After you came 9th on the X factor a few years ago, what were your expectations for your future music career?
It's not a great number, that, is it? I don't know, I was pretty scared I suppose. I didn't expect to get on the tour, for a start. Then I got on that. Then I was ridiculously lucky to get signed. I was disappointed to leave but in hindsight I think it's probably the best thing that happened.
What happened in the years that followed until now, where you've recorded some really great and original solo material?
Just like casual 20-year old stuff. I spend quite a bit of time getting drunk, with my friends. I moved to London.
Had you signed prior to that?
I got signed on the tour, but there weren't queues of people around the block waiting to work with us because I came 9th on the X Factor - not always the greatest pulling power. I then found my feet and got more confident in a studio environment.
Was there one person you particularly clicked with that propelled you forward?
In November I met Jarrad Rogers who produced the whole album.
It's been quite obvious that it has been the plan to disassociate yourself with the X factor, so your new music can be seen for what it is - have you found that being on the show has made it difficult to be taken seriously?
No, because before I was on the show I worked at Pizza Hut, so I wouldn't have even had the opportunity. It has been so long since I was on the TV programme. Obviously you come off and for the few minutes afterwards, everyone's like there's that boy who sang 'Mad World'. I thought I’d be that guy forever. But once you start doing your own thing, and creating your own experiences ... and I lost the hair... I kind of forgot about it.
But I'm liking your hair today?
I went to the dentist this morning, it's not even done!
Would you encourage other aspiring artists to take a talent show route?
(Very quick to answer) Yep.
Did you feel like the outcome of the show was fixed in any way or do you think it is genuinely completely down to the public vote?
No it wasn't fixed. People were like, "are you mad that Wagner is still in?" I was like, no man, he's got a whole load more votes than me. He's smashing.
(Aiden seems very quick to defend X factor, so I ask): have you signed some kind of confidentiality agreement? Or can you actually slag off X Factor if you want to?
Yeah, freely. I just don't think there's any need to. I think it's a brilliant show.
Have you been happy with how positive the reaction has been to your new material?
Yeah, it's gone really well. Better than we could have hoped for. It was pretty scary because it was like my little baby. We finished the album in February, and this first single 'Is This Love?' was one of the first songs we wrote in November last year. So I’ve listened to it for ages and ages and got used to it. Now it's out and people are hearing it, it's like, cool.
"There are some angry moments"
How would you sum up the Aiden Grimshaw sound?
I think it's quite varied. It's more of an honest sound than an album that is built around beats. It's built around a narrative. There are some angry moments - low moments get a bit intense, and when I feel good, it feels good.
Did you write the tracks?
Yes, I wrote all of them apart from one cover.
Had you written songs before?
I'd written a couple of songs but they weren't very good. It was a whole new experience.
In the video for 'Is this Love?' you don't feature that much - why is that?
I think it's more about the music - and because there is that whole preconception with the X Factor thing. I've always liked videos that have more to the story than you first thought and I think that in the video that we did, the two directors smashed it. It's honest.
What are your feelings about celebrity? Does it make you uncomfortable if people recognise you?
I'm alright, I don't really get recognised. I quite like the idea of keeping my personal life separate from my job.
What can our readers expect from your debut album?
I think everyone tries to throw something in a pigeonhole nowadays. I just wanted to make ten good songs. It's coherent, but it's more about the narrative.
The album is called 'Misty Eye' - what was the thought process behind that title?
I wrote that song one night when I was pretty drunk. Then I spent the next 3 days in the spare room writing it. It just felt like the title. It's not a break-up album, but what happens behind your eye when you go through a break-up.
What kind of music do you enjoy listening to?
Stuff like Sub Focus, Moby, Faithless.
Did they influence your own sound?
There are some definite Moby-esque things in there.
"I'd like Outkast to reunite"
Would you like to collaborate with any other artists?
I would like Outkast to reunite, and be Aiden Grimshaw in Outkast doing 'Miss Jackson Part 2'.
How would you sum up your sense of style?
My style is relaxed.
Is fashion important to you?
It is yeah. If I bought a pair of shoes from Topman that weren't very nice my mum would ban me from wearing them.
Will you be touring or playing any live dates soon?
We are doing BreakOut in Camden on the 13th June. And hopefully towards the end of the year there will be a load of dates.
On the show I wasn't sure if you actually enjoyed the singing live part?
Performance has always been something that I enjoyed. I think that you only start to become a singer when you have your first mass applause. You can't look dead comfortable when you're stood on a piano singing 'Thriller' - You can't do jazz hands!
What can our readers expect to see at one of your shows?
For the moment, there's just me and a small band, which is nice.
You have some hardcore fans on twitter - do you have anything you would like to say to them?
The Grimlings. I'm not sure I’m keen on the name "Grimling". But I'm keen on them, man they're amazing. In the last couple of years when everyone was like there's that X Factor guy, they were like "You're gonna smash it!" and I'd be like, "Yeah, I am!"
Are you single?
Yeah. Yeah, I am.
And finally, who are your idols?
All the golden oldies. Proper super-star people like Frank Sinatra, Elvis and people who died years and years ago and it was like they were alive yesterday. And One Direction.
Are you still in touch with them?
No. They're doing alright aren't they. Not going badly for them.
I hope that you follow in their footsteps.
Taking over the world, one Grimling at a time.
'Is this Love' is out now
Interview: Holly Rubenstein