With a number one single to his name, a Wembley gig and all those Cher Lloyd rumours, you’d be forgiven for thinking boy band sensation Nathan Sykes is older than his years.
But very secretly, he’s a typical teenager who misses his mum, as Daniel Pountney found out
NATHAN Sykes hasn’t got time for a girlfriend. “I’m just too busy, it’s a nightmare,” he says, before exploding with laughter.
“It’s not really . . . I’m very happy being single.”
As a 17-year-old in the country’s hottest boy band, flying around the world and playing to thousands of screaming girls, it’s not difficult to understand why.
Nathan is living the dream.
He joined The Wanted around a year ago and since then he has been catapulted to fame.
The band scored a number one with their first single All Time Low and followed it up with the number two hit Heart Vacancy.
They have built up a huge fan base with over 15 million plays of their videos on YouTube, and over 450,000 fans on Facebook.
Their self-titled debut album stormed into the top five, they have played at Wembley in front of 70,000 people and filmed their last video in Coney Island, New York.
“In the last few months things have just exploded,” says the teenager who seems confident beyond his years.
“I can only describe the first chart success as a relief because we had worked really hard and it felt like everything was resting on a good chart place.
“To get to number one was amazing.”
Nathan went to Longlevens Junior School, then turned down a place at The Crypt for a scholarship at Sylvia Young Theatre School in London before returning to Ribston Hall High School for the sixth form.
Unsurprisingly, he was studying drama and music. He was just weeks into starting at Ribston when he learned he was one of five boys to make up The Wanted.
“I’ve been performing and studying music all of my life. I feel lucky that I’ve always known what I wanted to do,” he says.
“If The Wanted hadn’t happened, I know that I would have still ended up in the industry – perhaps in management or casting – it has always been my passion.”
Now that it has happened for him, Nathan says that life as a pop star is better than he ever imagined.
“Six months ago I was in the sixth form and now I’m going around the world and having the time of my life,” he says. “It is hard work though. People only see the glitz and the glamour when we appear on something like X-Factor but they don’t know about the 10am to midnight rehearsals.
“There’s a lot of travelling around too so you’re away from your family and friends for long periods of time.”
As if to illustrate the point, he’s conducting the interview from a service station on the way from a gig in Manchester to a signing in another town.
“I’m outside a Burger King and a KFC but I’ve gone for the healthy option of a Starbuck’s pannini,” he says. He doesn’t want to divulge which of his bandmates – Max, Siva, Jay, and Tom – opted for burgers and chips.
The time spent away from home is particularly hard for Nathan as the youngest member of the group. The other lads are aged between 20 and 22.
“The hardest part when I see my mum is having to tell her it’s time for me to go,” he says. “There’s never enough time and that’s difficult. But it’s part of the job.”
He’s coming home to Gloucester for 10 days at Christmas though and he can’t wait.
“It’ll be the longest amount of time I have spent at home since last Christmas,” he says.
His mates from Ribston, to their credit, have made an effort to stay in touch.
“One of them texted me the other day to say his mum was singing All Time Low in the bath and that he hated me,” he says. “I still find it funny that people are listening to my voice on the radio and spending money on my music.”
He’s also surprised at the stories he sees about The Wanted in the media.
“They show us at parties and link us to all of these girls, it’s weird,” he says.
The one rumour about Nathan that is flying around is that he’s courting the affections of X-Factor finalist Cher Lloyd, left. Her family comes from Malvern, just over the Gloucestershire border.
“She’s lovely but really, when would we see each other?” he says. “I’ve met her three times on the X-Factor shows.”
Nathan was a keen viewer of the final of the show last weekend and even though Simon Cowell’s One Direction didn’t win it, he knows they are about to become the new boy band on the block.
“There’s room for all of us,” he says. “They do different things to us and JLS are different again.”
The Wanted’s latest single, Lose My Mind, is released on Boxing Day and Nathan says it’s an upbeat number.
“It’s about a girl who you can’t get out of your head and it’s starting to annoy you,” he says. “Some people say it’s a bit like Kings Of Leon.”
By the time it goes on sale, he’ll be back in Gloucester spending quality time with his friends and family.
“I don’t mind when people spot me and want to say hi or take a picture,” he says.
“It’s superb because it means they care about what we’re doing. It’s a good thing. I don’t know why some celebrities get funny about it.”
So if you spot one of the hottest names in pop music on the streets of his home city, don’t be shy to say hello.