The 'Patience' singer, who debuted on the X Factor judging panel last night, said that his role on the ITV talent show is an opportunity to "put time and effort into other people's careers".
"I've spent five years being selfish with the band and doing good things for us," Barlow told The Mirror.
"So I thought what a good thing it would be to wave goodnight at Wembley and then go and put my time and effort into other people's careers for the next five months. It just feels like a good thing to do."
However, he admitted that due to his mild-mannered nature, his friends were surprised by his decision to sign up for the programme.
"Everyone was just a bit surprised. My friends were surprised because I'm usually quite private," the 40-year-old continued.
"I do my job and I go home. I've got a level of fame as an artist but there's no question about it - this is a different type of fame."
The X Factor continues next Saturday at 8pm on ITV1.
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Watch Digital Spy chat The X Factor with Gary Barlow, Tulisa Contostavlos, Louis Walsh and Caroline Flack below: