X Factor’s Jahméne Douglas and Kingsland Road are coming to Brighton, performing at The Hove Centre on Saturday, April 5, in a stand-alone concert after the TeenStar regional final that day.
For Jahméne, it’s an appropriate gig. TeenStar is run by Future Music who also staged Open Mic UK, which he entered early on in his career, long before finding fame on X-Factor.
“It was one of the many competitions I tried out for,” he laughs. “It’s just one of the best things you can do. You just need to enter everything. You get the confidence and the experience.
“You can’t work a crowd unless you have tried working a crowd!”
Open Mic UK didn’t work out for Jahméne, but he certainly looks back on it all as a stepping stone towards all that has happened since, particularly the remarkable run he had on X Factor, eventually finishing runner-up to James Arthur on the ninth series in 2012.
Clearly you don’t have to actually win it. He is now signed to Sony Music and has a UK number one album under his belt.
“We were lucky in our year. We had a lot of support. Lots of people were going on Twitter. Yoko Ono tweeted me in my first week! She loved my version of Imagine. She said it was a beautiful version!”
Since then, things have been ram-packed, he says. “It’s hard to take it all in.
“It has been a massive jump. It does feel like ages ago that I was working in Asda. It was a good place to work, but I loved my singing!”
But as he says, England is a hard place for singers who don’t have a guitar around their necks or who aren’t part of a band: “It’s just harder for us singer singers.”
Adding to the pressure was the fact that Jahméne was on witness protection at the time: “From trying to hide, I was coming out in front of the cameras and on TV. But I had felt like I was being imprisoned. I wanted to take control.”
And taking control is what he is now doing as he works towards his second album.
The first one, which came out last summer and went to number one, was an album of covers: “It was supposed to be a duets album. I was quite annoyed that it didn’t work out. That was what I wanted to do.”
But he will be much more in charge for the second album for which he is already writing a lot of songs: “I am putting everything into it, all my music, all my spirit. The first album was part of the X Factor conveyor belt. The second album will be different. It will be quite mixed.”
It will be about getting away from fake sounds, from false instruments, from all the computer trickery. He wants the sound of the piano, the sound of the melodies, the sound of the music. He wants it all to be pure.
“I am trying to get gospel sound, a soul sound. I am hoping the album will be out.... Well, I don’t know. The record companies always like to change things. You get given a date and then it all changes. But I think it will be September – though I am hoping that it will be sooner.”
For Jahméne, it’s all about moving on from the X Factor experience: “But at the same time I have to nod my head to it and all that happened.”
Kingsland Road have had great success after reaching the live shows on last year’s X Factor and breaking Twitter records.
At Hove, supporting Jahméne Douglas and Kingsland Road will be X Factor contestants Giles Potter and Alejandro Fernadez Holt, both of whom are also previous Open Mic UK contestants.
The concert starts about 8pm.
Tickets are available from SeeTickets, TicketWeb, Gigantic, WeGotTickets and Fatsoma. See www.seetickets.com/event/jahmene-douglas-kingsland-road/the-hove-centre-town-hall/769105.