Belfast Telegraph

How Will Smith helped Martin Bashir land The X Factor: Celebrity

The veteran BBC journalist practised singing on long car journeys with his family.

Martin Bashir (Talkback/PA)
Martin Bashir (Talkback/PA)

By Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter

The X Factor: Celebrity contestant Martin Bashir has said he honed his vocal chops by singing Will Smith’s rap song Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It in the car – much to his children’s irritation.

The veteran BBC journalist is one of 15 celebrities competing to win a record deal on the new edition of the hit ITV show.

Bashir, who is currently the broadcaster’s religion editor, said he is aiming to launch a second career as a singer, despite never having sung in public before.

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Will Smith (PA)

He said: “Some years back, whenever we were driving long distances, I would put a song by Will Smith called Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It on to the CD player and start singing.

“And they’d say ‘Please, Mum, tell him to shut up’. I think they found it embarrassing.”

On whether he was ready to embarrass his children on national television, the 56-year-old said: “Well, it depends on how embarrassing the performance is.

“If it’s an absolute disaster and I go out in the first round, they will probably say something like ‘You’re stupid. You should never have done it’.”

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Martin Bashir interviews Diana, Princess of Wales (BBC/PA)

Bashir also admitted he had under-estimated how difficult singing in public was, saying that it has been “an education”.

He said: “I’ve never sung before and it’s not as easy as you think. It’s hard. I’d never recognised how extraordinarily skilled singers are. I had no idea. I love music.

“I’d go to classical concerts, jazz, pop, whatever. But this has been like an education because I had no idea.

“The other thing about it is that singing is not just a vocal process. The performance involves movement, expression and the ability to sell a song. So it’s been an education.”

Bashir began working as a journalist in 1986 but made headlines around the world in 1995 for his BBC interview with Diana, Princess of Wales, for Panorama.

The X Factor: Celebrity will debut on ITV on October 12.

PA

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