HE'S the pop world's answer to the man with the Midas touch - but today Richard X admitted that his success is all down to being brought up in Whalley!

Richard X, whose surname is believed to be Heyman although he never confirms this in interviews, has been behind a string of chart hits, including remixing Liberty X's number one 'Being Nobody."

His services as a producer are now being chased by the likes of Madonna.

But for the enigma of pop - he won't give his age either - the town he grew up in has a lot to do with his career success, not least because it has nothing for young people to do!

"Whalley has been a big influence on me," he said.

"It's got a unique sense of humour - everything is a little bit unlucky, a bit tragic.

"Growing up there, you have a bit of a twisted world view. There were no places to go or things to do. You tend to watch a lot of television. Or, in my case, play with keyboards and synthesisers and obsess about records that nobody else liked."

Richard X made it big when he produced the Sugababes' number-one smash Freak Like Me before working with Liberty X, including Abbey Village's Kevin Simm, on Being Nobody.

His next single, Finest Dreams, features American R'n'B star Kelis and he is even working with rapper P Diddy at his villa in Ibiza on his dance music project.

Coun Chris Holtom, leader of Ribble Valley Council, said: "I think the suggestion that there is nothing for anyone young in Whalley is a bit of a generalisation.

"Certainly, transport links to Blackburn have improved but maybe the buses and trains don't run late enough. I remember the time when Whalley was the place to go, back in the 1960s."

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