Josh ( 17) tops chart with Louis Walsh’s new band Home­town

Bray People - - FRONT PAGE - By PADRAIG BYRNE

IT’S been a crazy few months for Bless­ing­ton na­tive, sev­en­teen year-old Josh Gray.

Since get­ting a call while in class at Bless­ing­ton Com­mu­nity Col­lege to tell him that he was the sixth and fi­nal mem­ber of Louis Walsh’s new boy­band Home­town, his life has changed for­ever.

After a rig­or­ous seven months of re­hears­ing and record­ing, the group re­leased their de­but sin­gle ‘Where I Be­long’ which went straight in at num­ber one in the Ir­ish charts.

‘I couldn’t be­lieve it,’ said Josh said yes­ter­day on his way to Belfast to per­form at the Cool FM Jingle Ball. ‘We were hop­ing it would do well, but I don’t think any of us ex­pected a num­ber one. It was mad re­ally.’

Hav­ing been to­gether just seven months makes the bands achieve­ment all the more as­ton­ish­ing, but hardly sur­pris­ing given Louis Walsh’s in­volve­ment and the fact that he’s al­ready billing them as po­ten­tially be­ing a new One Di­rec­tion.

With chart top­ping suc­cess comes big shows and Josh and the rest of the band had their first ex­pe­ri­ence of a mas­sive show when they played the Chee­rios Childline Con­cert in the 3 Arena. ‘ That was crazy as well,’ said Josh, who is the youngest band mem­ber.

‘I was shak­ing be­fore­hand. Hope­fully it didn’t dis­tract too much from the per­for­mance. It was surreal get­ting to share a stage with the likes of McBusted and Shane Filan and to play some­where like the 3 Arena was un­be­liev­able. Hope­fully we can make it back there again.’

Back home in Bless­ing­ton, cham­pagne corks were pop­ping as the news of Home­town top­ping the charts ar­rived.

Josh’s par­ents Cather­ine and Aaron and his lit­tle sis­ter Alex are all de­lighted about his new­found star­dom.

‘Ev­ery­one back home has been re­ally great about it,’ said Josh. ‘My friends and of course my fam­ily are all de­lighted for me. My lit­tle sis­ter is a re­ally big One Di­rec­tion fan, but I think she’s start­ing to un­der­stand and be­come a Home­town fan now! Un­for­tu­nately I haven’t made it home for a while now be­cause I’ve been so busy with the band, but it’s great when I do make it back to Bless­ing­ton to see ev­ery­one.’

With a num­ber one sin­gle un­der his belt, Josh will find that when he does make it home, ev­ery­one will be out to con­grat­u­late him.

‘We’re start­ing to get recog­nised a bit on the street and that now al­right,’ he said.

‘We’ve no airs or graces about us or any­thing like that though. We just take ev­ery­thing as it comes, but it is weird.’

Josh re­mains busy for the next few weeks as he per­forms with the band in the Olympia Panto ‘Aladdin’ and then their sights will turn on the UK.

‘Hope­fully the new sin­gle will do well,’ he said. ‘We’re plan­ning on head­ing over to the UK for a bit to get our name out over there and hope­fully things will go well.’

With a num­ber one sin­gle and a per­for­mance at the 3 Arena un­der his belt at the age of just 17, you can be sure that this is just the be­gin­ning for Josh Gray and Home­town.

(Above) Louis Walsh with the mem­bers of Home­town, in­clud­ing Bless­ing­ton’s Josh Gray(sec­ond from right); and (right) Josh’s Twit­ter re­ac­tion to the band reach­ing no.1.

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