The secret of my success: Jools Holland

Musician and presenter Jools Holland made TV history as presenter of the iconoclastic Eighties music programme The Tube, and achieved fame as a musician with Squeeze and later his own band. He presents BBC2's Later With Jools Holland.

As a musician my goal is to communicate my ideas to the listener - that is my definition of success. I spend most of my time listening to music and find that the simplest things lift me up. That is the effect I want to have on my audience. When you are doing a show the momentum of the performance should get people going, whether you affect one person or many.

I had wanted to be a policeman. I liked the idea of doing routine enquiries, but I got bitten by the music bug. It's like a mistress, a beautiful woman who knocks you off your feet. My first gig was as a duo with Glen Tilbrook (of Squeeze) at a pub in Poplar. We got paid pounds 15 and had a great night - it didn't feel like work.

I tend not to get too fussed about things. I have a gift and I enjoy playing. I'm fairly lazy and I tend to walk away from challenges. But I do have a determination in wanting to create music. I do it because I want to hear a certain sound.

You have to love what you do. When I started doing The Tube with Paula Yates, we both thought the whole thing was pretty stupid but it became a great laugh. The Tube was successful because it loved its topic. An ounce of love is worth a ton of knowledge.

If you want to be successful, don't try too hard. Don't believe what other people tell you - you have to find out the answers for yourself. There are no rules.

I've only ever done programmes about music. I had a hard time doing an American series called Night Music. They wanted to see the script beforehand but my work is spontaneous and I don't write scripts. They also insisted on doing a full rehearsal before filming. Invariably the rehearsal was better than the show. A performance is like an impassioned speech, you can't rehearse something that comes directly from the heart. That's the great thing about live gigs, you can reach both old and young. Weaving the same magic on them as the music weaved on me.

I'd say it's more important to just be than to succeed. I'd describe myself as a happy hypocrite. On the one hand I love my subject and on the other I couldn't care less.

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