Ben Ofoedu is most well known for being the former lead singer of the 90’s band Phats and Small, who sold over two million copies of their debut single ‘Turn Around’. He is also engaged to Vanessa Feltz one of the busiest women in showbiz, and as well as enjoying their own individual success, you’d think as a couple that would be enough, but think again because they have now both teamed up for a brand new Channel 5 morning chat show The Vanessa Show, which offers a mixture of showbiz gossip, celebrity chat and expert advice on all types of issues.
Ready and willing for a chat with a big smile on his face, Ben tells us about his most memorable moment from his career, “Performing at the MOBOs was really cool, especially after seeing Jay-Z and David Beckham nodding their heads as I was up on stage.” It’s exactly twelve years since the release of Phats and Small’s hit single ‘Turn Around’, “I love that record so much and for me, it turned my life around completely.” He says, before starting to sing an acapella of ‘Turn Around’, and then moving on to explain the story behind the single, “Before Phats and Smalls, I was in another boy band, but we got dropped and then I found myself living off the dole. Life was really terrible as I also had this disease called facial palsy where I couldn’t really move half of my face.” Although he did not write ‘Turn Around’, he says the song is very significant to him, “Listening to it again was almost like God talking back to me saying “Hey, what’s wrong with you”? Which at the time meant my life was going to turn around, and it did from that moment so the song is really, really special to me”.
Currently, Big Ben can be seen co-presenting The Vanessa Show alongside his fiancé Vanessa Feltz every weekday, but what’s it like living and working with your partner on national TV? “I quite like it. Vanessa was recently given a job at BBC Radio 2 as well as having her usual show on BBC London, and with her been so busy we actually tend to see each other more on the show.” The hardworking showbiz pair, who are presently engaged despite their 10-year age gap, have both received a mixture of applause and criticism about their relationship but Ben says, “The secret to a long lasting relationship is space and not making too much of an issue out of things. If we both want to see two different films, we usually go to the cinemas buy our separate tickets, and go see our own films and then afterwards over a meal we discuss each other’s films.” Vanessa, meanwhile, is no stranger in interviewing big name celebrities and Ben’s blackberry contacts range from Boyzone to Take That, but who would be on their ultimate fantasy guest list? Ben Laughs, “We’ve already had Callum Best, Kerry Katona and Konnie Huq but the biggest star is not necessary the best guest. You never really know as the best guest could be someone who is not high profiled, but can give a good interview and is also very funny.” What’s next for Ben’s musical career? Can we expect another album? Ben laughs, “As I am a singer-songwriter, I will always be tempted to sing songs but I think my musical direction will take a bit of a change as, I am now in my later 30’s, and I think it’s time to leave it to the younger cats”.
Interview by Noel Phillips
Check out The Vanessa Show every weekday mornings at 11am on Channel 5. You can also follow Ben on Twitter: @BigBenOfoedu