UK singer Peter Andre tells us why Dubai is like a second home, being friends with Chris Brown and why he will always love 'Mysterious Girl'
It’s 11am on a sunny Dubai morning when Peter Andre walks into a luxury rooftop suite at Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa. Admittedly, he isn’t staying in the gigantic three bedroom suite which features a dining room, living room, terrace balcony and enough closets to make it look like a changing room at Bloomingdales.
Instead he has opted for a less opulent room in the hotel and is in Dubai to perform at Mixtape Rewind’s latest concert at Emirates Golf Club on Friday November 21. Arriving with his brother and family friend, Peter immediately greets us while apologising for being late (his radio interviews ran over). Two air kisses and a smile later, all is forgiven and we are seated around the dining table for breakfast so that ‘we can all be friends and get to know each other’ in Andre’s words. From the get-go it’s very easy to see why Mr Peter Andre is considered one of the most loveable pop stars and TV personalities in the UK. Everyone from teens, mums and grans have fallen for his smooth-talking ways. After an hour with the 41-year-old, he managed to win us over too.
Welcome back to Dubai Peter, you’ve been many times before. What keeps bringing you back? I used to come to Dubai before you were allowed to buy property, so I’m talking 15 years ago or so. I remember my first time coming and I was invited to someone’s house where they used to host parties. I was young and excited and I walked in and Paul Young and Rod Stewart were singing, so it was a big thing for me. It was the first time I was in a room with these people. It was all very casual and we were looked after very well. So we made some good friends here and they took us around and showed us Dubai as it was then. So before it became a touristy thing, they took us to a true Arabian nights experience and I fell in love with it.
The video of Mysterious Girl is memorable to say the least. Looking back what are your thoughts on it now? Now I think a person looks cooler when they wear a suit and a tie on stage instead of walking around with your shirt off. I remember when I was about 15, every guy wanted to have Bruce Lee’s body. And you had people like Marky Mark and so I turned around to the record company and said, ‘There’s no one showing their bodies in videos for pop music, they are doing it for rap and in movies.’ They told me I didn’t need to do it but I wanted to. It was the only thing I was adamant about and it worked. The videos are what made the song a big hit. So now I won’t walk around the beach with my shirt off because even though I feel alright and I’m 41, I’m never going to be what I was like then.
Do you ever feel like that’s the only song you are known for? You can’t always choose which song you are remembered for. In the overall, it is a great summer song so even though it’s very simple words, it’s a feel good song.
What have you been up to recently? I have a Christmas album coming out and it’s very different from anything I’ve ever done. I’m singing deeper, so it’s not Michael Buble style, it’s very old school like Bing Crosby. We have gospel singers on it and it’s very 1930s with a big band.
What’s your favourite Christmas song? I like ‘White Christmas’ by Bing Crosby and I love George Michael’s, ‘Last Christmas.’
Do you prefer a sunny Christmas or a white Christmas? There’s nothing like a cold Christmas. In England you wake up and cook a turkey, everything’s warm and you sit around the fire. In Australia (where Peter lived for years) it’s really strange because you have cold turkey sandwiches on the beach.
Your love for coffee developed into a new business venture. Tell us about New York Coffee Club. It’s a family business in the sense that me and my brothers have always been passionate about coffee. I was always fascinated by good coffee, and living in Australia you got some great ones. Great espressos, there is a lot of Italian coffees and they really knew what they were doing. So when I went to some places and tried their coffees, I didn’t like it. So I was thinking, ‘I want good coffee’ so we just did it as an idea. We went to New York and we went to one of the early Starbucks and my brother Michael just said that we should do a New York style café. He said that each place should be a Manhattan store, one should be a little Italy and a Soho. I’ve also added a children’s area and it’s done very well. We’ve also gone mobile, so we do all the festivals in the UK. I want to bring it to Dubai, I’ve met with people who have shops at The Dubai Mall. But it’s not just as easy to get a shop in a mall and expect it to do well. So I’m shouting out to anyone who wants to do this with us.
Your daughter Amelia will be one in January. It took you quite a while to actually name her after she was born. Yeah and people kept saying, ‘Oh you are saving it for a magazine interview’ but it wasn’t at all. We (along with partner Emily) literally got stuck. So we asked my kids to choose but they named our dog Porridge so I thought, “Maybe this isn’t a good idea.” But they came up with good names and then we settled on Amelia.
You did a song, ‘Kid’ for the Disney movie Mr. Peabody & Sherman. What do your kids think of that? That’s where they think dad is cool to them because he gets to meet all the Disney characters and Dreamworks. I’m doing something with Disney at the moment and they are so excited to meet Mickey and Minnie and I play about at home and pretend I’m on the phone to Mickey. They aren’t silly but after a while they are like, ‘Oh maybe he is talking to Mickey.’ It’s very cool.
You have received a lot of flack from the press recently after you made a comment on the TV show Celebrity Juice about being embarrassed because you have done an Iceland advert. Anyone that knows me, knows that I’m one of these people that is always embarrassed to see myself on TV. I always have been, I won’t watch it and I cringe. So with Iceland, I am very proud of the brand, I have been working with them for years and it’s actually been a lot longer than people think and we plan to work together for the next however many years. So I get embarrassed at myself and that’s what I meant. The show is also a bit tongue-and-cheek too.
We often see you being pretty clumsy on TV. What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve done recently? I nearly stapled my hand to the wall on 60 Minute Makeover (UK TV show) and I do lots of embarrassing things. I nearly knocked out Linda Barker (TV presenter) which wasn’t very nice after I knocked down a wall.
What’s the craziest thing a fan has ever done? In Germany once, two girls hid in the cupboard in my room, they got in when the cleaners were there.
Plans for 2015? I want to do a really good soul album next. Like old R&B. Strangely I became friends with Chris Brown recently when I was in America. We were recording in the same studio and we just kept going into each other’s studio to listen to each other’s music. It was really bizarre so maybe watch this space in the future.
So are you and Chris Brown friends? We don’t like text each other all the time but occasionally we get in touch which is kind of cool.
Peter Andre’s Top Five Dubai
Favourite place: Buddah Bar Favourite Hotel: Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa, JBR Favourite bar: Embassy Favourite waterpark: Atlantis Aqua adventure Favourite mall: The Dubai Mall