Jon Lee

Jon Lee

Jon Lee returns to the album charts next week for the first time since the break-up of S Club 7 in 2003 with his debut solo album Fallen Angel, which sees Jon tackle a selection of famous tracks from both the worlds of pop and stage in his own unique way.

We talked to him about the album, his transition on the stage and whether there might ever be another be able to ask if there’s any party like an S Club party.


So, what can you tell us about ‘Fallen Angel’?

It’s kind of an eclectic mix of some of my favourite songs and ones that I love to sing. I didn’t want to do a karaoke album though, I wanted take the songs I enjoy and put my own stamp on them and change up the arrangements slightly. So they’re songs that people know and love, but they’ll sound very different to the originals.

So how do you go about choosing which songs to pick then?

That was the hardest part and the longest process of the whole making of the album to be honest. Orignally it was just going to be a theatre album with songs from the shows but then it evolved into having pop covers. Then where do you start picking 12 songs randomly out of the blue.

There are so many great songs out there but it was a matter of putting them together and seeing if they worked together.

Also, I had to be able to do justice to it, I always say that you shouldn’t try a cover if you don’t think you can do it as well as the original. There were a few that didn’t make it to album that we recorded but didn’t feel quite right. It was a long process.

So how do you go about making these songs your own?

There are some songs that lend themselves quite easily to that, whereas other need a little more imagination with. The one song that was sort of the lynchpin to the whole album was ‘With Or Without You’ in my head I wanted to do a classic rock song, but have it stripped down to bare bones so it’s just me and a piano. ‘With Or Without You’ works so well for that song because of the beautiful lyrics it’s such a great melody with a really haunting feel when you do it like we have on the album.

For the others it was a case trial and error really, we had ideas and sometime they didn’t work, so it reallt helped working with some incredible talented musicians who did a lot of the work for me (laughs).

So what was it that drew to the world of theatre?

I’ve been doing it for 19 years this year, I’ve been doing it since 12, so it’s just always been a part of my life. S Club took me on a very different direction for a few years, but in my head I was adamant I was going to come back the theatre. There’s something very addictive about getting that live reaction from the audience every night and I suppose I’m a bit of an addict now.

You’re currently on stage playing Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys. How’s that been for you?

Unbelievable. I’ve just signed up for my third year, which is the longest I’ve ever stayed in any show ever so it’s definitely keeping me occupied and keeping my brain ticking over. It’s such a fantastic show, but I start as 16 years old and I finish in my sisites, so the scope is that broad that it really challenges me as an actor.

Vocally as well, I sing about 20 songs in the show as well, so it’s probably the most challenging role I’ve ever done, so that’s why I think that I’m still really enjoying it.

If you could play any role in any show, what would it be?

Les Miserables will always have a soft spot for me. It was one of the first shows I ever saw when I was a kid and I remember pointing at the role of Marius and saying to my dad “I’m gonna play him one day” and then a few years later doing exactly that.

There’s something about the music of that show that’s timeless and utterly beautiful, but I’m a bit old for Marius now, so I think they’d be scraping the barrel if they took me back. Jean Valjean has some amazing songs but I’m not old enough or big enough to play that yet. Maybe in the future.

So, I have to ask, with all these reunions going on, is there ever a chance of S Club getting back together?

It was something we talked about. We got together last year after seeing the success of Steps doing it, so with all the papers speculating who might be next, we thought we’d get together and mull it over ourselves rather than read it in the press. We talked about it and it’s something that’s possibly on the cards but it has to be the right time for all of us.

Trying to get seven people organised was never the easiest thing to do back in the day, let alone know when some of us are married and have kids. So we’re never saying never, but it’s not the right time for me now.

How do you think that the music world compares to when you were in S Club?

When we were around as a group, what we did was what I call ‘bubblegum cheese pop’, which had been around before us, but then music went to the Coldplay style bands and then dance music and now that pop sound is coming back, but it’s a different type of sound.

With Rihanna and Katy Perry, it’s a much more mature pop sound which is great as I’m a big fan of that music, but I don’t think there’s a lot for the age group we were aiming at. Back then, it was all that kind of music aimed at 9-11 year old girls and there’s nothing like that anymore. I think we could do with a few more bands like that again.

So what’s in the pipeline for you then?

The album’s out now and we’re going to hopefully be doing some live gigs in-between Jersey Boys and then maybe a panto at the end of the year. So another busy year, but that’s always exciting. Plus I’m going to try and move house at some point too, so I’m trying to do everything that ever sounds like a good idea all at the same time.


Jon Lee’s album Fallen Angel is out on March 11th.

Click here to download Jon Lee’s album Fallen Angel