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Freddy set go Meet the rising star who's written tunes for Westlife, Ellie Goulding and George Ezra

In fact, music associated with Fred was at number one in the UK for a total of 14 weeks in 2019 - so for 30 per cent of the year.

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Fred Again

Fred Again

Fred Again

CHANCES are you've never heard of British pop artist Fred Again, but you'll certainly know his music.

Fred's hits for Ed Sheeran, Ellie Goulding, Little Mix and George Ezra have been dominating the charts in the last few years.

The Brit Award winning producer also had a hand in Westlife's comeback single, Better Man, and Fred, whose real surname is Gibson, co-wrote George Ezra's massive 2018 hit, Shotgun.

Shotgun knocked Clean Bandit off the number one spot that year with their song Solo - which Fred just happened to also co-produce.

Fred appeared on three Ed Sheeran smash hits in 2019: I Don't Care, with Justin Bieber; Beautiful People, featuring Khalid, and Take Me Back to London, featuring Stormzy.

In fact, music associated with Fred was at number one in the UK for a total of 14 weeks in 2019 - so for 30 per cent of the year.

Now Fred has just released his own debut album, Actual Life, that includes his current crossover anthem Marea (We've Lost Dancing), featuring the voice of Marea Stamper aka The Blessed Madonna on record for the first time.

Fred may be a genius music creator and producer, but as we start to chat by Zoom he admits that, like myself, technology isn't his strong point.

As if to prove his point, he cuts us off by accident. "That was beautiful timing and a beautiful irony," Fred tells Shuffle when we reconnect.

The talk immediately turns to Ireland - both of Fred's parents have Irish connections north and south of the border, and he's a passionate fan of Dublin and Cork. "I love the Irish people and the Irish spirit a lot," he says with genuine sincerity.

Then there's the Westlife hit. "That was one of the great moments," Fred says, although he admitted to not knowing that the legendary Irish boyband has two shows lined up for Wembley Stadium this August.

He was also unaware of Shane Codd, despite the Irish DJ dominating the UK charts for several weeks earlier this year with his infectious track, Get Out My Head. "I'll check him out," he tells me.

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With his massive success in recent years, fans could be forgiven for assuming that Fred is surrounded by the trappings of wealth.

"The reality is, I've got no private jet," he laughs. "I've got a flat that I live in in London. But I'm happy and I'm so lucky not to be driven by anything other than the song I've made each day, really."

His mentor as a teenager was revered British producer Brian Eno.

"One my old friends is his neighbour - he invited me along to a singing group that Brian does when I was 17," Fred says. "We just got really close. I feel so lucky to have had him as my mentor."

Fred says he's now happy to step into the spotlight as an artist after years working behind the scenes.

"I feel totally comfortable and at peace with it," he tells me. "I love having my moments to write on my own, but I also love humans. We're just starting to work on how we're going to do live shows. It'll be me and my mate Jack Parasi, who is an Italian producer. We have a screen that represents all of the humans that we've sampled - a single portrait screen that's meant to play the role of the samples."

The songs on Fred's superb electro-pop album have been inspired by the loss of a friend, although he says some listeners are interpreting them as lockdown tunes.

"A lot of it seems like it was about lockdown and stuff, but it isn't at all," he says. "But if it resonates with people in that sense then that's a beautiful thing. I just feel happy that those songs seem to be starting to mean something to people."

Fred Again's debut album, Actual Life, is out now.

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