Michael’s not ready to change everything

Michael Ball
Michael Ball
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You’ve got to hand it to Michael Ball, the fella has longevity.

He might have celebrated his 50th birthday last year but putting his feet up and taking it easy? Not in his nature.

Ball, whose silky voice you can hear at the Opera House tomorrow (tickets are still available), has had a hugely successful singing career, though – and this is heartening for all of us – he never actually had formal singing lessons.

His love of music began when he joined a theatre school as a teenager and his big break came early in his career, in the mid-80s when he landed a part in The Pirates of Penzance at the Manchester Opera House.

He became a household name in 1989 when Love Changes Everything, the song from the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Aspects of Love (in which he starred) was a huge chart hit – in the top 40 for 14 weeks, peaking at number two.

He has been all over the world and sung at the most famous theatres but ahead of his gig in the resort, the man himself told the Diary there is still nothing like coming to Blackpool.

“I love performing at the Opera House – it’s such a beautiful venue and we always have fantastic audiences in Blackpool,” said Ball.

“Blackpool has a long and distinguished history of entertainment and entertainers because it’s a destination for people to come and enjoy themselves. I think that’s hugely encouraging for hopeful young performers growing up in the area.

“There’s every opportunity for young singers and musicians to compete, perform and enjoy anything from musical theatre to classical to rock and jazz.”

It’s not long since Ball was last in these parts, in June 2011 for his Heroes Tour.

This new tour, named Both Sides Now, will see him performing songs by what he calls “some of my favourite writers”, such as Joni Mitchell, Joan Armatrading and Dolly Parton, as well as songs from some musicals.

Despite his years of performing, there is one thing Ball still hasn’t overcome – nerves.

“Just before going on stage there are thousands of things running around in my head – will my voice work, is the band happy, is the audience there, will I remember the words of the songs and how’s my suit looking?” he laughed.

“I always get nervous. But as soon as I go on, it all clicks into place.

One last thing I wanted to know. Is the man who makes the pulse of every British housewife race and who seems such a nice, decent chap, ever tempted to ditch his good-boy persona and have a diva-style tantrum?

Unfortunately, not... “I’m very happy to be me rather than a bad boy – think I’m a bit too old for tantrums!” he replied.

“ But I’m just as human as anyone else and can get really annoyed if something’s gone wrong but I don’t go berserk and I don’t throw my weight around – I try to deal with things as quickly as possible because there’s always so much to do I don’t want to waste time and energy making people’s lives – or mine – miserable.”

Tickets for Ball’s show tomorrow are available from www.blackpoollive.com priced £37.50