TO describe Kevin Simm’s career as being a rollercoaster is something of an understatement.

From his early days as a member of chart-toppers Liberty X, his subsequent solo career saw him performing in pubs and clubs. Then in 2016 he won the TV talent show The Voice being mentored by Kaiser Chiefs’ Ricky Wilson. Again the expected success following the show failed to materialise and once again Kevin was back playing solo shows in small venues. He has also been the star of the annual pantomime in Blackburn for several years.

When it was announced that Chorley-born Kevin was to become the new lead singer of Wet Wet Wet in 2018 taking over from Marti Pellow, it’s fair to say a number of eyebrows were raised.

But an 18-date UK tour earlier this year firmly cemented Kevin as the frontman for the band and now he is touring Europe with them playing at major festivals. Next weekend Wet Wet Wet will be at the Lytham Festival supporting Sir Rod Stewart.

“It’s all gone brilliantly,” said Kevin. “It couldn’t really have gone much better. It feels as though the fans have really accepted me.”

Taking over from such a charismatic presence as Marti Pellow could not have been easy but Kevin has taken it in his stride.

“Wet Wet Wet fans are brilliant,” he said. “They are very fanatical so when it comes to replacing someone like Marti who they have such a strong link with it could have been difficult.

“I’m sure there are some fans who will probably never give me the chance to prove to them what I can do, but that’s just the way it is.

“The ones who genuinely love the Wets for their songs, their melodies and their musicianship have come along and have given me a chance which is all I can ask for.”

So often musicians have an edge to them, an ego that helps them do what they do. With Kevin, anyone who has worked with him or interviewed him will tell you what a genuinely nice bloke he really is. He is also very honest about his career and what a change being part of Wet Wet Wet has made.

“Do you know what? I have found that I have re-discovered the me that I used to be,” he said. “I used to be so much more carefree on stage and not care what people thought. I’d dance round like an idiot and not worry and just have a great time.

“Over time I think I’d lost that side of me and become shy and reserved and lacked confidence.

“But with the band, that’s not even something that I’ve had to think about, it just happened playing with the guys. Playing with a live band it does bring me out of my shell a little bit.

“Even when I went up to meet the guys before I really knew them, I was just buzzing playing with them. People I know have said ‘I’ve never seen you on stage like that’.

“It’s a natural thing that was there a long time ago and I’d sort of lost it along the way. I prefer that side of me on stage. It feels great.

“I’ve been through probably a decade of not enjoying gigs very much, I’ve just seen it as work. Whereas I see this as work as well it’s nice to actually look forward to going out on stage and know that you’re going to have a great time.”

It’s not just Kevin who has benefitted from the new line-up.

“I think it has worked both ways,” he said. “The guys say I’ve brought things out of them that they haven’t had for ages and I say to them that they’ve brought things out in me because I’ve not been like this for years.”

One thing Kevin has brought to Wet Wet Wet is the group hug.

“Oh, I’m a bit of a hugger,” he laughed. “Before we went in stage for the first show I went round hugging all the lads. They said they’d never done that before but now it’s something we do before every show.

“We have all become friends very quickly – it would be hard not to, they are a great bunch of lads.”

Having already played festivals all over Europe, including the Isle of Wight and Munich ‘s Olympic Stadium, it’s destination Lytham for the band next week.

“That’s going to be really cool,” said Kevin. “It’s also so close to home so I will get time to spend with my family.”

With songs such as Sweet Little Mystery, Wishing I was Lucky and, of course, Love is All Around, Wet Wet Wet can play the perfect festival set.

“It’s amazing to know that you are going to put on a show where so many people will know all the songs,” said Kevin.

Wet Wet Wet, Lytham Festival, Saturday, July 13. The festival runs from Wednesday until Sunday, July 14 featuring the Human League, Kylie Minogue and Sir Rod Stewart,. Details from