Paul Potts has two keys to survival in the spotlight, which he’d like to share with current Britain’s Got Talent contestant Susan Boyle: Take it day-by-day, and eat healthy.
The British tenor and 2007 winner of the variety show is great at sticking to the first. The other one? Not so much, but it’s something he’s trying to change as he jets across the globe in promotion of his second release, Passione. Accompanied by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Potts mixes classic operatic numbers and contemporary hits (Procol Harum’s A Whiter Shade of Pale is decidedly different when sung in that style).
Though Passione’s lineup had to be approved by BGT judge Simon Cowell, Potts had more input this time around into whittling down 60 potential songs onto the 10-track release than on his debut, One Chance.
“I wanted the songs to reflect many different kinds of passion,” says the Bristol native and former cellphone store manager. “They’re simple tunes, but incredibly beautiful, I think. Some of them are quite a challenge for a tenor to sing, quite rangey, which is what I wanted. We had more time to record it, so we were able to pace it better.”
And pace is something he’ll have to keep up over the next little while as he tours. Noting diabetes runs in the family, Potts says it’s important to keep the strict diet that helped him shed six kilograms since January — especially in North America where he says steakhouses abound in comparison to Europe. It’s the home-cooking Potts misses the most on the road, a link to normalcy (he gestures quotes with his fingers when he says it) between stints in the bright lights.
“I used to travel on a bike but now I travel here, there and everywhere,” he said. “I still do things the way I’ve always done. I end up doing the shopping at home — my wife hates it — and people come up to me like I’m crazy. They ask me haven’t I got someone to do my shopping for me. Well no, why should I? I’d have to make a list and be organized if I did that.”
As for a duet with Boyle, his BGT contemporary who became an overnight sensation much like he did two years before, he won’t rule it out. Though he doesn’t think that far ahead, and he advises her not to either, at least not past a performance.
“I would perform as if nothing’s going to happen after it, because otherwise you put a lot of pressure on yourself and you think, ‘This could happen, that could happen,’” he said. “You should never concentrate on the What Ifs. You should concentrate on what you have in front of you, right here and now.”
Paul Potts live
• Toronto: Elgin Theatre on July 18
- PHOTOS: What's Brewing in Steamy Hallows, the Harry Potter-Inspired Cafe19 Pictures
- PHOTOS: Frida Kahlo at the Brooklyn Museum doesn't hold back23 Pictures