With plenty of strings to his bow, Julian Lennon is keen to impress that, despite being the only child of Beatle John Lennon and his first wife Cynthia, he’s “more than a one-dimensional, son-of-John character”. The 48-year- old musician had a difficult relationship with his father, which included periods of estrangement before John was killed when Julian was 17. But as he points out: “There’s a lot more to my life and work than just Dad.”
Having just released Everything Changes, his first album in 13 years, Julian is a happy man. “It’s probably been the best response I’ve ever had,” he says. “I think people have seen a different side to me.”
Your new album isn’t something you’ve rushed, is it?
No, I started tinkling the ivories again about eight years ago – sometimes I don’t play or sing for years. This album is something that I’m proud of. It works for me, then if everybody else likes it, that’s a bonus. Half the tracks weren’t even written for it – they were just for songwriting’s sake.
Is there a question that you always get asked?
I guess the main one is the Beatles getting back together and me singing Dad’s stuff. I’ve always said no, because I’m not here to be a stand-in. If, down the road, I feel I’m well established and it was for something important – on the magnitude of Live Aid – then I’d
consider doing it as a one-off.
Do you watch talent shows like The X Factor and have you been asked to appear on a reality show?
I watch them from time to time. Sometimes I get tired of them, but sometimes I see decent talent. They’ve tried asking me on shows, but I wouldn’t. Never say never, but right now, not a chance.
Do you speak to your half-brother Sean much?
Of course. He’s one of my best buddies. He’s been under my
wing since day one but he’s flying well at the moment. He’s doing great.
Do you ever Google yourself?
I have Google alerts, so I’m aware of everything posted about me. I want to keep up on who is saying what to a degree. If I have an insight that someone is going to say something bad, I just delete it rather than let outside influences bring me down.
Do you have any vices?
Food. I’m a closet chef. I live in Italy and I’m there partially because of my first stepfather [Cynthia’s late husband, hotelier Roberto Bassilini]. We’d visit Italy in the school holidays, so I absorbed the culture and its food from an early age.
Who or what makes you happiest?
Who? My mum. She always puts a smile on my face. I also love being at home in Italy and I’ve rediscovered a joy for going on the road and playing acoustically.
Your mum recently renewed her wedding vows to her husband Noel Charles in the South of France…
It was brilliant. It was so beautiful. I’ve never seen her so happy.
Would you like to get married?
Marriage in the non-religious sense, where one is committed, yes. I’m getting a little jealous of my mates and their children. I never felt that the time was right before, because I wanted to be older and wiser. But I’m certainly not going to rush into anything that’s not right.
So you’re single?
I am. I’ve been single for about five years. I’ve just been getting on with work and hoping that I bump into the right person one day.
You took photos of Charlene Wittstock before her wedding to Prince Albert of Monaco…
She’d seen my photo exhibition in New York and asked me to come in 20 minutes before her civil wedding to take shots while she was getting hair and make-up done. I got some great, great shots.
You grew up surrounded by famous faces, but are you ever starstruck? Constantly. You know, major actors like John Hurt and Gary Oldman.
I could give a list of people I’m in awe of – anyone that works hard, stays grounded and is kind to people.
INTERVIEW: DAWN EMERY
Julian Lennon’s new album, Everything Changes, is out now.