We have been dying to get our hands, so to speak, on Aiden Grimshaw for quite some time. When So So Gay finally gets some time with the aesthetically fortunate 20 year-old, he has just been held up in traffic in London, something which ‘wouldn’t happen in Blackpool’.
Grimshaw earned a reputation as a brooding, serious type while competing on the series of X Factor which Matt Cardle went on to win. It was a shock, to say the least, when he was eliminated fairly early on in favour of the deeply unpopular Katie Waissel. However, he comes across as warm, humorous and effervescent during our conversation.
We are keen to get the X Factor talk out of the way early, so we simply ask Grimshaw if he is glad to have done it; ‘Yeah, massively. I keep saying it but before that I was 18, working in a restaurant and getting £8 tips a night. Now, here I am doing this interview, which is pretty cool’. This relaxed, down-to-earth vibe is a theme throughout our conversation.[pullquote_left]It was important for me to come away from the show and do some standard teenage things[/pullquote_left]It has been almost two years since Grimshaw’s appearance on the Saturday night stalwart. We ask him if he has been glad of the opportunity to take his time before releasing his material; ‘I’m definitely glad. It was important for me to come away from the show and do some standard teenage things. I was only 18. I wanted to take the time to learn about myself and how the studio works before taking it further, So yes, that gap was important’.
Having released debut single ‘Is This Love’ last week, to a positive review from So So Gay, we are eager to know what the story behind the track is; ‘It’s sort of autobiographical. The track comes early on on the album – it was one of the first ones we wrote. I’d just broken up with someone and was feeling angry and frustrated. The song just represents one of the stages I’d been through in my life’. The very style of the single is notably ‘un-X Factor‘, which probably comes as little surprise to those who avidly observed Grimshaw’s individual approach on the show; ‘I think that preconceptions will always exist but I don’t feel like an ex-X Factor contestant anymore. Two years have passed. The whole thing feels like a world away. What I’ve produced is an honest album’.
On the subject of the album, interestingly titled Misty Eye and released on 20 August, we ask Grimshaw what we can expect in terms of musical direction; ‘Well, it’s quite a mix. There are some angry moments, happy moments, intense moments, euphoric moments. It’s varied but coherent. There’s a definite thread running through the album’.
‘Is This Love’ was co-written by Athlete frontman Joel Pott. Does Grimshaw have any other writers or producers he would like to collaborate with in the future? ‘I’ve not thought about it. Outkast I like a lot, Andre 3000 seems like a cool kind of guy’. His openness in this area reflects the diversity of his musical tastes; ‘I like anything that’s around. I’m loving Moby at the moment’. Would he consider sampling it? ‘Erm, no. You shouldn’t mess with that stuff’.[pullquote_right]I suddenly tuned into the fact that, erm, I might be a bit pretty[/pullquote_right]When So So Gay broke the news that Grimshaw had announced the details of his debut single and album, you flocked to the site in droves. We wonder if Grimshaw has worked out why gay men dig him so much. He begins by being modest; ‘Erm, I don’t know’, before continuing ‘I suddenly tuned into the fact that, erm, I might be a bit pretty’. He then tells us about the first time he realised he was the object of many a gay man’s desires; ‘I was walking through Blackpool with some mates when I was about 16, trying to find somewhere to go where we would get served. We ended up in a gay bar, so we had a drink and then moved on. As we were leaving, some guy – he must have been about 56 – winked at me and went ‘ooh, hello!”.
Crucially, and perhaps even more endearingly, the über-cute star-in-the-making still hides his light under a bushel; ‘I’m really flattered that people think I’m good looking. I try to hide it by not being in the video’. More’s the pity.