AT JUST 18-years-old Aiden Grimshaw, found himself on The X-factor, dressed up in a silvery jacket, singing Elton John’s Rocket Man on The X Factor.
“Even while I was singing it,” he said, “I remember thinking, ‘What are you doing, Aiden?’”
As long as he can remember, Aiden wanted to perform. After he stole the show in his junior school production of Grease, he began singing lessons and loved it.
Growing up in Blackpool, Aiden commented: “music was always on wherever I was, from the golden oldies and Century FM round at Grandma and Granddad’s, to being forced to listen to Chaka Khan while mum was cleaning!
“Then there was my dad’s punk and indie collection: The Jam, The Clash, Joy Division, Stereo MCs, James, Bob Marley and Dexys.”
But in Blackpool there was no real music scene to tap in to. Aiden did some singing at weddings and in hotels, but stopped when someone told him that he had a bright future as an entertainer on cruise ships.
He had ambition, but no real direction, even when he auditioned for The X Factor, with a striking a cappella version of Kanye West’s Gold Digger.
He said: “I didn’t really know what I wanted from it. I love music, and I knew I could sing, but I didn’t think I was X Factor material.”
Nonetheless, he reached the finals in 2010, and after grinding through assigned cover versions on the subsequent tour, he realised it was time to get to work.
So he moved to London, set up a home studio in the spare bedroom of his flat, and started meeting writers and producers to work on songs. At first, he didn’t have a record label, but he always had a crack A&R team in the shape of his friends from Blackpool.
He’d go up for the weekend, play them the latest tracks he’d written and get their feedback and support. He met Steve Rushton, who became a friend and regular collaborator, and the pair began to shape songs for debut album, Misty Eye.
He signed to Sony, met producer/writer Jarrad Rogers (Lana del Rey, Tinchy Stryder), and was suddenly totally focused.
He might not be at the arenas he played during the X Factor tour, but Aiden is far more comfortable going it alone.
n For tickets (which are £11), visit www.ticketmaster.co.uk. The show is on September 27, at King Tuts Wah Wah Hut and starts at 8pm.