Antony Costa remembers a golden era of Woolworths, HMV and Live and Kicking as boyband Blue prepare to take the stage at Ipswich Regent tonight
- Credit: Archant
The last time entertainment writer Wayne Savage spoke to Antony Costa, they were on a bus in the middle of winter and the singer was dressed as Jack, green tights and all, from Jack and The Beanstalk, the pantomime at the Ipswich Regent that year.
The pair spoke again this week because Costa is back in town with Blue -18 months after the band last performed in town and set to perform at the Regent this evening.
Costa and Blue rose to fame at the start of the last decade - a time when boybands made their name on shows like SMTV Live and Live and Kicking.
“Without a doubt there needs to be kids’ programmes on Saturday mornings,” says the father-of-one.
“I used to live for getting our schedules back in the day... ‘When are we doing SMTV’ or ‘when are we doing Live and kicking - we’re doing it three weeks in a row that’s amazing’. Try getting on the same show three weeks in a row now. It’s all changed, which is a shame but you’ve got to move with the times.”
Millions of followers on social media and hits on YouTube hits are great, but it doesn’t mean they’re all going to buy your latest album he says.
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“If that was the case everyone would be doing it and everyone would be multi-millionaires. I still get people coming up to me to this day going ‘I used to love Blue, when you boys getting back together’ and I’m like ‘we’ve been back together five years’, do you know what I’m saying?
“There’s so much more people know about these days, there’s YouTube, the internet. When we started there was Woolworths and HMV. It’s changed so much so you have to keep getting that point across that Blue are still together, we’re doing an album.”
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New album Colours, out now, has six new tracks. It’s good to get new stuff out there, but it’s risky too.
“It’s new songs people have never heard of before hence you have to tour to promote the album. There are no music shows anymore you can go on (like) Top of the Pops... how can we be a great country like Great Britain and not be able to promote the talent we’ve got?”
This tour, says Costa, is all about selling the album, getting their music out to the public.
A few gapsside from him added a guest stint on Holby City to his acting credits, Simon Webbe cost me £2 in the office pool by not winning Strictly Come Dancing, Lee Ryan made a much-publicised appearance in Celebrity Big Brother and Duncan James competed on Dancing with Ice - to name a few of their non-Blue activities.
Blue have been together 14 years, minus a few gaps here and there while pursuing solo projects - he’s added to his acting CV with a guest stint on Holby City, Simon Webbe cost me £2 in the office pool by not winning Strictly Come Dancing, Lee Ryan made a much-publicised appearance in Celebrity Big Brother and Duncan James competed on Dancing on Ice.
They knew it was the right time to reunite for another album.
“We were really excited, it’s what we love doing. Colours is very soulful, very old school Blue as we like to call it now because I think the first album was very pop, RnB based with a Motown edge. I think this album is definitely what’s it all about.
“We only had like a month-and-a-half to record it. We’re quick learners mate, we like to get in quick and don’t look back. Like these people who take five years (to make) another album it’s like ‘oh, really’. We’ve done this for years now, if we didn’t know what we’re doing by now then we shouldn’t be in the business.”
Costa says Blue - who shot to fame in 2001 with All Rise, had three number one albums, collaborated with Elton John and Stevie Wonder and even represented the UK in 2011 at the Eurovision Song Contest - are a family. They’ve known each other since they were teenagers and have been through a lot together.
“I’m not going to go ‘we spend every day (together)’ because we don’t, we’ve got our own lives; families and stuff, different things we wanted to do on the side. We’re not rock and roll anymore but when we do get back together that magic is still there, that banter, that fun.
“If there was no bond there, none of us would be in a band because it’s all about having that strong unit... I think Blue have got that when we perform or are in the studio, we’ve got - and I know I keep saying it – that magic.”
Blue come to the Ipswich Regent tonight. This year also sees them hit TV screens in a new ITV reality series following their attempt to run a bar in Ibiza. I look forward to asking him it goes the next time Blue are in town.