|Country of origin:
|Source of Wealth:
Englishman Paul Potts, passionate about oysters, photography and singing, is humble, unassuming and branded by a childhood of hatred and violence. But the working-class prodigy with the once-damaged teeth is also the surprise winner of Britain’s Super Talent Show of 2007 and a multi-millionaire. Paul Potts got a unique opportunity and he took it.
Paul Robert Potts was born in England in 1970. He grew up with his three siblings in modest circumstances in Fishponds, a suburb of Bristol. Father Roland and mother Yvonne try to support the family financially by doing all sorts of jobs: driving the bus, checking out the supermarket, working from home. The pressure on parents is great. There is much and heated argument. Sometimes Paul gets caught between the fronts, as evidenced by some of the scars on his body. But he can’t find peace at school either. At the age of six, his classmates bullied him and inflicted physical violence on him.
Not believing that he deserves to be in the world, Paul desperately longs for a justification for his existence – and finds it in music. He develops a keen interest in opera and loves to sing for his life – an escape from his miserable everyday life and something that promises safety and joy. After completing his hated school days in Bristol, Paul switched to University College in Plymouth, southern England. He devotes himself to studying philosophy, theology and film studies and successfully completes his bachelor’s degree.
But Potts also takes the further development of his voice very seriously. His goal-oriented path leads him, among other things, to a well-known opera school in Italy. The training is not cheap, costs a few thousand and cannot be completed for lack of money. But at least Potts manages to fund part of the course with prize money he won in 1999 when he took part in British talent show My Kind of Music. He doesn’t make first place in the show, but the course has been set for the TV format “Britain’s Got Talent”, the English counterpart to Dieter Bohlen’s super talent.
Potts applies to various agencies with demo cassettes. It’s not surprising that he doesn’t get an answer. His self-esteem, which was never great, is at the bottom. Paul Potts wonders what the point of it all is and if his dream of becoming a singer has any substance at all. Nevertheless, Potts is a welcome guest on English stages and sings world-famous pieces, including those by Giuseppe Verdi. He also works in a branch of a supermarket chain, arranging shelves.
In 2001, Potts became seriously ill: the appendix was inflamed and during the operation the doctors found a benign kidney tumor. Potts also breaks his collarbone in an accident. He has a lot to deal with health-wise, has neither the time nor the strength to pursue a regular job or his passion, singing. However, when he gets better again, he marries his internet love Julie-Ann and starts working in a mobile phone shop. Still, money is getting tight. Debts in the five-digit range have piled up.
2007, Cardiff. New show acts are being sought for the first season of “Britain’s Got Talent”. There are many ambitious contenders, including Paul Potts, who actually doesn’t want to go on stage at all for fear of embarrassment. His self-doubt and the memory of earlier humiliations catch up with him. And the song he performs couldn’t be heavier: Puccini’s famous “Nessun Dorma” from the opera Turandot. But the audience is raging, the jury, sometimes moved to tears, is unanimous: Paul Potts, who is only mildly smiled at during his uncertain march onto the television stage, must get ahead.
Puccini seems to bring him luck as Paul actually makes it to the final and wins. He receives the prize money and releases his debut album, which storms to number one in the charts in over a dozen countries. Potts mutated into a YouTube star and was awarded the German Echo Prize in 2009. More albums followed over the years. They sell a total of millions. Potts also doesn’t shy away from experimenting with different styles and combines classical music with rock, pop and film soundtracks.
Based on his autobiography, the film called “One Chance” was produced, a film that does not correspond to reality in every detail. However, that doesn’t change Pott’s extraordinary résumé from whipping boy to superstar.
Paul Potts now lives in Port Talbot, Wales with his wife Julie-Ann.
In the course of his victory on the British talent show, Paul Potts was given the privilege of singing in front of a great number of celebrities. For example, he appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s American talk show and sang twice for Queen Elizabeth II. The biggest highlight for him, however, was probably meeting his idol Pavarotti. He gave him some wise advice about his breathing technique, but his judgment was not nearly as damning as it is portrayed in the film “One Chance”. Paul Potts can also look back on various demanding engagements, which paved the way for his later glamorous talent show career. Among other things, he was seen at an amateur opera in Bath, England, and was planning a tour with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. However, this tour did not take place due to his illness at the time.
Paul Potts works hard on his voice and is very critical of his singing talent. “It’s important to challenge yourself,” says he of all people, who has had to overcome a wide variety of hurdles in his life – be it health, interpersonal or financial. He is aware of “how fleeting this whole life can be.” His recipe for success: “I take every day as if it were the first, something special.”
Paul Potts thinks a lot about God and the world. He says he can’t understand why his life started out so difficult and then took such a grandiose turn. “Things happen,” he says, adding that you can’t always blame someone. After his win on Britain’s Got Talent, when some of his former childhood tormentors came forward to congratulate and even apologize to him, he responded calmly and without resentment. Still, Potts is a strong advocate for raising awareness about bullying, participating in national campaigns and speaking in schools to save others from a similar fate.