Cliff Richard: I love The X Factor but artists nowadays aren't supported the way we were
"They recognised you as a person they feel they could get success with and they worked on that until you found yourself"
Cliff Richard has enjoyed a career that's spanned more than 50 years and sold hundreds of millions of records. In Britain he's considered a national treasure, but the music industry has changed a great deal since he first started out. Nowadays, young talent often bids for fame on televised talent contests – an idea Sir Cliff is in full support of.
"I love the whole idea of The X Factor and what it's done – it's given us a lot of great singers," he told RadioTimes.com. "Even the losers are good singers. When you think of One Direction, all five of them lost The X Factor and they're the biggest boy band in the world."
But while Richard has sustained a career that's lasted over half a century – he had his first hit Move It in 1958 – he is aware that, while artists nowadays may have the talent to achieve a similar longevity, they don't always have the backing of the record companies.
"They're not supported the way we were. My first record was not a number 1, it was a number 2. My second was a 7, third was a 9, then there was 17. In the meantime, I'm thinking it's all over and the producers were saying, 'No, don't worry. We'll find you the right song.' Living Doll – numero uno. But I had to wait five records and the difference was they supported you. They recognised you as a person they felt they could get success with and they worked on that until you found yourself."
Would he like to step over to the other side and offer some guidance on a show like The Voice or The X Factor? "Being a mentor is quite a good idea, really, but it can't just be an overnight thing. I'm not sure I'd put myself up for it because I'm still too busy looking after myself.
"If in fact I was going to retire, that would be a good way of keeping your finger in the pie. Coming alongside somebody and advising them, actually giving some good advice – I might be quite good at that because I've been through the mill, I've done things that haven't really worked and I've done things that have succeeded so there will be something I could share. But at this moment in time, I don't think I could give myself to it. I'm too busy trying to make something happen for myself."
Take a look at the full interview below...
'Cliff Richard – Still Reelin' and a-Rockin' – Live in Sydney' is out on DVD, Blu-Ray and Special Edition now