X Factor Ben charts new life in pop world
ROAD TO STARDOM: TV show star releases debut album
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.”
Ben Mills, centre, gets an enthusiastic greeting from his supporters
Ben Mills’ debut album Picture of You is selling well locally