A graduate from the University of Chester’s Warrington campus is aiming for chart success this Christmas as his group, the Great British Barbershop Boys, competes against the world’s biggest stars in the album charts.
Alan Hughes, 24, from Warrington, is one quarter of Sony’s latest million-pound signings whose recently released album Christmas Time is set to be a big selling success.
Commercial Music Production graduate Alan, who is also a trainee teacher, has been barbershop singing his whole life after being introduced to the music by his father.
Alan, said: “My dad has always been into barbershop singing and we always used to listen to it when we were on long car journeys. I started singing myself when I was 10 and carried on all the way through university.
“I joined the National Barbershop Youth Chorus and that’s where I met the rest of the group and we became great friends.”
The rest of the group are lead singer Zac Booles, a Sign Writer who lives near Loughborough; bass Duncan Blackeby, an IT Project Manager from York and baritone Joe Knight, who works for Nottinghamshire Police.
They were discovered while representing the UK at the International Barbershop Convention in Philadelphia and invited to visit a number of record labels in London.
Alan, who is the group’s tenor, said: “We went to visit Sony Records and just started singing in the offices. Most people send in a demo CD so we were certainly different!
“From there it’s just been a whirlwind. We made our CD during August and September so it’s been non-stop! It’s a fun and light-hearted album of favourite Christmas songs. We’ve just been so busy doing promotions including singing on the Terry Wogan show for Radio Two and singing at the Coronation Street 50 th anniversary party. I can’t believe how it’s happened. ”
Alan said he always saw a career in music, but mainly behind the mixing desk and not in front of it! He said: “I’ve always been involved with music and it’s ironic that I studied Commercial Music Production and I never thought I’d be the one singing!
“It’s been fantastic though to have experience of the technical side of music production and chatting and giving input to the sound engineers on their level. I also learnt all about the music industry which has been a great help.
“I really enjoyed my time at the University of Chester and keep in contact with my personal tutor Jim Mason and I hope to continue that link.”
Jim Mason, Senior Lecturer in Commercial Music Production at the University of Chester, said: "It is absolutely brilliant to see Alan involved in a massive project like this. Alan was an excellent student, and is also an extremely likeable and down-to-earth person, so I'm particularly pleased to see him doing so well, and sincerely wish him the very best of luck with the album.”