HIS debut X Factor single was the third-fastest selling of all time. Eight years on, SHAYNE WARD has split from Simon Cowell, starred in Rock Of Ages, danced on the ice, and is taking his music in a new direction. This Valentine’s Day the firm ladies’ favourite plays Bridgwater’s Blake Hall.

Entertainment reporter DAISY BLACKLOCK spoke to Shayne to find out more...

You’re coming to Bridgwater on Valentine’s Night! Are you feeling the pressure?

“I’m kind of hoping it’s not a singles night, otherwise I’m in trouble! I think it’ll be nice actually, I’ve never played on Valentine’s Day before.

"I’m not sure whether there are other artists playing there on the night as well.

"The fans kind of know the show that I put on – it’s very interactive with the audience. I think I’ll pick a few couples out from the audience and dedicate a song to them.”

It’s no secret you’ve a very dedicated female fan base! Are you worried there’ll be a few fellers a bit grumpy you’re stealing their thunder?

“You’d be surprised actually by how many single guys, and even the ones in relationships, who want to come to my shows. I have always had a very strong gay fan base too.

"So yes, while I do have a lot of female fans, it’s always been nice to have the mix of fans in between.”

So will your Bridgwater show be all about the hits, or are you going to be airing new material?

“It’ll be all of the hits that everyone who’s come to the last couple of shows will know. I am in the studio at the moment, but I can’t reveal anything…”

Is it a new album, a project?

“It’s both – a new approach. Being independent now has been liberating for me. There’s so much more time to experiment and to put my own stamp on stuff without someone above me saying the word ‘no’.

"It’s a brand new album, we’re just going to test the water. I’m not going to reveal anything, but I like the idea of just releasing a new track one day, unannounced.”

You collaborated with Irish folk duo, Foster and Allen, to cover the song ‘Galway Girl’ in December – as the anchor on Irish broadcaster RTE’s Late Late Show said, it was “one of the most unlikely combinations we’ve come across...”

“It’s more or less taken from my heritage, as my grandparents and great grandparents were all from Ireland, and I grew up with Foster and Allen – I’ve listened to them all my life.

"We just met for a coffee, and before we knew it, I went over to Ireland and recorded the song and the video in one day. I didn’t even know we’d recorded a video!

"What I like about it is that not a lot of fans were expecting it. Sometimes I like doing more of a personal thing.”

You announced your split with Faye McKeever (fiancée and girlfriend of 9 years) quietly over Twitter this month. The fans must have been very supportive.

“They’ve been brilliant. I kind of avoided Twitter anyway, but they’ve been great with her as well. That’s what I love about the fans in general. You’re very lucky as an artist or person to have a variety of other people caring for you and showing their support for you if you need it. It’s a nice feeling.”

You turn 30 this year! Are you dreading it or looking forward to it?

“Yes, thank you for that! Obviously I don’t like getting older, but I don’t think I’m dreading it you know. I’m sharing it with my twin sister, Emma. I think it’ll be nice to celebrate it together.”

Can you believe it’s now eight years since you won The X Factor?

“It’s crazy you know. I’m very happy that I’m still about, and that’s through sheer determination, not being just thankful for what happened in that moment.

"For me, my passion is my music, that’s more or less my drive, and I want to get back out there and succeed. In this industry you’re learning all the time, there’s a lot to take in.”

This time last year you were taking part in ITV’s Dancing on Ice, and before that played disillusioned rock bad boy Stacee Jaxx in London 80s-style musical, Rock Of Ages… that’s quite a mix! Where next?

“Being your own business, in a sense, you can try your hand at different things… I’ve always said I wanted to do more serious acting, so I’ve been putting myself through loads of auditions and putting myself through acting classes to really build on that.

"You’ve got to take full advantage of any opportunity to see what you can do. You have to do loads of auditions, but there’s only that one ‘yes’ that you need.”

• Shayne Ward performs at Bridgwater’s Blake Hall on Friday, February 14. VIP tickets cost £25 and standard tickets £17.50 from 07723-377500, Strings ‘n’ Things, Blake Hall, or the Castle Club. Doors open 7pm.