Tony Cowell talks to Aled Jones

Aled Jones, 46, talks about the big­gest ‘pinch me’ mo­ments of his ca­reer, and singing with his son, Lu­cas

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By the ten­der age of 16, Welsh singer Aled Jones had recorded 16 al­bums and sold over 6 mil­lion records world­wide. Aled, who cur­rently fronts ITV chat show

Week­end, has sung for some of the most fa­mous peo­ple in the world, in­clud­ing the late Princess Diana. He talks about those un­for­get­table mo­ments, plus his new al­bum – which fea­tures vo­cals from his son – and re­veals why the late Sir Terry Wo­gan was his true hero.

Your sched­ule is hec­tic – have you al­ways had a strong work ethic?

When I was a kid, I was al­ways com­plain­ing be­cause I was tired but, back then, I was al­ways tour­ing. I was only in the pub­lic eye for four years – I think my life is more man­age­able now. I en­joy my work, and it’s not as if I’m go­ing down a coal mine ev­ery day. I have been very lucky.

You had your first hit in 1985, with Walk­ing In The Air from The Snow­man. How im­por­tant were your par­ents at that time?

They were fan­tas­tic, given that nei­ther of them had any ex­pe­ri­ence of the en­ter­tain­ment busi­ness. They both had nor­mal jobs. What they were re­ally good at was keep­ing the pres­sure off me. We would make all the big de­ci­sions to­gether, sit­ting at the kitchen ta­ble. My par­ents never ex­ploited me, which was lovely. They even turned down an ap­pear­ance on The Tonight Show Star­ring Johnny Car­son be­cause I wanted to go to Dis­ney­land!

Dur­ing that four-year pe­riod of fame, you sang for the Queen, the Pope and Princess Diana. How do you look back on it now?

Well, singing in the liv­ing room at Kens­ing­ton Palace, in front of the Prince and Princess of Wales, takes some beat­ing. It was quite sur­real.

How did that come about?

Prince Charles rang my dad at work and said, ‘I want to hear your son sing be­fore his voice breaks,’ and my dad went, ‘ What­ever,’ and put the phone down. But they did ring back and, two days later, we were in their liv­ing room. Diana came in with wet hair, hav­ing been swim­ming, and we sat down and sang for an hour. I dropped a glass of wa­ter on the car­pet, and she said, ‘The boys [ Wil­liam and Harry] do it all the time, so don’t worry.’ It was re­ally one of those mo­ments you just don’t for­get.

You also sang at the wed­ding of Sir Bob Geldof and Paula Yates in 1986…

Yes, that was an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. But I was still so young, and I re­mem­ber that all I was in­ter­ested in dur­ing the day was chas­ing around try­ing to get the pop group Span­dau Bal­let’s au­to­graphs!

Do you re­call meet­ing with Sir Richard Bran­son when he signed you to his la­bel, Vir­gin Records?

Yes. I went to meet him on this house­boat where he lived. He was lovely. I re­mem­ber him say­ing to me, ‘I haven’t a clue how we are go­ing to sell your record.’ I learned he’d signed me be­cause his dad used to play my songs in his car.

You had a hit record with Sir Terry Wo­gan for Chil­dren In Need – what was he like?

He was such a big hero of mine. He made more im­pact

on me than any­one else. I think I went on his TV show, Wo­gan, seven times. Know­ing him in adult life, I learned so much from him. I was lucky to be able to call Sir Terry a mate – he was a mav­er­ick, but also a very kind man. The song I did with him in 2008, Lit­tle Drum­mer Boy/Peace On Earth, turned out to be my big­gest hit. We got to No.2 in the charts.

On your new al­bum, you duet with your younger self. How did that hap­pen?

My par­ents found an old tape of me singing – in their air­ing cup­board! They were songs that had never been re­leased, so I tried singing along with some of them and I found it quite emo­tional. I made what was the first al­bum in a tril­ogy. This new al­bum is the last.

Tell me what hap­pened when 78-year-old Brian Saun­der­son got in touch with you…

Brian was a tenor who worked on my early al­bums. He found an old reel-to-reel tape on his bookshelf of me singing, aged nine. Again, these were some of the very first songs I’d recorded, but they had never been re­leased. So he sent them to me and we used them on the new al­bum.

Your 12-year-old son, Lu­cas, joins you for a track on the al­bum. Tell me how that came about?

I heard him singing around the house and thought, ‘ Wow, he has a good voice!’ So I asked him to come to the stu­dio with me one day. He just rat­tled off a ver­sion of The Lord Is My Shep­herd in one take. Now he thinks my job is re­ally easy.

Your daugh­ter, Emilia, 15, is an ac­tress. How do you feel about that?

I have noth­ing but good things to say about what has hap­pened to Emilia in her in­dus­try. I’ve al­ways sup­ported her in ev­ery way. All I’ve said is, ‘If the joy goes out of it, don’t do it any more.’ I’m very proud of her.

Aled’s al­bum, One Voice: Be­lieve is out now on Clas­sic FM Records

Aled was 15 when he sang at Paula Yates’ wed­ding in 1986

Lu­cas, 12, lends his tal­ents to Dad’s lat­est al­bum Per­form­ing for Princess Diana is a fond mem­ory

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