Former Chichester schoolboy Jonathan Ansell is on the road with multi-platinum vocal harmony group G4 with their first new album in more than ten years (Worthing’s Pavilion Theatre, Sunday, March 19).
“We did a Christmas album which was a different proposition,” says Jonathan who went to Bishop Luffa and grew up in Bognor Regis. “But the last proper studio album was 2006. With this, we just wanted to reignite the sound of G4 that people remember from the X Factor and to try to engage with other songs as if we were appearing on that kind of show again now. We wanted to put our unique stamp on not just classical, but also contemporary music, and we have found that it certainly connects with people quite profoundly.
“It was exciting sitting down with a blank piece of paper and trying to brainstorm what we wanted to include on the album. We didn’t have voting ballots! But we sat down over a period of time and came up with an original version and then a revised original version. We all championed our own particular songs that we wanted to include. For me, it was Go The Distance from the Disney film Hercules. I have always loved the Disney sound and production. I listened to quite a few Disney tracks, but I just loved this one with the beautiful transition and lyrics. I just found myself singing along to Michael Bolton and wanted to do it!”
Things have changed considerably since that last studio album more than a decade ago. For one thing, the band had a seven-year break.
“Back then we had different producers and management teams and record label executives that would have other ideas coming perhaps from a more commercial angle. And I think that can muddy the waters. It can all be much less concise. Now we have got the liberty to create something far more from within the confines of the group.”
It is all much more hands on in every respect. For instance, Jonathan was talking just after they arrived for the night’s gig. They had been getting their stuff out of the tour bus themselves: “Before, we were much more funnelled in at the last moment for the final rehearsal. We were all kept very separate and then we would do the show and then disappear. We didn’t feel we were able to put the band out there as we wanted and to have a much better connection with the team. It’s certainly dramatically different now. We always wanted to be much more hands on, but it was all led from the management team that that was not what artists did, and that was quite sad that we weren’t able to make the connection we wanted.”
In that sense, the seven-break and the consequent reinvention have proved excellent things: “It is fantastic. It is a very different kind of enjoyment now. We just didn’t have the opportunity to embrace everything in the way we wanted.” The new album is called G4 Love Songs and includes versions of I’d Do Anything For Love, Your Song, Love Changes Everything, All of me, Everything I Do (I Do It For You), and Can’t Help Falling in Love.
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