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Interview: Gary Barlow reveals all about new album, special duets and Take That

2 October 2020, 21:05 | Updated: 5 October 2020, 21:55

By Tom Eames

Gary Barlow speaks to Smooth's Jenni Falconer about his new album Music Played by Humans, his upcoming tour, singing with Michael Bublé and James Corden, and the future of Take That.

In our latest Virtual Coffee Break, Take That legend Gary Barlow caught up with Jenni about his exciting new album, full of duets including Barry Manilow, Beverley Knight and Michael Bublé.

Another duet on the album is with Gary's old pal James Corden. Despite a very busy schedule, Gary revealed how the duet came about, and what we can expect on the new album.

Watch the full interview above.

"It was a late addition, this was," Gary told Jenni. "I always say, 'The eleventh hour brings fine things.' So I always try to keep writing up until [the end].

"Even though I felt like I had the album, this song came about. It reminded me of those… My dad used to love Morecambe and Wise.

Read more: Gary Barlow announces new album and unveils new Michael Bublé duet

"I thought, 'You know what? Wouldn’t it be great – no one’s done a buddy song in years, like a Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis… like you’re friends but taking the micky out of one another.' And there’s only one person that you’d do that kind of a record with, and it’s James.

"So I wrote it, and I sent it to him, and he was like, 'Listen, we’re on a massive lockdown here, but book me a studio, and I’ll go and record it.'

Gary Barlow and James Corden in 2015
Gary Barlow and James Corden in 2015. Picture: Getty

"Literally, it happened in about— in 48 hours, it was kind of done and recorded. And I think it’s great. It brings a smile to my face when I hear it. It’s a lovely way to finish the album off. So that was great."

Gary also praised Beverley Knight, who also features on the album, saying: "Bev’s a great friend of mine.

"She actually toured with us in 2007 when we did the comeback tour. She’s always one of my first phone calls because, first and foremost, she is incredible. I always feel like I’m a semi-pro when I’m around her. She is just the business.

"But just a great person as well. You always want her round for dinner. You always want her on tour with you. She’s just a great person to be around.

"So whenever I’m doing anything, whether it’s crooners, whether it’s albums, whether it’s a tour, I always want Bev there. So thankfully, I’ve got her this time."

Gary has also announced plans for a 2021 tour to support the album. Speaking about the plans, he said: "Well, I’m feeling good. I’m useless at everything else, other than that I can do a little bit of music. And I think it brings a smile to people’s faces.

Read more: Gary Barlow announces 2021 UK tour - how to get tickets

"So I’m a very positive person. And through times like this, I always feel the value of being an entertainer and someone who makes music, and hopefully takes people out of the real world for a few minutes. So I’m extremely positive about it.

"But obviously, when it comes close to the dates, if we’re told we’re not allowed to do it, we just have to put the dates back. But I feel like, by then, we’ll all be in a better place. I hope we are. I pray we are. And it’ll be time to get out in front of an audience, and do what we do."

Speaking about the future of Take That, Gary said that the boys are still in contact and it's only a matter of time before they join forces once again.

Take That earlier in 2020
Take That earlier in 2020. Picture: Getty

"We talk all the time. Most weeks, I speak to at least one of them," he said. "And when they’re ready, they’ll make the call, and we’ll get back at it.

Read more: Gary Barlow's Crooner Sessions - watch all the duets

"I don’t know whether this experience will make them want to come back and tour quicker or maybe they’ll want to take longer out. I don’t know. Whenever we do band stuff, there’s this invisible thread between us all, where we get the pang at the same time. it’s like, 'Ooh, I could do with something to do with the band now' – and we all end up calling each other, and something great ends up happening.

"But, you know, it’s going nowhere. I never envisage a day where we’d be saying to people that we’re not going to do it anymore. I just don’t ever think that’s going to happen. So we’ll be back, I promise you."

Gary Barlow releases his new album Music Played By Humans on November 27. Tickets for his 2021 tour go on sale on Friday, October 9.