JAKE Shears confesses he is going to be in his element when he takes to the stage at the Lytham Festival this summer.

“In a way I prefer playing festivals more than anything,” he said. “It is a very different beast from doing your own show and I love the fact that I’ve got to work for it. You have to step up and give it everything. It makes me feel very free.

“I think I enjoy performing live more now than I have ever done. I feel a calmness on stage, I feel grounded. I look back to when I was younger and I used to be so manic; I had all this wild nervous energy.

“Now I don’t feel as though I have anything to prove but I have a desire to be great.

Bury Times: Lytham Festival

“At a festival you have to catch people’s attention; there’s this wonderful game that you play with a festival crowd. It’s such fun.

“You have get out there, grab them get out there and win them over; you have to remember they possibly are not there to see you. So you’ve basically got three songs to win them over, that’s your time limit. Thankfully I think I’m pretty good at doing that - unless it’s a festival in Belgium!

“For some reason it never seems to happen in Belgium. I remember with Scissors, every time we played Belgium we’d be looking at each other thinking ‘this is going nowhere’. It was like playing to a brick wall.”

Amazingly it is 20 years since Jake first came to our attention as part of Scissor Sisters, a group who were so radically different with a sound melding hip hop, glam rock and disco that they quickly became one of the most popular bands in the world.

Although never officially having split, the band has not released any new music since 2012’s Magic Hour album but all the members remain good friends.

Jake, who is part of the first night line-up at Lytham Festival headlined by Jamiroquai, has used the time away from the band to explore all sorts of avenues. He’s appeared on Broadway, toured with Kylie, written an autobiography and worked on two solo albums.

His new album - Last Man Dancing - comes out next month, almost five years after his debut release, Jake Shears.

“No I’m not prolific,” he laughs. “But I think it’s because I take my albums seriously. I want to look back on my life and be proud of everything that I have put out no matter how people respond to it.

“I do take extra special care and want to stand by everything. That’s your legacy; that’s what’s always going to be there and to add to that officially is a big deal.”

Last Man Dancing couldn’t be more different from Jake’s debut album.

“The first album was all about songcraft and musicianship. It was very personal and emotional. That record lyrically was very much about my life. The new record is completely different. It’s a party album; it’s about dancing none of the lyrics have any sentimental value to me - it’s all fiction, fantasy and fun - that’s just another side of me.

“They are completely different animals but both are equally me.”

Could either of Jake’s albums be seen as the direction Scissor Sisters might have gone in had they been recording together?

“The way I look at it is that it feels to me very much one body of work,” said Jake. “When I look at an album in my head I don’t differentiate, maybe I should, but to me it’s all coming from the same source. I have alway collaborated on albums - Babydaddy from the Sisters worked on my new record - so it’s all coming from a similar place. So yes, in a certain way last two records would probably be where Scissors would have gone.”

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As well as a new album and summer festival dates - Jake is coming to Lytham straight from playing Glastonbury - he also worked with long-time friend Elton John on a new musical Tammy Faye about the life of American televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker.

“That took me and Elton 10 years to make,” he said. “But good things take time and I try to have a lot of good things going on at any one time.”

The night before I speak to Jake at his home in London he had been to see Elton John perform his farewell concert at the O2.

“I was very emotional,” he said. “He has been one of my dearest friends for 20 years. and I’ve been going to see him all my adult life. I must have seen him 100 times now and his shows have become such a part of my world. Seeing my last show with him ever was both gorgeous and heartbreaking. There was a mind of melancholy when I was watching it, I was soaking it in. It was a different kind of experience for me but he seemed very happy afterwards.”

With a new album about to come out and festival dates in the diary you would think Jake might be looking to relax later in the year.

“Oh, I wish I could tell you,” he confides. “It’s so exciting and I’m so thrilled about what’s going to happen later this year but I’m sworn to secrecy.

“Let’s just say it could be shaping up to be one of the most exciting years of my life. One of my big dreams is going to come true.”

Before then he’s equally excited about heading to Lytham.

“I’m really excited to play with Jamiroquai who has always been a massive influence for me. It is an honour to be on that bill.

“I have heard that Lytham Festival is amazing and it’s going to be an absolute blast.”

Jake Shears is part of the opening night of the festival on Wednesday, June 28 which includes Fund Lovin’ Criminals and headliners Jamiroquai. Other Lytham Festival dates feature George Ezra on Thursday, June 29; Sting with Blondie and Kaiser chiefs on Friday, June 30; Lionel Richie on Saturday, July 1 and Def Leppard and Motley Crue on Sunday, July 2. Details from www.lythamfestival.com