Our local hero is back with his new single Get Stupid out now and he’s sounding good! Sharon McAllister catches up with Aston Merrygold…
Since JLS broke many a pop fan’s heart when they decided to call it a day and go their separate ways, Peterborough’s quarter of that hugely successful X Factor boy band has been holed up in a studio in America. Now Aston Merrygold is back with a big new solo tune, Get Stupid, a big quiff and a big broad smile on his face. Not only that – he tells me he wants to perform in Peterborough!
“I think what’s going to be most amazing for me is hopefully when a tour comes together I’m going to be able to headline a tour with my name in lights, and in Peterborough you know. I remember when The Broadway was up and running and I watched Lemar there years ago, and when you’re going to know 90% of the crowd turning up to that gig it’s going to be amazing!
“Somewhere along the line I think it’s destined to happen. I’ve done many events there and it’s never quite been Aston Merrygold on the front door but I think it’s destined to happen personally, and when it does it’s probably going to be much longer than most other shows around the world!”
Great news for his hometown faithful if and when that comes off (and there’s a Twitter campaign mounting to bring him to Peterborough Arena!) but firstly there’s a certain other gig in his sites this summer as he launches himself back into the music scene with his super-catchy, James Brown tinged debut solo single Get Stupid.
“I think V Festival is going to be amazing,” Aston tells me. “We never actually got to play that with JLS and now I’m going to be playing it for the first time on my own.”
Having been part of the hugely successful JLS for so long Aston admits it’s nerve wracking heading out on his own and finding a new path. He’s been off the radar for nearly a couple of years spending much of his time since the band split, writing and recording in America – now he’s definitely got his groove on and is stepping back into the spotlight.
“It was hard. When you’re doing something every day of your life, seven days a week with four people you all end up in that same mind set, you all think the same and act the same and that’s why it worked so well for us. A group mentality is amazing and that’s what I suppose every group has to aim for and tries to accomplish, but when you’re trying to find yourself and trying to become a solo artist and put your all into something, it needs to be all of you. All eyes are on you and everything has to come from you, if it’s to be believable. It was difficult but it was fun as well though, I got to redefine myself within myself.”
So did he have to ‘de-JLS’ himself to find his own sound and decide what direction to head in as a solo artist?
“It was not so much ‘de-JLS’ myself – I was part of JLS and part of that is always going to be within my music because that was me and I put my 25% into what JLS was. For me now it’s being able to hold the stage and a song by myself and hold a crowd and an audience by myself. It’s obviously a weird one because of what I was used to but for now it’s a new chapter and a new journey which is exciting.”
“I’ve spent a lot of time with my family and friends and trying to not get back to normality as such, but just stay level headed because it would be easy to get depressed and get in a dark space if you’re in that kind of predicament with such a dramatic change in lifestyle, but it’s been great and everyone’s been so supportive around me and I’m just ready for the next chapter.
“Of course I’m nervous, any performer anywhere in whatever situation you’re in is always going to be nervous. When releasing something that’s so personal to you, whatever genre you’re in whether it be music, sport, any line of entertainment or business world you always want to be the best in your field, you always want to be successful but this is mine now and people are hearing what I’ve been working on.”
Aston was part of a bunch of young guns from the city like gymnast Louis Smith who all hang out and have remained close friends. It’s something he says is still really important to him no matter where his career takes him.
“Yes literally saw them all over the weekend, they came down and we had a little night out and a day of football and just chilled.
“No matter what we’re all doing we’re always going to be supportive – some people are in the spotlight, some people aren’t, we’re all just going to try and be successful and make our family’s proud and that’s our main goal.”
And he remains fiercely loyal to Peterborough – “Yes of course it’s my hometown, that’s where I’m from, that’s what made me who I am today and people I still love dearly are still there. I live in London now but I’m from Peterborough – you have to give props to where you’re from!”
Aston’s debut solo single Get Stupid is now going to be released on July 24 and his debut solo album Show Stopper will be released in October.