I remember feeling completely overwhelmed when I started my World Tour in 2008.  The most performances I had ever done before in a year were 15.  Now I had 55 concerts to do in four months and I didn’t know how the hell I was going to do it.  Another sink or swim moment. I was scared witless and struggled to hide it.  The tour started and it took a while for me to really settle in.  My nerves were shot and a really negative newspaper review by someone who didn’t stay for the things he reviewed most didn’t help.  I did, however, finally find myself swimming rather than sinking and I gradually became more confident and started to really enjoy my performances.  It was then that the tension was released and I started to sing better and better.
The Lesson? You never know what you are able to cope with until you put yourself to the test.  Yes it involves taking risks, and risks are scary things.  Very scary things when you don’t have a great deal of confidence in yourself.  So what happened in 2008? In a year where I was scheduled to perform 55 full length concerts, I ended up performing at well over a hundred concerts, almost double what was forecast at the start of the year in front of more than a quarter of a million paying customers.  It’s quite scary when you realise that people are paying to watch YOU perform.

This year’s Britain’s Got Talent has already started, and there are a number of stand out acts in the first show. Two stand out in particular for me so far, Sam Kelly with his fantastic rendition of Adele’s ‘Make You Feel My Love’.  To make something your own in the way that he did is very special.  It’s the sign of a genuine artist.  Secondly of course is Jonathon Antoine and Charlotte Jaconelli.  At only 17 years of age, Jonathon has a very well developed voice, although at 17 he still has a lot of development to do and I’m not sure whether he will be a dramatic tenor (think Otello, etc) or a rich baritone.  His voice could go either or both ways, tenors like Placido Domingo have proved that before now.  Charlotte has a very nice voice although the edit didn’t allow us to hear a lot of her part of the wonderful song that is The Prayer.  Hopefully we will get to hear more of Charlotte as the competition goes on.

Already Jonathon and Charlotte are being asked whether they will be having a makeover for the finals or for whatever comes after.  This is a very familiar question to me.  I was asked several times whether I would have a makeover, and if I was going to have my teeth done.  I certainly wasn’t about to have surgery to artificially improve myself or to ‘shed pounds’.  In the end I decided to have my teeth dealt with as the broken bridge and untidy teeth made me feel uncomfortable and unattractive and made me feel like a freak show.  I’ve been asked many times why I got rid of my USP (Ultimate selling point) – my bad teeth.  The reason?  I wanted to.  Not because I thought they would instantly make me handsome, but because I wanted to feel better about myself. 

So I’ve noticed that Jonathon and Charlotte have been singled out for the same questioning.So what should they do?  So far they have said no to any kind of makeover, and that’s neither wrong nor right.  What I would say is this: Don’t not change just because your afraid of changing.  You will hold yourself back.  You need to develop as a person and this may involve certain parts of you changing too as you develop as a person.  The thing about bullying is that it is often treated as something simple that ‘everyone’ goes through.  However, it is a form of abuse and in the end all abuse is about the same thing: power.  Jonathon: the boot is on the other foot now: you have the power to make your own decisions now and to really change your life.  Make them for YOUR benefit and the benefit of those you care about.  Make changes that YOU want to make and stick by your guns.  I noticed the bullying continue on twitter on Saturday evening and it’s easy for others to tell you to just ignore it.  I know from experience that it’s easier said than done.  Just remember that it’s because you have something special that you are singled out and that no matter what they throw at you, you always have your voice and your music to be there for you.  No-one can take that away from you no matter what happens.  

To everyone out there that is willing Jonathon and Charlotte on, all power to you, but let’s allow Jonathon and Charlotte enjoy the rest of the competition without undue stress and pressure.  The competition has only just begun, and there are many acts we haven’t seen.  Let’s give them all a chance and enjoy all their talents and allow all of them to make the most of their opportunity.  

That lesson again: You never know what you are capable of until you REALLY test yourself.  Every contestant is doing that in every competition in the world, every employee does this in every day work and every parent does it when they bring up their children.  We ALL have untapped potential, and you can only access that when you take a risk. I am now preparing for my fourth album, and that is something I never dreamed I would say.
 
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Posted by on March 28, 2012 in My Blogs

 

Port Talbot – not just steelworks and industry!

Beautiful skies over Swansea Bay

 

Port Talbot is a surprising place sometimes.  It is known mainly for the steelworks and is an important industrial hub for South Wales.  For example Tata steel is one of the biggest employers in the area, and the steelworks have been the major employers in the area for generations.  The town itself is not a huge town, but it is very diverse.  It has sometimes been rather unkindly called Port Toilet, but I believe it deserves to be seen in better light.

You have the very densely populated area towards the seafront, Sandfields, and you have more rural areas like Baglan and Cwmafan.  Everywhere you go, though you stand a great chance of seeing the sea, and you are within easy travelling distance of some of the prettiest scenery anywhere.  The Gower peninsula is within 30 minutes easy drive and was Britain’s first Area of Outstanding Beauty.  Closer to the town you also have Margam Abbey, the castle and the grounds where I did my first public performance after winning Britain’s Got Talent.

The Afan valley stretches all the way from the sea at Aberafan to the Bwlch where it meets the famous Rhondda Valley above Treorchi.  All the way there is very pretty valley scenery, and a major mountain bike centre at Afan Argoed which is arguably one of the most challenging mountain bike centres in Wales.

I have lived in Port Talbot since my first illness at the end of 2002, and I have always felt welcomed and at home here.  There is plenty to do in the area and lots of walking to be done in the area, be it on the beach, in the hills or in the valleys.  The people of Port Talbot are friendly, and very down to earth.  They are very generous in spirit and they still have a number of choirs for which Wales is rightly famous.

I have travelled the world and am fortunate to still be able to do that.  For that I am grateful to people all around the world for supporting me.  Only one place that I call home and that is Port Talbot.  I don’t ever see that changing.  Thank you to the people of Port Talbot for making me feel part of the community since I emigrated there in December 2002.

Evening falls over Port Talbot

 

(All photos by Paul Potts)

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2011 in My Blogs

 
 
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