WELL-KNOWN for being the stammering dimple-cheeked runner-up of the very first Pop Idol talent show in 2002, Gareth Gates has come a long way in the last 10 years.
Having conquered his speech impediment, the 28-year-old has gone on to become a West End star as well as continuing his passion for music.
And so, on Saturday, May 11, the man himself will be heading to Peel Centenary Centre as part of his new Acoustic Tour of Britain.
And there are still a few tickets left.
Born in Bradford in 1984, Gareth Gates always knew he wanted to be a performer.
It’s well known that as a young boy he was head chorister for Bradford Cathedral Choir, even performing solo for the Queen when she visited in 1997.
What’s less well-known is that he has a natural gift for music and as well as being a singer he is an accomplished piano and guitar player.
In 2002 Gareth was famously runner up to Will Young in Britain’s first Pop Idol TV series.
He first won the hearts of the nation with his version of Flying Without Wings and went on to sing weekly on live TV until the final. Despite not winning the competition, he was soon signed up by Simon Cowell to the BMG label and has since sold 3.5 million records in the UK, released three albums and had four UK number one singles.
His first single, a cover of Unchained Melody, entered the UK Singles Chart at number one. The single went double-platinum in the UK, and was voted 2002’s The Record of the Year by ITV viewers.
It became the second best selling single of the ‘noughties’ - beaten only by his fellow Pop Idol competitor, that year’s winner Will Young with his song Evergreen.
His debut album What My Heart Wants to Say eventually earned double platinum status in the UK.
Outside of Britain Gareth was awarded Best International Male in 2003/4 from MTV Asia, MTV China and MTV Taiwan.
During this time it is well-documented that the singer continued to struggle with a stutter. He decided to take positive action and enrolled on the McGuire Programme, which changed his life both personally and professionally. From being unable to take part in a pre-recorded interview without agonising discomfort, in 2007 he appeared on the Jonathan Ross show where he finally revealed his charming and amusing side.
In 2008 he donned sequins and lycra to appear on ITV’s Dancing on Ice, coming fourth in the competition.
Following this he took on the lead role in Joseph And His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat - a role he first played at the tender age of eight.
In 2009, Sir Cameron Mackintosh gave him the part of Marius in the 25th anniversary tour of Les Miserables.
He was then asked to resume the role in the West End until June 2011, after which he returned to his music, performing up and down Britain, at clubs, theatres and festivals.
Later that year he filmed a documentary that showed the struggle faced by people with a stammer.
In BBC3’s Stop My Stutter, Gareth taught young people with a stammer the McGuire Technique, in a bid to change their lives.
Gareth, now a qualified teacher, spent four days teaching the students and talking about how this affliction shaped his own life and made him who he is today.
Since then he has continued to appear on the stage in productions of Children of Eden, Boogie Nights the Musical, Loserville (written by Busted’s James Bourne and Elliot Davis) and Legally Blonde.
And now he is on the road and behind a mic again.
The Peel show starts at 8pm. The support act will be Alanna Mclean. Tickets cost £20 and are available from Celtic Gold, Peel, Shakti Man, Ramsey, Peter Norris Music, Douglas, and Thompson Travel, Port Erin or at www.centenarycentre.com