Former Burnham schoolboy returns as pop star

This is The West Country: George Shelley (second from the right) with band members George Shelley (second from the right) with band members

A FORMER Burnham schoolboy returns home next month ... as a pop star.

King Alfred-schooled George Shelley, now one quarter of heartthrob boyband Union J, says his Somerset homecoming next month in what he says will be his “most emotional” 2014 show.

It’s been two years since the Since then he has graduated The X Factor, signed with Sony, had Top 40 chart hits, and is now writing for the group’s second album, due for release later this year.

On June 29 the 20-year-old ‘baby’ of the band will fulfil a long-held dream and play Weston Beach for one-day music festival, South West Live. The former pupil of St Andrew’s Junior School, Burnham, joins a sparkling line-up of acts, including Jessie J, Jason Derulo, Katy B and Rizzle Kicks for the music scorcher.

“I’m a Somerset boy,” the guitar-playing George tells the Weekly News. “I’ve lived in Burnham, Taunton and Weston, and all my family still live in the county.

“The weirdest thing is that I used to go to college and uni in Weston, and had a Saturday job in Costa in the High Street.

“Two or three years ago I was serving coffee to a load of wet teenagers when T4 on the Beach was going on, and thought, I want to be at the festival, I don’t want to be serving people coffee! Two years later I’m the one performing.”

Reflecting on his former-pupil’s success, Simon Aylward, assistant head of Burnham’s King Alfred School, said: “We are obviously very pleased when any of our students do well in any of their fields, and wish him the best of luck in the pop world.”

George joined Union J after catching the band’s eye as a solo performer, with his acoustic take on Britney’s ‘Toxic’. Today, his guitar collection spans a controlled six.

He says: “Two of them are baby guitars, transportable, so I can take them on planes and stuff. They just sound a little bit duller.

“Then I’ve got my studio guitar, which is the one I record on, and then one that was my first guitar that my granddad bought me when I was 13. JJ (fellow band member) is trying to learn, and I’m trying to teach him, but he can’t quite handle the frets yet.”

So with the weeks ticking away until South West Live finally touches down, what is this Somerset boy most looking forward to?

“Knowing that it’s at home, and playing to fans. It just adds to the specialness of it. And seeing all the other acts – Jessie J is really cool, we love hanging out with her.

“I think this will be the most emotional date. It’s just exciting that it’s in Weston.

“We all try to go back home as much as we can. We all find that the more time we spend at home with our family, the more grounded we are.”

o SUMMER Weekender tickets to see McBusted on Saturday, June 28, and South-West Live, by UK Live, on Sunday, June 29, – featuring Union J – are £60, available from www.aeglive.co.uk or www.uklive.co.uk

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