G4 are coming to Derry’s Millennium Forum on Saturday 9th September. Having watched them on the X-Factor back in 2004, I really was delighted to get the chance to interview these guys last week. Here’s what they had to say ahead of their Derry visit.
1.You shot to fame in 2004 on the first series of X-Factor. Did you ever envisage back then just how popular and loved you and your music would be now in 2017?
Jon: NEVER! It was a total shock that the music we were uniquely creating became so widely appreciated by the public. We were blown away by it.
Nick: Nope! It’s great that something about our music seems to resonate with so many people. It means we can keep touring so they can see us live in concert, and we can keep doing something we love! Win win really.
Mike: If someone said to us back in 2004 that we’d still be performing together as a group 13 years later I don’t think we’d have believed it! It seems the appetite for what we are doing is constantly growing which blows us away and keeps us inspired to keep going!
Ben: In no way. We all just wanted to sing and loved doing that. Singing would be something I would do for free as a hobby, even if it couldn’t be a career.
2. Was the few years break that you took beneficial? Has it made you stronger now as a band? Jon: It was essential to have the break, as sadly we were unable to continue working together at the time in 2007. Having the chance to develop musically and personally for the following years has definitely made us stronger a group.
Nick: That time gave us the chance to grow as musicians and grow up as people! That’s pretty invaluable for the freshness of the group. It helps us to strive for performing the best we possibly can all the time. One day we’ll get there!
Mike: It’s been vital to our development. We’ve all had the chance to do our own things during the break, and subsequently to bring those skills back to the group. This has made us all able to bring more to the table, and ultimately make the group better and stronger.
Ben: For sure. We all went away and built careers and experiences. Those experiences have made the product stronger than it was before. When you’re young, and things come to you all at once, it can be very difficult to process. We’re in a good place and keen to work hard and share our music with you!
3. G4’s music is welcomed as strongly and warmly, if not even more so, now on your most recent tour and album. What is it that makes you guys so strong in all that you do?
Jon: We are hugely passionate about what we do and love every minute. We have also trained professionally as opera singers and draw on our expertise in every song we arrange to really put a unique G4 stamp on it.
Nick: I think musically we’ve got a rare wide vocal range, in both pitch and colour. Jon sings stupidly high, and nick grumbles out silly low notes. And we can all sing in such a spread of styles. This means our trademark four part harmony stamp can be put on such diverse songs. There aren’t many songs we won’t have a crack at arranging!
Mike: We are constantly learning and improving, and relish embracing new challenges which helps us to grow as artistes.
Ben: Our individual, unique and varied skill sets, and our ability to take advice and criticism off each other.
4. How have you all changed in the past 13 years?
Jon: Well there’s been huge change personally for us all as we grow as adults. I have got two young children now, Siena 6yrs and Dexter 2yrs. The children have certainly given me a new perspective on life and bring me such huge joy when I come home from tour and they both run up to me at the door shouting, “Daddy, Daddy!!” Priceless!!
Mike: We’re all a bit older, and hopefully wiser, and now we have a healthy balance between doing G4 together and having our own solo projects alongside. The first time around we did G4 24-7 and it was too intense.
Ben: I think we’ve matured and seen some of the world. First time round, I’d never had time in the “outside world”: it had been school, then music college, then G4. We have learned so much.
5. You are playing at the Millennium Forum in Derry next month. Are you looking forward to that?
Jon: We are over the moon to come to the Millennium Forum for the very first time with our latest tour. Bring it on!!
Nick: Hugely! I always love visiting northern Ireland. Such friendly and welcoming people, means it doesn’t matter if it rains. It’s an amazing venue as well. Even if the dyslexic part of me is a bit disappointed that it’s not the millennium falcon…
Mike: Can’t wait! I’ve never been to Derry before and we are making our Derry debut as a group. We will be joined on stage by Derry soprano Margaret Keys as our special guest, who is a great friend of ours, and we have heard so much about Derry from her, that we’re so looking forward to finally being there!
Ben: I love visiting Ireland. It’s always such a warm reception and I’ve heard it’s a great theater to perform in.
6. What has been the highlight of your career to date?
Jon: Performing at the Proms in the Park, Hyde Park, London with 45,000 people all singing Bohemian Rhapsody with us. We even had god on our side that night as just on cue with the lyrics we had “thunderbolts and lightning”.
Nick: So many come to mind! Personally speaking it was probably performing a solo recital in a stunning temple in Japan, but with G4 probably performing alongside the legends that are Lesley Garrett and Merrill Osmond. A night I won’t be forgetting in a hurry!
Mike: When our debut album went to No.1 in the charts and sold 245,000 copies in the first week alone. That was an incredible feeling!
Ben: So many, but for me, the Royal Albert Hall has a special atmosphere to it: I’ve been lucky to perform there, both with G4 and under my own steam.
7. What does the future hold for G4?
Jon: A huge amount of shows and the chance to take our music back to Asia with more concerts in Korea. Who knows what else might happen?
Nick: Alongside more UK tours we’re starting to look east to China and South Korea. Should be interesting to see what they make of our music, Ben’s dancing, and my terrible jokes.
Mike: We already have 60 headline tour dates booked next year, and that’s after our September dates this year following by our 22-date Christmas tour in November and December in the UK. So that’s plenty to get our teeth stuck into!
Ben: Hopefully more of the same, for as long as people will have us! We are constantly reliant on public support, and so far it’s been incredibly humbling. Thank you!
I know I for one am very looking forward to seeing the lads in Derry in just over one weeks time. I still recall seeing them on X-Factor on that first audition, and thinking, ‘oh no, they’re classical.’ Boy how my head turned when they began to sing. It still turns today when I hear them and I’m looking forward to many heads being turned on that Saturday night in Derry. They really will blow you away.
For more details and booking info, go to booking at Millennium Forum or call the Box Office on: 02871264455.