'Beauty is from within. I find all that tinkering with it very weird and freaky': Under the microscope with Billy Ocean
01:01 GMT, 3 July 2012
The singer, 62, on why he became a vegetarian, how he stays positive and being at his most creative at night
'I treat every day like a new start, focusing on the present,' said Billy Ocean
DO YOU GET YOUR FIVE A DAY
My wife is a wonderful cook, so I enjoy beans, pulses, soya, Caribbean vegetables such as plantain, and fruit, especially mangoes. I avoid processed food. I became a vegetarian 20 years ago.
WHY DID YOU GO VEGETARIAN
When my mother died from ovarian cancer in 1989, it transformed my life. I looked at how she’d lived — an honest, incredibly hard-working woman — only to die just three years after I was successful enough to buy her a house and take care of her. I realised I had to take care of myself. So I took a five-year break from music to spend time with my wife and three children. I became more spiritual and just went off meat.
DO YOU WORRY ABOUT YOUR MORTALITY
I don’t want to go searching for problems, putting fear in myself about what could happen. If I wake up and my heart is still ticking and I’ve got my appetite, then that’s good enough for me. I’m lucky that apart from my mum, none of my family has had a major illness.
POP ANY PILLS
I used to years ago, but I think they’re a waste of time. I took vitamin C religiously, but was still getting colds.
HOW DO YOU KEEP FIT
I run every day and love pottering around in my garden in London in the fresh air, with the birds tweeting. And when you’re on stage, giving everything you have, it does require physical, mental and spiritual energy.
WOULD YOU HAVE PLASTIC SURGERY
Beauty is within. I find all that tinkering with it very weird and freaky.
WHAT ABOUT COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE
When I had a bad shoulder several years ago, I went to a chiropractor, and tried acupuncture. I was scared of having all these needles pushed into me, as I’m a bit squeamish, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I would rather try that than be given drugs. I avoid painkillers if I can.
'Often I get energised when the night comes, so I end up practising on my piano or guitar late into the evening,' said Billy
EVER BEEN DEPRESSED
I treat every day like a new start, focusing on the present. I became a grandfather for the first time just recently, so it’s given me a fresh outlook on life.
EARLY BIRD OR NIGHT OWL
Often I get energised when the night comes, so I end up practising on my piano or guitar late into the evening. Most of my big hits, such as Caribbean Queen, were recorded at night. But being this way can wreak havoc with your body clock.
WHAT KEEPS YOU AWAKE
My biggest worry is that when I fly away, how my family will deal with it.
Vans with no windows at the back, so it’s dark and enclosed. I’m all right if I’m sitting at the front and can get a breeze. It’s become worse as I’ve got older.
LIKE TO LIVE FOR EVER
When it’s time to go, it’s time to go.
Billy Ocean will be performing at Under The Bridge in London on July 21, underthebridge.co.uk