Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson: I used to be terrified to open the papers

Kaiser Chiefs Frontman Ricky Wilson: I Used To Be Terrified To Open The Papers Kaiser Chiefs Frontman Ricky Wilson: I Used To Be Terrified To Open The Papers
Ricky Wilson
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By Abi Jackson, PA

Ricky Wilson says taking care of himself has become more of a priority in recent years.

“Being in a band for 20 years, it isn’t well known as being a good place to look after yourself. The first decade, you can do what you want, and then you get into your late-30s, early-40s and you can’t do what you want any more, you know? You have to start making changes,” reflects the Kaiser Chiefs frontman. “I started by losing a bit of weight, looking after myself more.”

He says he “feels better” for it – but the 45-year-old hasn’t forgotten how the media used to talk about his appearance back when he was two stone heavier.

Wilson performing with The Kaiser Chiefs in October 2022 (Mike Egerton/PA)

“So much has changed for the better nowadays, but I can remember when I’d be in the paper, and they used to be able to say what they want about the way you looked,” he recalls. “Now, I think it’s great that the press doesn’t focus so much on the way you look, they focus on your behaviour and what you’re creating. But there was a time when I didn’t really like reading about myself, because they would focus on the fact that I wasn’t the thinnest person in the world, they would concentrate on the fact I had a bit of rosacea.


“It used to be really bad. I can remember one article called me ‘the porky popster’, and ‘jowly frontman’. They’d photoshop pictures of me, put my head onto different people’s bodies. I was terrified to open the papers.”

That must have affected his self-esteem?

“Yeah,” he agrees. “It was really bad. I just wanted to hide. It’s changing now – I think the world has changed for the better and there’s not so much focus on the way people [look]. It’s not quite 100% there yet but it’s going in the right direction. There’s not so many ‘circles of shame’ going around,” he adds, referring to the way publications used to point out celebrities’ so-called ‘flaws’ by circling them in photos.

He notes that losing weight coincided with some shifts on the work front, too.

“It’s weird – you start running, you lose a bit of weight, and then they let you on TV more. It was really weird. It was literally just like – I lost a couple of stone and then suddenly they asked me to do The Voice and stuff like that. I was like, isn’t the world a fickle place?”

He admits that reading those things impacted his motivation for self-care. “You can get yourself in a real bad cycle of feeling a little bit like, well there’s no point, is there? But if you can get yourself out of that, then the benefits [of looking after yourself] are brilliant. I feel better, I’m not as nervous all the time. I feel that I’ve got more energy about myself and I’m happier.”


You won’t find him in the gym – “I’ve got a dog and a pair of trainers, that’s all I need really” – but his school friend, Craig Rose, who founded Dr Seaweed’s Weed & Wonderful supplements range in 2018, got him thinking more about nutrition. Wilson is an ambassador for the brand (which has just also launched in Boots) and has been a fan from the start.

Wilson (R) with his friend and Weed & Wonderful founder Dr Craig Rose during the brand’s Boots launch (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

“As soon as you start feeling better, you start to focus more on actually looking after yourself a bit more, you know? It was a bit like that for me with [taking Weed & Wonderful]. And they’ve developed different ones; the Focus one’s really good because I find it hard to focus, and now I’m on the radio every day, I really need to.”

The singer joined Virgin Radio in January, hosting the weekday drivetime shows. In some ways, he’s busier than ever (he recently took part in the BBC’s The Masked Singer too, making it to the final) – but this has brought some surprising wellbeing benefits too.

“It’s the most structure I’ve had in my life. And it’s really weird, structure, I’ve never done [a Monday-Friday job before] – the weekend comes, you have Saturday, which is like a warmup to the weekend, and then it’s Sunday and then it’s back to work again. I didn’t realise how hard it was!” he laughs.


“I do like it, but I do have a very, very cool job, and do find it quite rewarding. I mean, I do tell my wife that it’s harder than it actually is, because I want her to feel sorry for me,” Wilson quips. “But I do like the routine, because I’ve never had it before.


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“Also, now I’m really busy, I don’t really stew on things as much, I just get on with it,” he reflects. “If I’m going to record in the recording studio, I have to be done by 1:30pm, so I go in early and get everything done. Whereas in the past, I’d just swan in, ‘Oh, I’ll do it later’ – but that was a bad way of working for me. I quite like being super focused on getting it done in a couple of hours, rather than sitting around on leather sofas. I like the fact fitting things in has made me a better worker.”

Wilson’s perspective on the band’s success has shifted too.

“I think that’s probably because I’m not as worried as I used to be. I don’t really think that if we release something that doesn’t do well, then it’s the end. Because we’ve got to a point now where we’ve made mistakes in the past, but we always come bouncing back. So, I’m not as worried as I once was.”

Ricky Wilson is as an ambassador for the Doctor Seaweed Weed&Wonderful supplement range. For more information, visit doctorseaweed.com

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