He’s now in his 40s, but Aled Jones tells Sarah Freeman how he has been reunited with the angelic choirboy the world fell in love with.
Having found himself catapulted into the spotlight as that angelic young choir boy thanks to that rendition of Walking in the Air, Jones spent his early teens performing for royalty and racking up album sales of more than six million.
It was, he admits, a pretty surreal time and now, having rediscovered a forgotten album in his parents’ airing cupboard, all those old memories have come flooding back.
“I was incredibly lucky. From that one recording of Walking in the Air came so many opportunities,” says Jones, now 45. “You move on, you do other things, but having found this old album it made me realise just how how much has happened.”
The never-released album of folk songs set Jones thinking and he was soon back in the recording studio duetting with his younger self.
“I guess it was a bit of a gamble and none of us new quite how it would turn out. However, the harmonies really worked and within a few bars I knew that we were onto something. When the producer played back the first recordings, it was one of those moments that really give you goose pimples.”
The result of those sessions is One Voice and having gone straight to number one in both Amazon’s and iTunes classical charts, it seems to have caused much the same reaction among Jones’s fans.
“It is, I think, the most personal album I have ever released. Even after all these years I still get nervous whenever I put new work out. You never know what the reaction will be, but it’s been incredible. I have pinched myself rather a lot in the last few days.”
The release of the album, which features classic folk songs from Danny Boy to O Rowan Tree, coincides with Jones’ 22-date tour of Britain’s cathedrals, which will see him perform tracks from One Voice as well as some old favourites.
“There is something special about performing in a cathedral. Most of the concerts I do these days are in theatres and the stages are pretty interchangeable. However, every cathedral has its own atmosphere.
“They each have fantastic acoustics and it does lend a very special quality to the sound. It’s a bit of a cliché, but on a tour like this every night is a little bit different.”
As well as the new album, Jones has also carved out a successful career as a television and radio presenter. However, while he has successfully escaped the usual curse which has seen many a child star struggle with life after fame, he knows that he will never quite escape his past.
“If I ever tried to do a concert which didn’t feature You Raise Me Up, I suspect the audience would probably lynch me. That’s always been a favourite, but fortunately I like it too, so I am more than happy to give them what they want.”