Duane Johns is a singer from Cornwall who successfully reached the top 50 in X Factor during 2006 (the year Leona Lewis was crowned the winner). Since then Duane has appeared in the limelight supporting acts like East 17, Cheeky Girls and Journey South.
So how did it all start? When did you realize that singing was your passion?
At a very young age, I knew I wanted to do something involved with singing, at first I was doing stage, you know Panto’s and shows as such, but back then it was just a hobby and to be honest I wasn’t a very good singer! But from then on I just got better and better, and decided to enter singing competitions, one was called the singing sensation and Maggie Moon was a judge and she told me to audition for the x factor that very year!
Also in 2006 I was in a Band called Graffiti Eyes! We sold 150 Albums and was on the radio for a week I have also recently recorded a Disney album for my family and just based it to show my love for Disney!
Singing has always been my passion I suppose!
2006 was a big start for you, when you decided to enter the X Factor. What feelings did you have when you entered the room and stood on that famous X in front of the judges?
Well it’s wasn’t an easy ride, very tough! To be honest I remember feeling very excited and confident and was pretty relaxed actually I sort of just done it! Lol, the best part was seeing it on TV and I felt pretty good about myself.
You successfully managed to secure two yes’s from the judges.
Well this was like 3 years ago now so it’s pretty hard to remember, Simon Cowell was pretty much on the fence the whole time, Sharon Loved me, and thought I was really cute and sweet! And said I seemed like a lot of fun! Louis was also willing to give me a chance! And I was so happy when he had the final say! And he said YES!
What was the bootcamp experience like?
Bootcamp was another tough part of the competition, every single person that was there were really good and we all had the best chance’s to get though! We had to wait around a lot of the time and only took about 1 minute to sing a song! It was a pretty hard day over all, but I would do it all again!
Are you still in touch with other original x factor contestants from 2006?
I was in the series with Leona Lewis and Ray Quinn. I met Ray at bootcamp, he seemed really sweet! I didn’t get to meet Leona but as we all know she is pretty quite so maybe I didn’t notice her. I did have one friend who was so funny! But haven’t stayed in contact, but she was a character! Lol.
What’s your experience did you gain from the Bootcamp experience?
I think it’s all about standing out and showing yourself off as much as you can! To do this business you have to get people your full attention! Otherwise you just fade into the background! So I think I had a confidence boast, took that away with me and I never lost it! There’s being confident and there’s being big headed! And I know the difference.
In your opinion, do you think TV reality shows like the X Factor are good for the music industry?
Yes I will have to say they are, only because I love reality TV. I think they get you noticed by people all over the world! So yes is my answer to that one! It done me pretty well after all.
Soon after the X Factor, you supported acts like East 17 & Cheeky Girls! Was that a worthwhile experience?
Yes Oh My God! It was my favorite part of 2007! It feels good to support such big top acts that people have heard of, the crowds are always exited! And it always looks good on your CV!!
Which artist did you enjoy supporting the most?
Ooh well I loved supporting the big acts, but my favorite had to be with Chenai from the x factor 2005, it wasn’t in the best place, but I just liked her on the x factor so it was really nice to also watch her sing live!
Do you have any more ambitions in supporting more artists in the future?
Oh yes definitely, my dream would be to support the likes of Girls Aloud, as I just think there amazing! They proved people that reality shows are worth the while. Also Paris Hilton, I know she’s not the best singer in the world! But I love people who want to do well in life and also have fun along the way, she’s such an inspiration, people really need to get to know her before they start bad mouthing her, just for making money! At least she is doing well I also love Emma Soraya Beard, who was a finalists on popstars the rivals and nearly made it into Girls Aloud, I love her because she never gives up even when people put her down she never gives up, I love her music and would love to support her one day!
Do you enjoy the audience atmosphere?
Oh My God Yeah! I love it when people are listening to me and are having fun, maybe having a little dance that makes me feel so good that I am making someone happy and that is what it is all about! Making people smile!
Any memorable moments whilst on stage?
When people shout nice things! Like Duane we love you! Makes you feel very special! Just because your singing to them and that’s all you are doing, It makes people feel that way about you.
And, embarrassing one?
Oh yes I have had a couple of them, it always happens to me when I sing the same song! REHAB! I’ve been told by people I sing it very well and people all get up and dance! But the only problem I have is that I always forget the words and mix up the verse, so I have left that one alone lol. It just happened every time, even though I knew it off by heart!
What’s your favourite type of audience? (i.e. pub, club, mini arena, etc)
I always think the best type of place would be holiday parks I have only done one and made such a good impression I was asked to come back again, holiday makers always love to be entertained and defiantly at shows if you support an act!
Although you mainly sing cover versions, is there a song that you would like to release as a single that would be officially approved by the original artist?
Well I love to sing covers I just always have. That’s a hard question, there are so many good songs out there, it would be hard to choose, either ‘Because The Night’ Or ‘Parachute’!
Do you prefer singing the ballads or the catchy tunes?
I love singing both, because it’s always good to sing the ballads if you need to show your voice off and it’s fun belting out big numbers!
I also love singing the catchy, Cheesy Faster songs! Just can have so much fun with these tracks!
This year your due to release a second album. What’s your ambitions with this new album?
I just want to get my music heard! By someone who knows I could do well! Someone who will put 110% into me and help me to be successful, I also want people to hear me and just think, Oh Duane Andrew Johns, he’s pretty good! My new album is in the works and I really want to release it real soon, it will have about 15 tracks all covers some people will know them and some people will get to know the others, I’m just waiting for the right time, but hopefully it will do good, as long as people enjoy it then I will be happy.
Have you any favourite tracks on your future album?
Oh yes plenty! I love all my music but the ones that stand out for me are, Parachute, Falling Down, He Said She Said, And Tell Me something I don’t know.
You come across as a very passionate and dedicated singer, have you any future ambitions in writing and launching your very own single?
Well if the right person came along and wanted to do this with me, then I would be more then up for it! Launching a single and getting to number one would be a dream come true! So we’ll see how it goes!
What’s your future ambition? Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Well in 5 years time I would love to be doing it as a full time job, but this business is not an easy one, and it’s very hard to be heard! But I never give up on my dream!
Thank you Duane, it has been a pleasure talking to you and I wish you all the success with the launch of your second album and I’m sure your dedication as a singer will prove to be one day successful and rewarding.