Ruislip & Eastcote & Northwood Gazette

I don’t want to hide from my grief anymore



MATT GOSS is starting a new chapter.

After an 11-year residency in Vegas, he’s back in the UK – with a new home (in London’s Kensington), a new solo album (The Beautiful Unknown), a whole new team, and a place on the upcoming series of the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, of course.

“It is a big deal,” says Matt. “It’s everything, starting again. It’s a purge, it’s a reboot. It’s facing all of those things.”

At 53, this isn’t the first time his career’s seen seismic shifts. Just a teenager when he soared to global stardom in Bros, alongside his twin brother Luke, Matt was an Eighties pop sensation. When the band split in 1992, he was barely into his 20s when the next phase as a solo artist began, eventually leading to Vegas in 2009 (“I only went thinking I’d be there a year”).

But behind the platinum-selling albums and shows, there’s been a lot of pain. At the height of Bros’ success, his 18-year-old sister Carolyn was killed by a drunk driver (in their 2018 documentar­y, After The Screaming Stops, the brothers talked about being told the news right before going into a TV talk show appearance). And in 2014, he lost his mother Carol to cancer, after caring for her during her final months.

Getting to this current point of “purge” and “reboot” has involved a number of things – including grief.

“I’ve been talking about wanting to come back for a long time. There’s a familiarit­y here that just resonates with me, and the way I’m received in this country, it’s like I’m part of the family, and that’s a really wonderful and much-needed experience,” he reflects.

Vegas had been a golden ticket, but : “Eleven years is a very long run to have a residency and do four shows a week. Emotionall­y, physically, that was starting to feel a bit different. I also knew that I wanted to live more. I wanted to go play frisbee in the park, play football, walk my dog. I want to be able to have a local pub and friends I can connect with like that, just a different kind of lifestyle.”

“Culturally, whenever I came back lately, the last couple of years, I’ve felt much more of a pull,” Matt continues. “And obviously, I lost my mother, and I think I avoided that space. Part of the process for me coming home was hanging out with her a lot. The biggest compliment she ever gave me was how I was her son, but also her best friend.

“I’ve landed enough times in the UK since her passing to actually take that reactionar­y kind of grief now.

I’ve made a decision that she’s with me constantly, and I don’t want to hide as much from that stuff anymore. And that’s what I think I did – I ploughed through everything and didn’t address it. And now it’s time to say, ‘I want to go and be with my thoughts in a park in London’.”

Matt comes across calm, engaged, a deep thinker. He isn’t hiding that there’s been a lot of hurt but there’s a lot of hope and optimism too.

“I think there’s this guilt of happiness – even on a superficia­l level, it’s OK to want things. It’s OK to say I’m going to work hard for that. I always hoped we could go into a more elevation kind of culture, where we encourage success, it’s a good word, and you might not always be successful, but have a go at least.”

This ‘guilt of happiness’ is something he’s been working through personally. He even recorded a podcast on it. “It’s basically about how you’re feeling guilt when you’re happy. And that maybe somebody else in your life isn’t [feeling happy], or when you’ve lost somebody, thinking: why do I have the right to be happy? I think that’s where I want to say, ‘you do have the right to be happy’.

“That guilt surrounded me for quite a few years when Mum left. There were moments when I was really happy and then you’d have this almighty crash of guilt because you had a good day.”

Despite being a bit “nervous”, Matt’s “looking forward” to Strictly.

“I have a kind of strange excitement as well,” he says. “Usually, I’m the one critiquing, making sure the dancers are right and the sound’s good. Now I’m about to be the pupil. I’m looking forward to that place where I’m there to learn. And hopefully, if I’m able to stay a long time, some of my personalit­y can come out in the dances as well.”

Matt Goss’ new single, Are You Ready, produced in associatio­n with Lewisham Records and Orbital Digital, is available on Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music and other platforms

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 ?? ?? Matt and Luke at the Brit Awards in 2019
Matt and Luke at the Brit Awards in 2019
 ?? ?? Matt with Luke, left, in Bros
Matt with Luke, left, in Bros
 ?? ?? Matt Goss
Matt Goss

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