Robbie Williams takes stake in college, sings mentoring's praises


LONDON (Reuters) – Pop singer Robbie Williams, a judge on Britain’s “The X Factor” television show last year, is taking a stake in a performing arts college as he looks to mentor more “jazz hand people” like him.

The singer of “Angels” and “Let Me Entertain You” will have a 20% stake in Liverpool’s LMA, which offers degrees in music, performing arts and games design.

Williams, who hails from Stoke-on-Trent, a city 56 miles (90 km) southeast of Liverpool, mentored a choir from LMA on “The X Factor” last year and said he really enjoyed the experience.

“I was looking into the eyes of all the students and I was like ‘They are me. That’s who I was and who I am’, you know, we sort of ‘jazz hand people’,” the 45-year-old singer told a news conference.

“It’s just that energy that I wanted more of and also I don’t mind saying I was surprised I was actually quite good at mentoring. It’s something that I want to carry on, in whatever capacity that is. I loved it.”

LMA’s plans include opening a new London campus next year.

Williams, a member of popular 1990s boyband Take That, will help drive LMA’s expansion in Britain and abroad.

“I’ll find out more as we go along. But I want to mentor. I want to be there. I want to find out how to teach … I have a bit of experience in the business.”

Williams, whose wife Ayda Field was also a judge on “The X Factor” alongside series creator Simon Cowell, is working on an album and will not return to the show this year.

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“I’m going to be all over the place promoting that. We wanted it desperately to work with ‘The X Factor’ but it just wasn’t (to be),” he said.

“It’s a to-be-continued because myself and Simon are good friends, our family are good friends, the kids hang out all of the time and I think it’s just a pause on the relationship,” Williams said.

“This year I’ve got to go and promote my album to death. So that’s what I’ll be doing.”

Reporting by Hanna Rantala; writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; editing by Jason Neely

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