Leeds singing star Curtis wows on Let It Shine

Curtis Johns on Let It Shine
Curtis Johns on Let It Shine
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A young Leeds businessman has dazzled audiences on Gary Barlow's new TV talent show.

Self-taught pianist and songwriter Curtis Johns, 23, gave a stunning performance on Saturday night's episode of Let It Shine, which aims to find five men to form a boyband to star in a Take That-themed musical.

Curtis, who grew up in Seacroft and has written songs for X-Factor star Matt Cardle, performed a cover of a track by another local artist - Corinne Bailey Rae's Put Your Records On.

Talented Curtis was awarded 19 stars out of a possible 20 from the judging panel, a score which will see him safely through to the next round.

He and his husband, rugby coach Carl Thewlis-Johns, own and run the Far Moss Sports Ground in Alwoodley, which is home to rugby union club Moortown and league side North Leeds Leopards as well as a bar and function venue.

Curtis wrote several tracks on Cardle's latest album, and has also written for Ray Quinn. He is mentored by established songwriters John Beck and Steve Chrisanthou, who have worked with Will Young and Paloma Faith. He toured Tennessee recently and is recording an EP.

Curtis's appearance on the show led to congratulatory Tweets from a number of stars from both music and sport. He was praised by international rugby union referee Nigel Owens and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats player Keegan Hirst, both of whom are openly gay.

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.

“In 17 years of teaching, I have never met anyone like Curtis,” said the school’s head of performing arts, Andrew Renshaw, at the time.

“He is a phenomenal talent, just so naturally gifted. It’s not just the quantity of songs he produces, but the quality. I’ve no doubt he could be a huge star one day.”