X Fac­tor Ben charts new life in pop world

ROAD TO STAR­DOM: TV show star re­leases de­but album

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - OPINION -

THIS time last year, Ben Mills was get­ting up at the crack of dawn to stand in muddy fields all day. The mar­quee busi­ness he ran in Char­ing with his sis­ter Gemma was flour­ish­ing and he spent his spare time fronting bands across the county.

But the mu­si­cian, a for­mer pupil at Ash­ford’s Tow­ers School, dreamed of de­vel­op­ing his tal­ents and mak­ing a ca­reer in the mu­sic in­dus­try.

Now, 12 months later, that dream has be­come a re­al­ity with the re­lease of the 27-yearold’s de­but album last week.

And any early starts th­ese days are more likely to be so he can ap­pear on break­fast television shows or travel across the coun­try for an au­to­graph ses­sion.

Af­ter im­press­ing the judges on television tal­ent show X Fac­tor, Ben won an army of fans with his grav­elly voice and se­cured mil­lions of votes each week. Al­though he fin­ished in third place in the com­pe­ti­tion, he still won a record deal, and months in the stu­dio fol­lowed while he recorded the tracks.

The album, Pic­ture of You, in­cludes many of the favourites from the com­pe­ti­tion, in­clud­ing Ben’s ver­sions of Rod Ste­wart’s Mag­gie May and Sam Cooke’s Bring It On Home To Me. It also in­cludes some of his own work.

Ben, who was de­lighted to see the album com­pleted, said: “The tracks are both a sou­venir for the peo­ple who watched and loved X Fac­tor and an in­tro­duc­tion to my own songs.”

Ben, whose mother Bar­bara lives in Ken­ning­ton and is a teacher at Willes­bor­ough In­fants School, cel­e­brated his birth­day at the be­gin­ning of this month with an ap­pear­ance on GMTV.

He said that he was over the moon to be liv­ing his dream of work­ing as a pro­fes­sional mu­si­cian.

“The songs on my album are sung from the heart, and I re­ally be­lieve they have the abil­ity to touch peo­ple,” he said.

“I want to con­nect with peo­ple long-term be­cause I am here to stay. I’m hav­ing the time of my life.”

Pic­ture Gerry Whit­taker pd1135113

Ben Mills, cen­tre, gets an en­thu­si­as­tic greet­ing from his sup­port­ers

Ben Mills’ de­but album Pic­ture of You is sell­ing well lo­cally

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