Will Young has claimed he was made to re-record his hit single 'Leave Right Now' several times because an employee at his record company thought he ''sounded gay'' on the track.

The 39-year-old star has moved away from the music business since the release of his sixth studio album '85% Proof' in 2015, instead focusing on raising awareness of mental health issues following his need to quit 'Strictly Come Dancing' in 2016 due the re-emergence of his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Will - who began his singing career after winning 2002 TV talent show 'Pop Idol - is pleased to be out of the industry and was shocked to later learn the reason he had to lay down so many takes for his 2003 track is that there was homophobic criticism of his singing style.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Will - who is openly homosexual - said: ''I didn't know at the time, but when I was recording 'Leave Right Now', someone at the record company said I 'sounded gay' and kept making me re-record the track. There's a real flavour to homophobia and bigotry. It's really shaming. People don't understand the power of language.''

Will talks about his own struggles with mental health and homophobia in society on his Homo Sapiens podcast - which he co-hosts with his film director friend Chris Sweeney.

He has been open about spending £500,000 on therapy, which has included having sessions with a shaman, and is looking to train as a psychotherapist and it is a regular topic of conversation on his podcast.

Will hopes people will come to his podcast with an open mind and don't think he's just another celebrity trying to forward their career.

He said: ''I still don't really understand what a podcast is, but I think the reason they've become so popular is because people can be themselves on them ... I can see why people may think that celebs are trying to make a fast buck. But if just one person gets something positive out of, say, Gwyneth Paltrow's life manuals then it's OK. And if she can buy a Ferrari with the proceeds, then that's OK too.''

Will also thinks it's time for famous people need to come clean about their lifestyles and the cosmetic procedures they undergo to stay looking youthful.

He said: ''We're always sold perfectionism, but it's not obtainable so why not just be yourself? People are fed up with others pretending. Why don't people on chat shows just ask guests how much surgery they've had, especially when they're 70 and look 20, instead of saying 'Wow, you look amazing'? Sharon Osbourne is the only one who says, 'I look this good because I've got a great surgeon'. People should just own it. Look, I've had hair plugs. I got them five years ago. Everyone is told to be a certain way. And that comes back to why I'm doing this show.''