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What's On: Music: G-whizz, what a rapid rise to top.

Byline: By Andy Coleman

SINGING sensations G4 have gone from being classically trained hopefuls to chart-topping stars in just 12 months - but vocalist Jon Ansell only appreciated the level of their success during a visit to his hometown.

"We had a gig near my home in Bognor Regis, so I visited my family and as I walked down the high street I spotted someone wearing a G4 T-shirt," he recalls.

"It was a bizarre moment because it was the first time I'd seen someone wearing one of our T-shirts away from concerts or signings. "I stopped and chatted and the lady's daughter embarrassed her by telling mehow much her mum liked me!" What a difference a year makes, continues 23-year-old Jon.

"Twelve months earlier we'd been busking and trying to get people to stop and listen. It's such a weird jump to where we are now and I'm still coming to terms with it."

Since coming second on TV talent show The X Factor G4 - Jon, Matt Stiff, aged 25, Mike Christie, aged 24 and 23-year-old Ben Thapa - have completed a sold-out, 25-date tour of the UK, written their autobiography and reached number one with their debut album.

The forthcoming follow-up album features some of the group's famous friends.

"We've got Sir Cliff Richard, Lesley Garrett and Robin Gibb on the record," reveals Jon. "We really didn't know what to expectwhen they came into the recording studio - we were waiting in anticipation!

"But they were all great. Lesley, who sang Barcelona with us, was lovelier than we could ever have expected.

"We were a little anxious about Robin and Sir Cliff because they were joining us on songs with which they'd had big hits - The First of May and Miss You Nights.

"Robin was so pleased with the collaboration he invited us to perform at ITV's 50th anniversary show. Sir Cliff had some trepidation about the choral arrangement of Miss You Nights but he seemed very happy with the result."

Jon says he hopes the album, G4 & Friends, is a success because he'd like to make another. "We've approached Sir Elton John and Brian May for the next one," he reveals


FAN-TASTIC... G4 (from left Jon, Ben, Mike and Matt) sing Bohemian Rhapsody at a booksigning at Borders in the Bull Ring last week
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Oct 21, 2005
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