THEY’VE sold more than 15 million albums worldwide since bursting into the pop bubble 13 years ago.
Now, a brand-new tour – including a Bridgwater concert on January 31 and February 1 –, forthcoming single ‘Broken’, due for release on February 3, and a new album in the pipeline, means it’s ‘all go’ for Brit boy band Blue.
Plus with band member Antony Costa’s baby on the way and a wedding to organise, 2014 is already shaping up as his – and Blue’s – best year yet.
Antony caught up with entertainment reporter DAISY BLACKLOCK ahead of the band’s Bridgwater show…
Congratulations on your baby news, Antony! What a way to start the year, do you and Rosanna Jasmin (his fiancée) have a due date yet?
“Thank you! It’s all go for me. One scan said the due date was before my birthday, which is June 23, and another had the due date as the day after my birthday. Either way it’s going to be amazing. As for our wedding, it’s 2015 we’re aiming for.”
Blue is celebrating 13 years together around the night of your Bridgwater show on January 31. Did you think you’d still be making music?
“I didn’t think I’d still be here really. Nothing major, or any problems or anything, but so lucky to be able to do what I’m doing. And the thing with Blue, back in the day, we was always consistent with taking time out and doing different things.
“To come back, was a bit of a shock to the system in terms of how the business has changed so much. Obviously we did Eurovision, and we’ve got the new album, but it’s about keeping us out there and making sure people know we’re still about.
Do you feel older and wiser as a band?
“Definitely. Way back in the day we’d release three songs then release an album, three songs, then release an album… it seems so weird how things change so much, ‘cos of the whole download and MySpace and your space and every other space, it’s just a lot to get your head around.
“Back in the day it was one chart, Top 40, and that was it. Now there’s the national Top 40, and the regional charts, and the iTunes chart… we’ve had to go back to basics and revaluate what it’s like; how we can get ourselves out there.”
What’s it been like touring with Wet Wet Wet on their greatest hits tour?
“Marti Pellow (the lead singer of Wet Wet Wet) and the lads are absolutely amazing blokes. We learned so much from them, and they’re really, really cool. To be able to say that we were there with Wet Wet Wet… 20 years ago I was doing karaoke, singing their songs.”
Your next two concerts are at Bridgwater and Yeovil. Ever been to Somerset?
“We have, on the One Love and Guilty album tours. We used to spend the week in Minehead, and then do a show on the Saturday.” Roulette is your fourth studio album. What’s different about this one?
“As you know it’s a brand new album, and still out, and I like the fact that we took our time doing it. We really sort of nailed what direction we wanted to go. Music’s changed so much, and we wanted to keep the Blue sound. The new single, Broken, is a very classic Blue track. We didn’t want to go too far from what we were about back in the day.”
I hope you don’t mind me saying so, but your voice sounds stronger on Roulette than it has in earlier Blue albums.
“It’s funny. I always had that voice, but the producers never gave me that chance back in the day. So I used to just sit back and let the others do it. I sort of had no confidence in myself – and I’m saying that so you’ll go ‘aaaahh’, but because it’s the truth, I’m just being honest. Then when we did this album, a lot of the producers gave me a chance, which was nice. It’s never really happened before for me.
“There’s a song called Black Box, which is my favourite song on the album by the way, and they wanted Lee (Ryan) to do the middle eight. And he said to them, ‘This isn’t me, this is Andy.’ And he couldn’t do it. Then I went in, one take, did it. The producer couldn’t believe it. It’s nice to be recognised.”
Obviously you have been together for a long time now, as a band. What’s the dynamic like?
“The main thing is respect and trust. I think if you’ve got that within a band, or a relationship, or a marriage, then you can go far. We never had arguments. We’ve had heated discussions, but they never turned into fisticuffs. It’s always been about the music, never about turning up or being on time. When it’s about the music – and I’m a workaholic – that’s a good argument to have.”
There must be some arguments over who’s going to be your baby’s godfather though?
“The godfather is going to be my best mate who I’ve grown up with, that’s for sure. We made that pact about 10 or 15 years ago. But for the next one, it’ll have to go to Lee, Dunc or Simon. We’ll have to go to a public poll!”
2014 is already shaping up to be a great year for you four. Is the best still yet to come from Blue?
“Of course the best is yet to come. We’ve still got to do the new album this year, and the tour… obviously it’s not going to be as much as last year, because last year because we were laying the foundations for this year. As long as we’re working, whether it’s together as a band, or touring, or performing… thanks to the success of being in Blue we can actually explore other things as well. If an acting job came up and the guys were supportive, I would do it, because it wouldn’t want to turn those things down.”
Lee (Ryan) is currently in the Celebrity Big Brother house (Channel 5). You were on ITV’s reality show I’m A Celebrity – how do you think he’s getting on?
“He’s just being Lee being Lee, for those that know him. I’ve known him 16, 17 years, and he’s got a heart of gold, and he wears his heart on his sleeve. He hates drama – sometimes even when we’re having heated discussions about the music he’ll have to walk out of the room, he’s just like that. But he’s loveable – I wouldn’t be with a band with him if it was otherwise.”
Which is the bigger challenge, I’m A Celebrity or CBB?
“I’m a TV addict, so I watch these shows, whether I’m in them or not, so I know what to expect. One thing I can’t stand is people going on about ‘I didn’t know what to expect, and I miss my goldfish, and I’ve left the iron on…’ I went to experience it, and show people that I have got a personality as well, and can get on with anyone, from lawyers to politicians, to Joe Bloggs.
"I’m a people person, and that’s what I wanted to show, and what came across… but as for which is the tougher gig? The jungle, obviously. You’re 24 hours away from home! Big Brother’s only in North West London, it’s not that bad!”
Last but not least, what can Blue fans expect from your Bridgwater show?
“It’ll be 45 minutes-worth of old Blue songs and new Blue songs, it’s what it’s all about. It’s going to be an uplifting show. We want people to go away smiling.”
• Blue plays Bridgwater's Blake Hall on January 31. To buy 'Meet and Greet' tickets at £60, or £30 standard tickets, call Strings 'n' Things on 01278-427489 or Blake Hall on 01278-422959. Tickets for Blue's Yeovil Westland show on February 1 cost £32 at www.westlandonline.co.uk