Chris Park chats to Aston Merrygold
Unless you have been on a different planet or in some remote rainforest for the last ten years, you will know that Aston Merrygold rose to fame on The X Factor as one quarter of the massive boyband JLS.
For five years they dominated the airwaves with hits like Beat Again, Love You More and She Makes Me Wanna. Then, in 2013, they decided to go their separate ways. Well Aston is back with new music and an intimate gig at Manchester’s Gorilla. Aston took time out from rehearsals to speak to Chris Park about his new stuff, acting and his idols, The Jacksons.
Tell us about your new material?
The next single, Precious featuring Shy Carter is out. I’ve had this kept for a little while; it’s been a long time coming. This song led to the EP Precious (out on 28 April). It will give people an insight into what the sound is going to be like on the album that is out.
When is the album coming out?
It will be out later this year. It would be lovely to wrap it just before the summer and get it out for the summer if it’s possible but has to be when it’s ready.
You’re playing Gorilla in Manchester which is an intimate venue, is that more nerve wracking or less than the huge arenas you’re used to?
More intimate venues are more nerve wracking, you are literally in people’s eyeline and you can catch a few looks which is different than when you’re in a big crowd and you don’t make direct contact with anyone and just play it out. This kind of intimate setting is nerve wracking but in a good way.
What is getting on stage like on your own? Is there more room?
It’s all good, it’s been a couple of years now since I was on stage with the boys. I’ve been travelling and doing shows in other countries and other territories but it’s led me to this point here and I’m ready to headline my own show. If I wasn’t ready for it, I wouldn’t do it. It’s been a nice build up.
Will there be the same level of choreography?
Of course, that’s all part of the arsenal and part of the show that I put on. It’s exciting being able to come out and headline a show and show people what an Aston show looks like.
What is the biggest challenge for you at the moment?
People are used to seeing me in a certain setting and now it’s a whole different ballgame. It’s like basically starting again from scratch and it’s a test. Some of the biggest artists have all had to sometimes go back to the drawing board, evaluate and start again. They end up having a big impact on the world. For me it’s been hard to build again but the ball’s rolling which is great and it’s time to take advantage of it.
Where would you like to see yourself in 10 year’s time?
I don’t know if it sounds clichéd or not but happy, in this industry, may be busy or not, whatever may be, the main thing is getting people to enjoy it.
If you hadn’t gone down the singer route, what would you have done?
I have been doing a fair bit of acting at the minute. It’s all part of the strings to the bow. If it was out of the entertainment industry fully I would have loved to be a sports person playing football, that kind of thing. I’d definitely have given that another go.
What acting have you been doing?
Yesterday I finished wrapping a new movie, the first movie that I’m gonna be in. It’s called Boogie Man. It’s been exciting and has taken up most of my time at the start of the year. It’s directed by Andy Morahan, more information on that will come out throughout the year. It’s kept me busy for a few months but it’s full on music now, back to the norm.
Do you keep in touch with any of your X Factor family?
I’ve seen Alexandra (Burke) a few times, I speak to Austin (Drage) a little bit. I was out with Marvin the other night and we bumped into Diana Vickers in Shoreditch so it was nice for a little catch up. That’s kind of it really in terms of our year.
If you could duet with anyone, who would it be?
You’d have to go for the greatest, MJ, Michael Jackson. For me, it doesn’t get any bigger than that.
What has been the most proudest achievement of your career so far?
There’s a lot of them but for me was the Jackson Brothers after Michael died, they got on the phone to us and were like “We love you guys, we’d love you to perform at the memorial concert with us”. That’s probably the most quiet I’ve ever been in a phone call, I thought, “I’m not going to say anything in case I fuck this up”. For me, that’s a rocking chair moment.
The track Precious (feat Shy Carter) is out now with the EP following at the end of April.
Aston will be playing Gorilla on Wednesday 3rd May - By Chris Park for Canal St Online