IT’S more than four years since Edinburgh’s Craig Chalmers donned his dark blue coat of not so many colours for the BBC talent search Any Dream Will Do.
Finishing in the Top 5, he went on to fulfil his dream of playing the title role in the UK tour of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Later this month, the 29-year-old returns to that role, but first there’s a chances to see him in Aladdin at The Alhambra in Dunfermline, where he gets to play another of his dream roles.
“I know it sounds cliched but Aladdin is my favourite Disney film. My mum and dad took me to the cinema to see it when I was a young lad and I remember loving the songs. That was when I first started on the path to singing,” he beams.
“I was watching the DVD the other night and it really is a piece of genius. It’s great to be playing this part after loving the film for so many years.”
Although Any Dream Will Do made Chalmers a household name, he had worked hard for his break, singing in clubs from the age of 17, appearing on Pop Idol and working with male dance troupe, G Force.
“Showbusiness is so competitive, you’ve got to have belief in yourself but also realise that there are times when you will be knocking on doors trying to get yourself out there,” he says.
“I’ve been lucky. I haven’t stopped working since I was 17, but if you don’t work hard and have your head screwed on you won’t get anywhere.
“It’s crazy when I think about the last 12 years - the gigs, Pop Idol, back doing gigs, albeit on a bit more money, then Any Dream Will Do. I don’t think I could do it all over again to be honest. I look back and wonder, ‘How did I ever have the balls to do that?’
“I’m glad I got through Any Dream Will Do relatively unscathed. You look at X Factor now and talent isn’t the main thing any more, it’s about the judges, the drama and the stories. It’s a soap, a bit of a circus. There is no danger that I would be going in for a show like that.”
Joseph, then, changed his life, but the secret is to keep on learning, he insists.
“It’s great to have lasted. You see a lot of people come and go, especially if they come from reality telly to start off with - there’s so much to learn. The Joseph experience was perfect for me. Being able play a leading man for three years allowed me to grow up a lot... that whole experience of getting on stage night in night out (I think I did 1500 performances as Joseph), carrying the pressure of weekly reviews, setting a good example to the cast and keeping yourself healthy enough to be on stage ten times a week.”
The singer, who attended Carricknowe Primary and Craigmount High, left Joseph just over a year ago after what he describes as “a really, horrible, horrible time” during which his mother, Elizabeth, died.
“That was a horrendous time. I was in Malvern at the time and having to be flown up to Edinburgh to go and see mum, then flying back down to do the show, and then fly back to see mum again. As you can imagine, that is all going on but you still have to go on stage with a dazzling smile, while your mum is seriously ill. If you can get through things like that in life...”
Chalmers says he was simply ‘exhausted’ when he left Joseph. He married his sweetheart Jennifer Smith in the Capital a short time later.
“The only reason I stopped was that I needed a break. I wanted time to plan the wedding. I’m much happier these days. I’ve met the girl I want to spend my life with and we celebrated a year of marriage in September.”
Laughing he adds, “Gone are the days of chasing the girls. I’m hitting the big 3-0 now so I’ve got to keep slapping on the moisturiser to keep young for these roles.”
Aladdin, Alhambra, Dunfermline, Wednesday-December 24, various times, £12.50-£16.50, 01383-740 384