Ray Wilson seemed to have it all three years ago when he was plucked from obscurity. But the dream slowly became a nightmare for the Dumfries-born singer as he split up with his long-term girlfriend and collapsed into depression. Yesterday, he said he'd be happier singing in
Edinburgh pubs with his band Guaranteed Pure than playing massive stadiums.
Ray, 31, added: "The end of last year was probably the worst time in my life - I was very, very depressed. It was an awful six months, I just wanted to die, didn't want to live at all." The singer, who lives in a pounds 300,000 house in one of Edinburgh's most exclusive areas, reached breaking point after a series of demanding tours.
During that time, he broke up with hairdresser Vicky Johnson, his girlfriend of nine years. Ray said: "Success and fame make you very isolated. You know lots of people, but you don't feel you have any close friends. And one of the real down sides it that it ruins the relationships you do have.
"That's why I'm not with my girlfriend anymore. I was either off on tour and never at home or caught up with my own work when I was back."
He first shot to fame with Stiltskin, reaching number one in 13 countries with Inside, used in a Levi's ad.
But Ray was living in a grubby first-floor flat in Granton, Edinburgh,when he was picked to replace Collins in June 1997.
He said the best gigs of his life were in Edinburgh bars.
Ray added: "I've had some great gigs with Genesis, playing in spectacular stadiums around the world but you never get the same buzz as you do from playing somewhere intimate.
"If I could, I'd turn back the clock tomorrow." Now feeling more upbeat. the singer is writing and recording solo material in his own Leith studio.
He said: "Fortunately, I discovered I have really good friends who cared enough about me to help."
The Daily Record, April 2000