British boy band Blue: ‘We shouldn’t have split at the peak of our career’

Brit boy band Blue are back after a break-up. The band is to perform in Dubai on Friday.

From left, Duncan James, Antony Costa, Simon Webbe and Lee Ryan of the British band Blue. Courtesy Blue
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Remember Blue? The Brit boy band that scored early-Noughties hits with All Rise, Too Close and Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word before splitting in 2005?

After middling solo careers, the quartet reunited in 2011 to flunk the Eurovision Song Contest (finishing 11th) and join fellow has-beens 5ive, Atomic Kitten and B*Witched on reality-TV show, The Big Reunion. On Friday, they hit Dubai with a performance at The Emirates Golf Club. Member Duncan James talks about the band's varied career.

The Dubai gig falls in a break from your stint touring the UK as a cast member in the musical Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Performing with Blue must be a walk in the park compared to that?

Yeah, especially a musical like Priscilla, which has completely taken me out of my comfort zone and stripped away all my masculinity – made me have shaved legs, wear a wig, high heels on. Very, very different.

Does that make some of your earlier fashion statements seem pretty tame?

I think we were all pretty cool back in the day, we just loved a leather jacket and a white T-shirt. We were like the cool kids. It was my hairstyle I look back and cringe at.

So you’re in Blue. What colour would you describe your mood today?

My mood today would be white, because white is a nice pure and colour. I went and had some healing done a few days ago, I had all my chakra [energy centre] balanced and all this stuff done on me. I’m wearing white today, in a room that is completely white.

Glad to hear you’re feeling aligned. Does it ever feel weird to be a 37-year-old father in a boyband?

I don’t think we’re a boy band anymore, we’re more like a man band. We’re all men, we’re not carting round the stage with all those little boyband moves like we used to, we more stand there and sing now. I think that’s nice – one thing Blue’s always had is a vocal ability.

What went wrong with the last album? [Blue were dropped by their record label Sony in April after fifth album Blue sold just 4,000 copies in the first week of release].

The type of album we did was very grown-up, very middle of the road. We did a lot of covers of old songs from the 1950s and 1970s. Getting songs played on the radio now is very, very hard. Everything in life happens for a reason. You have ups and downs to humble you. Life is about balance, and if you except that balance in yourself, then you can be happy.

Do you regret the six years you spent apart?

I don’t regret anything. In hindsight we probably shouldn’t have split up at the peak of our career, but we had reasons why we had a break, and reasons why we needed to go our separate ways. It wasn’t the path that was meant to be. Once you accept it you can live in harmony with yourself.

How was that harmony shattered by Blue Go Mad in Ibiza – the spoof reality-TV show where you managed a bar, but weren’t told all the punters were actors?

We had such fun over there. We thought it was the best thing we’d ever done. We really worked hard and really genuinely got into it. So when we were told it was all a massive set-up, we were a little bit discouraged.

What fake job would you like next?

We’re actually in talks to do something else for another season, so I’m just going to leave it at that.

Anything else exciting on the horizon?

We've got a 15 Years of Blue greatest hits album coming out next year.

Another one? You’ve already had five greatest hits albums such as Best of Blue, 4Ever Blue, The Platinum Collection, The Collection and Ultimate Blue.

We’ve only had one – and that was a best of, not a greatest hits.

• Blue perform live at Emirates Golf Club, Dubai, on Friday, November 13, doors 6pm. Tickets Dh240 from