Think back to last year’s X Factor: how many finalists can you remember? We’re not going to lie; we struggled to work out who had won until James Arthur’s only single to date, his winner’s cover of Shontelle’s Impossible, conveniently came on the radio. However, there was one act who stood out for us, and not just because they’re rather easy on the eye.
Union J, AKA George Shelley, Josh Cuthbert, Jaymi Hensley and JJ Hamblett, came fourth in the series, behind Christopher Maloney, Jahmene Douglas and the aforementioned Mr Arthur. As the first of the runners up to release a post-show single, we were intrigued to find out what to expect from the boys’ track Carry You, and JJ was all too happy to fill us in on life after The X Factor.
What have Union J been up to since the end of The X Factor?
Well obviously we had The X Factor tour, which was absolutely amazing, just to be able to play to thousands of people. Since then we’ve been concentrating on our single, our music video, our album and our book, so it’s a really busy but exciting time.
You release your debut single Carry You on June 2nd. What’s the story behind the song?
It’s a song for our fans I think; obviously they’ve carried us to where we are today, so it’s definitely a song for them. It’s very upbeat, very summery and it’s just about people being there for each other and carrying each other through hard times. I hope everyone likes it as much as we do.
Is it one for the festival fields?
Well I’m hoping it’s a festival song, because we’ve got a fair few booked, so it’d be a bit of a disappointment if it wasn’t! I don’t think we’ve ever played outside before, so hopefully it’ll be nice weather when we do and I’ll have my tank top on, little shorts and flip-flops. It’ll probably rain knowing our luck and we’ll be there with our umbrellas!
Obviously you guys were originally Triple J, until George was added to the group during X Factor; how did you find that adaptation?
To be honest we were only Triple J for about three weeks before we auditioned. We were still getting to know each other anyway, so George fitted in straightaway, absolutely fine. I literally can’t remember Triple J, so when people mention it I’m like, “Oh… okay, yeah.” It’s just like George has always been there.
How did it feel to be knocked out of The X Factor so close to the final?
Obviously it was a little bit gutting, but we came such a long way; there were over 200,000 people who auditioned, so just to be in the live shows was amazing. To finish in the semi-finals was absolutely incredible. The three people who finished in front of us are all amazing artists, so to finish just behind them made us really happy.
How has the attention from the ladies been since the end of the show?
Yeahhh [laughs]… it’s been good. Like I said, we’ve been so busy doing our thing, so really we’ve been concentrating on that more than chasing girls! We’ve just been very, very busy, so we don’t have time for girls. Well, we do have time for girls, but we’ve just been concentrating on our single more than anything else.
You’ve signed a book deal as well; can you tell us a bit about that?
Well it’s with Penguin, and I can remember reading all the Penguin books as a kid, so to have a publishing deal with them is absolutely incredible. It’s amazing. The book gives a little bit of an insight into our lives before the band, because people kind of know what we used to do, but not a huge amount about our hometowns, our families… it’ll be nice for the fans to have that little bit more depth.
How does it feel when people compare you to other boybands like One Direction and The Wanted?
With One Direction, we’re always going to be compared to them, because they done The X Factor too. It’s humbling; they’re the biggest boyband in the world, so if we just had 20% of their success or 20% of The Wanted’s success, we’d be delighted.
How soon should we expect an album?
I don’t even know [laughs], but I think it’ll be September time!
And do you think that’ll lead to a tour for you guys?
We hope so, but like I said we’re taking every day as it comes, and praying that people are going to like our music. We’ve got an amazing fan base, so we’re just hoping that we can build on it again by people loving our music. It’s really nerve-wracking because we don’t know what people will think of the single, but we love it, so I’m crossing my fingers. I’m absolutely pooing myself to see how it goes though!
￼￼￼Carry You is out now and Union J play Chester Rocks, Fusion and Sundown Festival this summer