Chesney Hawkes: I'd choose fortune over fame every time

'The One and Only' singer discusses how his relationship with money has changed

Chesney Hawkes says he would chose fortune over fame every time

If offered the choice, Chesney Hawkes - whose hit song 'The One and Only' came out nearly 25 years ago - would chose fortune over fame every time.

Now 43, he discusses how his relationship with money has changed over the years since his big hit.

Your record label dropped you a few years after the success of One and Only. How did your relationship with money change?

I was always the one who would pick up the bills. I was used to that. I wanted to be that guy. Going from that to really having to think about money... I guess normally, you would not have experienced the kind of wealth I did at the age of 19, 20, 21. I didn't have to worry about money and at the age, you don't think about it. So for me having money at such a young age, where you don't really understand money and life - to have it and then to have lost it, I think it was quite profound.

What was it like, being a popstar in the 90s?

Back in those days there was a lot of money flying around. These days you have a hit and it's not the same kind of sales and money coming in. But back then, if you had a hit, people offered you money for all sort of different things. These days it's not the same kind of sales and money coming in. I get royalties now but I never really earned money from record sales from that whole Buddy's Song era until about 10 years down the line. A lot of the money went to the record label and a lot went to the film production.

Would you prefer fame or fortune if you had to choose one?

Fortune. I'd definitely take the fortune. Fame isn't real. It doesn't mean anything. One of the reasons that I moved to California is to get away from that. People have preconceptions of you when you're famous and it's not just preconceptions about what you do for a living, it's personal. They think they know you and they never do. Everyone does it - I do it, I judge famous people when I don't know them. They may not be what you think. It's a strange thing, fame. It does weird things to weird people. So I'd take the money.

Worst money mistake you've ever made?

I don't think I've made any huge financial gaffes. I've spent frivolously at times, on cars and people. But I've never made any big mistakes.

What's the best piece of financial advice you've ever been given?

Always put a percentage of money away. Whatever you can afford, just put it away like it's not there and it doesn't exist. You never know when you're going to need it.

Do you have a pension?

Yes I do. I've had a pension since I was 19. I've had the same financial adviser for more than 20 years and he told me I should start a pension when I was 19 years old. He said I wouldn't regret it in future life, so I thought, alright, why not? So I put in £100 a month, and I've carried on contributing since then. I've no idea how much is in my pot. I'm rubbish at that stuff.

If you were Chancellor, what economic policies would you change?

Jesus. If George Osborne hasn't got a clue, then what chance have I got? You can be selfish about politics, and be more capitalistic and want to protect your money, and vote Conservative - although my conscience would definitely get the better of me and I would definitely be more left-wing than right, for sure. But politics is not something that I've ever got into.

What's the one piece of financial advice you'd give your kids?

For me, it's important to show them the relationship I have with money, so: don't get hung up on it. The more you say, "I can't afford it, I'm worried about money," the more you're going to have a negative relationship with money. If you owe a bill, pay it, and smile. Even if you can't afford it. It's a philosophy that I think is really important with money. It makes you feel better about spending money. Because we all have to do it.

Chesney Hawkes will perform at the '80s VS 90s' night of Lytham Festival, 2-9 August, Lancashire. His latest album, Real Life Love, is out now and available from iTunes and

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