Leeds singer lets it shine in talent show success

Five To Five performing on the final of Let It Shine on BBC One.  Leeds's own Curtis T Johns is second from left. PIC: PA
Five To Five performing on the final of Let It Shine on BBC One. Leeds's own Curtis T Johns is second from left. PIC: PA
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A Leeds lad had his first day in a new job yesterday – rehearsing to play a boy band member in a new touring musical based on Take That.

Songwriter Curtis T Johns, 23, is a member of five-piece group Five to Five, who were crowned winners of the BBC show Let It Shine in a live final on Saturday night.

Curtis and his band-mates AJ Bentley, Sario Solomon, Nick Carsberg and fellow Yorkshire singer Yazdan Qafouri, from Great Ayton, have now landed themselves a year’s contract as stars of a musical inspired by the story of pop legends, Take That.

Commenting on his Facebook page last night Curtis said: “Saturday evening was beyond everything I could have wished for.

“I can’t describe just how much this opportunity meant to me and the boys. Thank you for being part of this journey and for supporting me and the boys throughout the last eight weeks.

“We are heading into crazy days with heads held very high. And of course come September 8, my birthday, we will be debuting The Band Musical in Manchester Apollo. Wow.”

Five to Five wowed the judges – Take That’s Gary Barlow, Dannii Minogue and actor and former Spandau Ballet member Martin Kemp, as well as the voting public, with their live performances.

Five to Five also saw off competition from the other two bands in the final, Nightfall and Drive, with their renditions of You Can’t Stop The Beat from musical Hairspray and Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus.

But head judge Gary Barlow, who has been developing the musical with former EastEnders star Jack Ryder, told the group the hard work starts now.

He said: “You know we start work tomorrow morning, right? We go on stage in September in Manchester.”


Curtis, from Seacroft, is no stranger to the music industry.

He has over 120 songs already penned at home and has written lyrics for X Factor stars Matt Cardle and Ray Quinn, performed a cover of Put Your Records On by Leeds artist Corinne Bailey Rae and is being mentored by established songwriters John Beck and Steve Chrisanthou, who have worked with Will Young and Paloma Faith.

He recently visited Barwick-in-Elmet Church of England Primary School to talk and sing with the children.

Fiona Evans, performing arts teacher also taught Curtis when he was in Year 7 at David Young Community Academy.

She said: “I think back to our school productions and I’m so proud to have watched him grow as a person and as an artist. I just knew he’d go far.”

Curtis is a self-taught pianist and songwriter.

Back in 2008, Curtis’s teachers at the David Young Community Academy in Seacroft told the Yorkshire Evening Post they had earmarked the then-14-year-old for stardom. He had already written two musicals and over 100 songs.

He and husband, rugby coach Carl Thewlis-Johns, own and run Far Moss Sports Ground in Alwoodley, home to rugby union club Moortown and league side North Leeds Leopards.


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