I’m a ridiculously bad petrolhead and have been since I was about six. When I was young, one of my best friends sadly lost his dad and his guardian became the local scrap man who lived at the end of his lane. That meant we had unlimited supplies of banged up cars and lots of land. So, the first car we’d find that was no longer road legal, we’d paint stripes all over it and thrash it round a field.
I used to sketch cars and build things in my little shed at home too – my mum even bought me a welder for my eighth birthday. I was reading one of my old school reports the other day and it said “Where do you want to be in 10 years?” I’d put “I want to run my own custom car garage.”
I had a little Honda CR80, though, and when I was 16 years old I got caught by the Police doing wheelies up and down the road. They wanted to set an example of me, so I got six points on my licence when it became active.
After that, I moved to Leeds and fell out of love with cars for a bit. Two of my best friends were killed in an accident just as I moved away. So, with me not being able to get a licence, and then that happening, I was deterred from driving and just focused on my music for a bit.
It wasn’t until I was 22 years old when the urge to drive started creeping back in and I finally passed my test. I already had an album out by then, though, and had three number ones, so my first car was a Mercedes E63 AMG. That was pretty mental.
When I decided it was time for a change I got a BMW M6. It was cool, but I didn’t feel like it marked up to the Mercedes.
While I had the M6 I started expanding my collection quite a bit. First, I bought an AC Cobra-style kit car. I’ve still got it. It’s beautiful and runs a Corvette engine, which is ridiculously brilliant. It was basically built as a car that was meant to be sat in a garage and polished every day, though. I drove it once and the whole driveshaft fell off. It’s now had a complete overhaul and is an absolute monster. I’m not one for leaving cars in the garage.
Around that time, I also got a Ferrari California T. They invited me to Maranello to spec it. It was amazing, I’d dreamed of owning a Ferrari as a kid so I drove it home and parked it outside the house where I grew up as a kid – that was a pretty beautiful moment.