Brian Harvey – the man, the story, the truth

Heidi met Brian and talked all things Eurovision and East 17. If an East 17 reunion is on the cards, God help us all. This is the it, the full interview, uncensored, uncut, for you.

So, you’re competing to represent the UK at this year’s Eurovision – That may have surprised some people, how did it come about?

Yeah it’s mad init? Well, what did you think?

I guess the perception of it has changed in the last few years…

Yeah a lot of people have asked me if I don’t find it cheesy but I mean, the last one I watched was in ‘81 and they were ripping each others skirts off! But I think in the last few years perceptions have changed.

And anyway, the way I look at it is, I’m supposed to be dead now, I’m not supposed to be here. The car accident was so awful, and I feel so lucky. Something like that makes you asses your life. And you know, I had been a bit wonky – the way I was living, because of the pressure I was under. And then I went to the Jungle (‘I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!’ in 2004) and I had that opportunity, and then my Nan dies. So I was having a hard time. I was being told, ‘you’ll never get back out there, you better start thinking about doing something else’. And that was just when I was discovering who I was, and I was saying well, no, this is what I want to do.

I really think that the accident was a kick up the arse from the man above, because these things happen for a reason, I was being tested. I go under a car out of the blue, after two suicide attempts – it’s like someone was saying, ‘Alright, you want to take your life, well have this, see how it feels to fight for your life’. But I’m not a bad person and I’ve learned a lot in the last 10 years.

Of course I’m nervous about getting back out there but they’re normal nerves, I’m excited about it. How much more do you have to do to make a comeback?! I mean I almost died. To come through that and now have ‘Making your mind up’, it’s happened because I’m more at peace, I’m not forcing it. And I’m happier. I don’t ever want to go back to that, the depression. To wake up in the morning with that feeling hanging over you. If that’s what Robbie is going through then I feel for him. I’d rather lose an arm than go back to that.

Did the accident affect your voice?

Up until the reunion last year I thought I may not be able to sing again. I had a tracheotomy when I was in hospital, with a tube stuck in my throat for two weeks, and Emma (B) asked if it could be removed because I would want to sing again. But the vocal cords weren’t damaged, and when you get the buzz back for singing, the voice follows.

What do you think of the other entries? Who would you vote for?

They’re alright, I met them all the other day. Justin Hawkins and Beverlie Brown is a grower, but not my cup of tea, Big Brovaz is sounding pretty good, Liz McClarnon’s song reminds me of a mix between Kylie and Dusty Springfield, Scooch is classic Eurovision, and Cyndi has a great voice. I’d vote for Big Brovaz.

I read that East 17 will be touring and releasing new material, is that right?

Yeah, we’ve got plans to tour, maybe not until September time. I mean we started it off with the gig in Shepards Bush last year with Tony, but that all went a bit pear shaped. I feel East 17 have unfinished business. I want to record another East 17 album. The whole thing got finished too quick, just when we were discovering who we were and what we wanted to do.

And there’s a lot of fans out there, not so much here but in Europe, you know the last few years me, Terry and John have been going out and playing places…like Russia and Romania… and these are to 20,000 to 30,000 crowds.

That’ll help for votes at Eurovision then…

Yeah, we may well not be one of your ‘null points’ entries, because we’ve got support in France, Germany, Helsinki where the contest’s being held…I mean you wake up in the morning and think, ‘people know who we are in Russia!’ You don’t see it when you’re in a bubble, while you’re starting out; it takes time to sink in.

Speaking of fans, do you know that last week on Radio 1 Wrexham band Gwildor covered ‘Stay’ in tribute to the fact East 17 are reformed?

Really? Did they murder it like Girls Aloud? I saw that on TV, I heard about 10 different notes before they got to the right one!

Haha NO! Their version was really good you should check it out!

Yeah man.

So no definite plans for East 17 until you see what happens with the contest?

Yeah, I don’t wana jump the gun, I’m going to take it easy and see what happens. If I win, I win. If not, it’s not the end of the world.

Will the guys from the band be phoning in for you?

Yeah they said they’re going to come down and support me, they better turn their phones off though! I don’t wana get kicked out!

Your song ‘I Can’ is a positive message as a Eurovision entry, with a ‘we can win it’ attitude, but it also seams to represent where you are at right now – what does the song mean to you?

It’s very personal, even though I didn’t write it, it feels like I did. I couldn’t have asked for a better record, things are all falling into place.

Will you be using any kind of fancy dress to try to out-do last years winners Lordi?!

No! No gimmicks. There won’t be any ripping off of pants to reveal union jack undies! Just me and a piano and five backing singers, and hopefully a good performance.

The UK’s last win was 10 years ago so maybe it’s our turn again! Good Luck!

Alright mate thanks.

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