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'Turning down a contract with Simon Cowell seemed the obvious thing do to': Pop Idol's Darius Campbell talks about his career

June 25, 2014
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Darius Campbell first found fame when he was a finalist on Pop Idol, which would eventually become The X Factor. Despite coming third in the competition, Darius was offered a record deal with Simon Cowell, but famously stunned fans when he turned it down. As he takes the leading role in new West End musical From Here to Eternity, Darius spoke to HELLO! Online about why he chose to turn down Simon Cowell's offer, and about his upcoming projects. Scroll below for the full interview with Darius.

Darius Pop Idol

Shows like The X Factor have taken on such a huge scale – would you have auditioned if it was that format at the time? 

I was lucky because when I auditioned, nobody knew what Pop Idol would be, or that it would become The X Factor. All I cared about was getting a record deal and releasing songs I’d written. When Simon Cowell offered me a contract and I turned it down, it seemed like the obvious thing to do. I understand why people thought I was mad to do it, but if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have a number one with Colourblind. I would just have been doing covers and then nobody would have heard of me ever again. I’m so lucky to be able to do what I love without having to beat to the drum of having someone else telling you what to wear and how to act.

You tweeted about Britain’s Got Talent winners Collabro – were you a big fan? 

I think the UK is very good at being critical, so whenever I have the chance I always try and be as supportive as I can to any performer that’s trying to make it. It’s difficult because so many people audition and perform, and never get to see the light of day. I feel very grateful to be one of the lucky ones who’s been able to have a career in an area I love and am passionate about.

Do you still write and produce songs? 

I’m working on my third album right now, between London and Los Angeles. The music is inspired by an older era, somewhere between Bruno Mars and Lana Del Rey. We also went out to Prague to record the Czech Philharmonic to do the strings, so it’s been amazing to work with some of the best international musicians on the circuit.

What made you want to get involved in the musical version From Here to Eternity

It’s one of the most amazing war stories of all time, so it was the most incredible project to be a part of. It’s based on a true story of the men and women who lived, loved and died during Pearl Harbour. I play Warden, an amazing man. He was a heroic and flawed figure who sacrificed everything for love and the safety of his men.

Darius Campbell From here to eternity

It’s quite dramatic and gritty at times – were there any parts you found particularly challenging? 

You have to really hit pause and try and put yourself in the shoes of a soldier that was facing harsh realities in a very different era. I researched the role and read the book, written by James Jones, to understand Warden’s motivations. He fell in love with his superior’s wife, which was a crime punishable by 20 years in military prison. You think that when you’re fighting a war, everyone’s on the same side, but it was never as clear cut as that. I found it difficult to read the passages that were quite explicit about the treatment of these men.

Did you draw on any of the performances from the original film? 

I tried not to. I think the Frank Sinatra version didn’t show the gritty and tragic parts of the story, I think it was a very glossy, Hollywood version. We didn’t watch the movie until we opened because it’s so iconic and we didn’t want to be informed by it, we wanted to prepare something much grittier, and include the more gruesome details of the story. From Here To Eternity is released in UK cinemas on 3rd July by Omniverse Vision. To book tickets, please go to:

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