“This is a big change for me and will hopefully develop both my musical identity and experience.”
– Curtis T Johns
Curtis T Johns, 23, is a published singer/songwriter who I first interviewed for UMA in January 2016. At the time he was part owner of a rugby club in his hometown of Leeds (he still is) and was writing music for others, while preparing to launch himself as a solo artist later in 2016.
Previously he has written songs with established artists such as Matt Cardle and Kerri Watt, as well as emerging artists like Callum Beattie and Jamica Blackett.
In the summer of 2016 Curtis collaborated with DJ and producer, Clear Six. They wrote ‘Sunshine’ together which did very well on the Spotify charts and charted on iTunes. All-the-while, Curtis was still busy writing for others as well as himself. The latter end of 2016 saw Curtis make a momentous decision about his career.
Everyone had heard about a new show from the BBC in collaboration with Gary Barlow searching for talented male singers to win the chance to star in a new musical ‘The Band’. It would feature the songs of Take That but with an original story. Curtis decided to try out for the auditions, and after going through a long and gruelling process of auditions, then heats, he has made it to the live finals.
Curtis has had endorsement from Corinne Bailey Rae whose song ‘Put Your Records On’ he sung at his audition. She tweeted her support for Curtis. Matt Cardle who as mentioned Curtis has written with, has also tweeted support for his co-songwriter.
Curtis T Johns – Q&A
Already a published singer-songwriter, working on writing and releasing your own music, what made you look to this show?
I think that I wanted an opportunity to see if I could cut the mustard in bringing my own artistry and writing to the forefront. This is a big change for me and will hopefully develop both my musical identity and experience. Of course a major draw was the critical aspect of Gary Barlow, who for obvious reasons is a major inspiration to me.
Has the journey so far met with expectations?
I’m learning new things every day. Stage craft is something that requires constant refinement and ultimate confidence in your own ability. These are things I’ve still got to work on I feel. My boys in Five To Five are exactly the kind of boys I’d choose friendships with anyway! So it’s a perfect fit!
Do you have time to do it all?
I am still writing, yes, always. My own music is still in development and this journey can only add to that. I will find time eventually. But maybe for now I am comforted and happy with where I am in relation to the show, I have lots to share!
How did your publishers feel about your decision to try out for Let It Shine?
They told me to be true to myself and that integrity ultimately shines through. The boys have supported me and it’s lovely to have people of real industry experience and calibre who believe in you.
How did it feel standing in front of a studio audience and four well known music industry judges?
Nerve-wracking! It was so unique and bizarre. It’s a lot to consider for the boys on stage. So nerves sometimes do effect our performance the very first time! It’s something to think about when you know that some of us boys are stepping into deep water.
What was it like singing with an extremely popular and successful solo artist like Olly Murs?
Many rehearsals, lots of choreo! It has been such a privilege to perform with Olly. Not only for his fantastic musical identity but also his real experience of having been in this situation before.
What has it been like since the show has aired?
The support has been lovely, I’ve been working hard for LIS and rearranging a few things in my personal life so that I can give as much time as I can to the show! It really does uproot your life!
Finally, what are you hoping for if you manage to win one of those coveted spots in The Band?
Oooh tough question. I would love to tour performing all the songs I grew up with. That would be unnerving for me to be so closely associated with artists I truly respect both musically and artistically. The experience is welcomed with open arms.
Any new music coming soon?
New music will come one day, not sure when, but it’s all there.