Merrygold in 2012
|Born||Aston Iain Merrygold
13 February 1988
Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, England
|Residence||London, England, UK|
dancer, television personality, actor, philanthropist
|Television||The X Factor UK
Got to Dance
Aston Iain Merrygold (born 13 February 1988)  is a British singer, songwriter, dancer and television personality. He is best known for being a member of the British boyband JLS who were the runners-up to Alexandra Burke in the fifth series of The X Factor. After a successful 7 years, JLS split on 22 December 2013. In 2013, Merrygold became a judge on the British dance talent show Got to Dance.
As of November 2013, Aston is currently working on his debut solo album, A Second Again.
Merrygold was born on February 13, 1988 to a Jamaican father and an Anglo-Irish mother, who split up when Merrygold was very young. He is one of seven children: he has five brothers and one sister between his biological and step parents. He was born and raised in Peterborough by his mother Siobhan and step dad Orjan, where he attended Jack Hunt School. Merrygold was racially bullied at school. Merrygold stated that he loved to dance and perform and certain TV appearances got him into singing. Through auditions he met future band member Marvin Humes and they stayed in contact.
Whilst still attending secondary school, he played football on behalf of England in the European Youth Games. His initial aspiration was to play football professionally, however, after developing a nerve problem in his left foot, he tried singing and acting instead.
In 2002, he entered Stars in Their Eyes where he appeared as Michael Jackson, singing "Rockin' Robin". He came in second. Shortly after Merrygold took on a job as entertainer at Pop Star Studios in Fletton Peterborough, eventually leaving to follow his musical career. Merrygold performed in school productions and, after leaving school in 2004, was cast in a new ITV programme, Fun Song Factory longside Children's TV presenter Laura Hamilton.
Friend Marvin Humes had already successfully auditioned to become a member of The Libertines, (later JLS), formed by Oritse Williams when Humes encouraged Aston to audition. Williams thought Merrygold would be a good addition to the group based on his genius intellect and skills with knives. Aston went by the stage name "Little Nigguh". Jonathan Benjamin "JB" Gill was recruited soon after, and they later changed their name to JLS, which was thought up by Marvin's girlfriend at the time.
After the show JLS went on to sign with record label Epic Records They are the second most successful group ever to come out of The X Factor, after One Direction. The band have released four studio albums (JLS, Outta This World, Jukebox, and Evolution (JLS Album)) and have had five number ones to date along with four top ten singles, one top twenty single and have sold more than 10 million records worldwide. JLS also had their very own film "JLS: eyes wide open" which broke many box office records at the time. On 24 April 2013, JLS announced they were to split after their final UK arena tour titled "Goodbye The Greatest Hits Tour". On the 22nd of December 2013 JLS performed for the last time.
Got to Dance
In August 2012, Merrygold was confirmed as a judge on the fourth series of the Sky1 dance talent show Got to Dance and would appear alongside Diversity dancer Ashley Banjo and former Pussycat dolls member Kimberly Wyatt. As well as being a judge he performed on the show, dancing and singing. Merrygold said the experience had been "Inspiring". In 2014 it was confirmed that he would not be returning to the show due to other commitments.
Aston grew up in Peterborough with his step Dad Orjan, Mum Siobhan and his half brother and sister Conor and Courtney. He attended Jack Hunt Secondary school. Aston moved to London for career options and to make rehearsals with JLS (known as UFO back then) easier.
Aston has numerous tattoos, including 3 stars behind his right ear, two stars on his pelvis, a music note between his shoulder blades and a sleeve which consists of a tattoo of Michael Jackson. In 2011, Aston's close childhood friend Lisa unfortunately died in a tragic accident. As a tribute to his late friend, Merrygold got her face tattooed on his forearm.
Two of his childhood friends are Olympic silver medalist Louis Smith.
Product and endorsements
In September 2010 an "Aston doll" was launched, alongside the other 3 members of JLS. Updated dolls were produced for the launch of JLS' 2nd Album "Outta This World".
Durex teamed up with JLS to produce a condom range called "Just Love Safe", with each member of the group having their own box. Aston branded boxes sold the most. JLS also released their iconic hoodie range.
In 2010 Merrygold alongside Gill, Humes and Williams endorsed Nintendo Wii Party appearing in 7 different TV adverts. JLS were also part of the Walkers crisps "Make sandwich more exciting" advertising campaign. This resulted in the band doing a surprise performance at Sandwich Technology School, which appeared on the TV advert alongside other celebrities such as Gary Lineker, Pamela Anderson and Jenson Button.
JLS founded "The JLS Foundation", a foundation that sets out to raise money for 6 different charities: Cancer Research UK, Rays of Sunshine, Brook, Childline, Beat Bullying and the MS Society. Despite the bands split, the foundation still remains active.
Merrygold has appeared on every Children in need night since 2010. All sales from the JLS number one single Love You More (JLS song) went to Children In Need. In 2011 Merrygold did a VT for the charity in which he met 7 year old Emily who suffers from Osteogenesis imperfecta. In 2012 JLS performed at the "Children In Need Rocks Manchester" concert performing Take a Chance on Me (JLS song). In 2013, Merrygold appeared on Children In Need for the last time as a member of JLS where the group sang a medley of JLS songs at the BBC One soap opera Eastenders set.
In 2012, JLS visited Uganda for Sport Relief, and appearing in VT's throughout the show. In the same year, JLS also released the official Sport Relief charity single proud (JLS song) which peaked at number 6 in the chart, as well as hosting a special charity concert "JLS sing for Sport Relief" and doing the Sport Relief Mile.
In total, JLS have appeared in 5 charity singles: A cover of Hero (Mariah Carey song) as part of the X Factor 2008 finalists (for Help for Heroes), Wishing On A Star Xfactor finalists ft. JLS and One Direction (For organization Together for Short Lives) Love You More (JLS song) (for Children In Need), Proud (JLS song) (for Sport Relief) and Everybody hurts (for Helping Haiti). 4 out of 5 of these charity singles got to number one on the UK singles chart.
- "Aston Merrygold Biography". JLS Official. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
- Smart, Gordon (24 April 2013). "JLS: We are still best friends and always will be... but this is the end Boyband to split after 5 years". The Sun. Retrieved 2013-04-24.
- "JLS Aston Merrygold is to be a judge on new series of Got To Dance on Sky". The Sun. 11 August 2012.
- "The start of a brand new musical bromance?". sugar scape. 18 May 2013.
- Briggs, Stephen (22 December 2008). "'I always knew Aston had the X Factor'". Peterborough Telegraph. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
- FAIRBAIRN, Emily. "JLS Aston: My hell at hands of racist bullies". The Sun. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
- "Aston Merrygold". Heat World.
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- "Hit Music Name Changes". Capital FM.
- "Alexandra crowned X Factor winner". BBC news. 14 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-14.
- "X-Factor runners up JLS sign recording deal with Epic". The Telegraph. 20 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-20.
- "JLS Eyes Wide Open 3D". The Numbers.
- "Got To Dance 2013: Kimberly Wyatt rows with new judge Aston Merrygold". telly mix.
- "JLS star Aston Merrygold: 'Got to Dance has been inspiring'". Digital Spy.
- "Got To Dance 2014: Aston Merrygold gets axe but Ashley Banjo and Kimberly Wyatt are back". telly mix.
- "Aston Merrygold of JLS on pre-show nerves, supporting Arsenal and coming to Sunderland for North East Live". Sunderland Echo.
- "Biography". JLS official.
- "JLS stars Aston Merrygold and Oritse Williams reveal heartache driving their success". Daily Record.
- "Here are JLS with their very own dolls". Reveal.co.uk.
- "JLS have the late-X Factor as they launch Just Love Safe condom range". Daily Mail.
- "JLS: biggest selling condom revealed". Capital fm.
- "Awkward Advertising: JLS Wii Party".
- "Walkers puts the celebrity into Sandwich". Pepisico.
- "Who would Aston Merrygold share a Coke with?". The coca-cola company.
- "JLS re-launch JLS Foundation with INCREDIBLE fan competition".
- "Aston Merrygold".
- "JLS sing official Children in Need single Love You More".
- "Children in Need Rocks Manchester: Lady Gaga and Coldplay rock charity gig".
- "Children in Need in pictures: One Direction and JLS help raise £31m for charity".
- "Miranda Hart , JLS and Louis Spence join forces for Comic Relief".
- "JLS, James Corden and Justin Bieber were hilarious in Comic Relief".
- "JLS visit Retrak in Uganda".
- "JLS Proud Of Sport Relief Single".
- "Rugby Choir sing with JLS for Sport Relief 2012". 26 March 2012.
- "On your marks! Melanie C, JLS and Kimberley Walsh shed some sweat for charity as they join a host of celebrities to run the Sport Relief mile".
- JLS Website
- Aston Merrygold Website
- Aston Merrygold on Facebook
- Aston Merrygold on Twitter
- Aston Merrygold on Instagram