X FACTOR star Aston Merrygold was destined for a life on the stage and screen from the beginning, according to his former singing coach.
X FACTOR star Aston Merrygold was destined for a life on the stage and screen from the beginning, according to his former singing coach.Tim Ochala-Greenough honed a teenage Aston Merrygold's singing talents before the JLS star had reached the top – and said he always knew the Peterborough superstar had the X Factor.
Mr Ochala-Greenough watched Aston's big moment on Saturday with interest, when the former Jack Hunt pupil and JLS band mates Marvin Humes, Oritse Williams and JB Gill performed in the ITV talent contest final.
And although the group lost out to Alexandra Burke at the death, the foursome have been tipped to top the charts in the future by many music experts.
Aston first came to Mr Ochala-Greenough for advice after his appearance as Michael Jackson on Kids Stars in their Eyes in 2002.
And while the band will be looking to make their own mark on the music scene, Mr Ochala Greenough remembers when the teenager just wanted to sound like his hero.
X Factor: Aston and The JLS journey in words, pictures and video
He said: "When he first came to me aged around 12 or 13, he just wanted to sing like Michael Jackson.
"I wasn't keen on that, and wanted to make his voice just right for him, not just copying someone else.
"I saw him twice a week for three or four years, and by the end I knew he would have a performing career.
"I knew he wanted to go into pop music, but I was sceptical about whether he could get the break that he has got – you need to be in the right place at the right time to get that break, no matter how talented you are.
"He is a very good actor as well as a singer, and I thought he would go into musical theatre.
"Aston also has the perfect personality for the stage. He really knows how to sell a song, and you can tell he enjoys singing.
"He has a fantastic high voice, but can also belt out a hit when he needs to, so I'm sure he will go a long way.
"I am very proud of his success."
The singing teacher from Stamford said Aston's success had not come easily, and like many stars there had been many hours of practice behind the scenes.
He said: "Aston was quite quiet in lessons, and didn't talk too much, but he was the model pupil.
"He would always listen to what I had to say, and do what he was told.
"He was totally committed, and would show up on time every day.
"I could tell he was very talented from an early age, and he just worked and worked at it.
"His mum and his family have always been supportive of his dream, and that has really helped him."