Essex Britain’s Got Talent star releasing Christmas album
- Credit: Archant
Britain’s Got Talent star Jonathan Antoine talks about his first Christmas album, mental health and his love for Hainault
Jonathan Antoine first rose to stardom after appearing on the sixth series of the award-winning show, Britain’s Got Talent in 2012. He as one half of the classical duo Jonathan and Charlotte, and their appearance on the show went on to become the world’s most viewed television audition of any performer in history.
Eight years later, after releasing two best-selling albums with his Britain’s Got Talent singing partner, Charlotte Jaconelli, the 25-year-old star went on to further success as a solo artist, becoming the youngest tenor to achieve a number one classical album. Now, the Essex phenomenon is to release his first ever Christmas album, ChristmasLand on December 4.
‘It has been a very busy time during lockdown, it’s basically been non-stop,’ says Jonathan. ‘In terms of musical releases, it has been the most active year of my entire career.’
ChristmasLand follows Jonathan’s first album in four years, Going The Distance, which was released earlier this year and went on to become a number one best seller in the UK Classical Chart. Jonathan recorded ChristmasLand at one of the most famous recording studios in the world, London’s Abbey Road Studios.
Working with talent spanning across three different time zones, the album was produced by Grammy award-winning Gregg Field remotely from LA. While also featuring the phenomenal Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, New Zealand’s Choristers of Wellington Cathedral of St Paul and the Tudor Choir.
‘In all this chaos, Abbey Road Studios became a home away from home for me,’ he says. ‘It is such a remarkable place. With all this Covid-19 stuff, I had to be separated from the orchestra and regulated to my own booth.’
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As we all live through these unpredictable times, Jonathan hopes his Christmas album will give people a little bit of certainty during the festive season. ‘I spent the last 25 years with my family and right now it is a different holiday for everyone across the world,’ he says. ‘I can’t go out and cure people, but I can sing along to some music. So that is something I can do and maybe it helps someone.’
The album includes an exhilarating selection of internationally-loved Christmas classics including O Holy Night, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing and Jonathan’s all-time favourite, White Christmas. Jonathan explains: ‘White Christmas is a track I have wanted to record way before I even had a recording career. My version comes from an older version, so I think people will be surprised by this rendition.’
Jonathan demonstrates humility and compassion, despite his numerous accomplishments at such a young age, and the Essex star finds the simple pleasures in life more of an achievement.
‘My biggest career highlight is today,’ he explains. ‘I am alive doing what I love and experience another day. I get to talk to interesting people and talk about myself, which is crazy. Every single second I get to experience this beautiful life, it is the new best moment.’
Born and bred in Hainault, the singing sensation says he wouldn’t have got involved in singing if it wasn’t for the people around him.
Jonathan recalls how his teacher in Year Four thought he had a good voice and encouraged him to join the choir. He enrolled at West Hatch High School in Chigwell, which he describes as being ‘filled with people from all different kinds of backgrounds, which was one of the beautiful things about the place’. It turned out to be a very prominent time for the Essex star as this is where he met his singing coach Jenny Ewington.
‘She happened to be teaching me at my high school and we ended up developing quite a beautiful friendship. It was such a positive experience and she really guided me through,’ he says.
Apart from being a global sensation and humanitarian, Jonathan is an outspoken supporter and ambassador for the rights and well-being of young people. He has co-authored a children’s book, Jonathan and The Porcupine, which aims to help children to overcome bullying.
‘I still suffer. Not every day do I wake up and feel 100%, but that is normal,’ he says. ‘Mental health is not talked about enough and it shouldn’t be a thing. It shouldn’t be a surprise when someone doesn’t feel 100%. When there are kids who are feeling a certain way, that emotion and feeling will carry with them forever, so I think it is really important to educate one another and try to empathise with each person you see.’
Jonathan’s tour, Going The Distance was like the thousands of other tours that were cancelled this year because of the pandemic, but is rescheduled for April 2021. So has this album provided a type of escapism to help him get through the uncertainty of this pandemic. ‘100%,’ he says. ‘I can say that without hesitation. I think it is a time where all of us need a bit of escapism. There are global situations and then closer to home situations.’
‘We have been thrown lots of challenges, but we must take them in turn and press on.’
Jonathan Antoine’s new album ChristmasLand is out on 4 December. For more information, visit jonathanantoinemusic.com