Rough Copy

Rough Copy
Origin Croydon, London, England, UK
Genres R&B, soul
Years active 2008–present
Labels Epic (2014), EMC Records (2015–), DeeVu Records (2016)
Members Kazeem Ajobo
Joey Thomas
Sterling Ramsey

Rough Copy are a British boy band from Croydon, London. The group consists of Kazeem "Kaz" Ajobo, Sterling Ramsey and Joseph "Joey" James Thomas. They finished fourth on the tenth series of The X Factor in 2013. They originally auditioned for the ninth series in 2012 and got to the "judges' houses" stage, but were forced to back out as Nigerian-born Ajobe was unable to obtain a visa in time, which would have made it almost impossible for him to re-enter the UK.[1][2]

In 2014, Rough Copy signed a record deal with Epic Records. They released their debut single "Street Love" on 29 June 2014, but were later dropped after the single failed to chart. The group later signed with EMC Records. Now signed to DeeVu Records the bands new single is due for release on the 5th October 2016.


2008–12: Formation and early career

Rough Copy were formed in 2008 and were originally called SOS (Sons of Soul), whose original members were Kazeem "Kaz" Ajobo, Joey Thomas, Rickstar Rickell Brown and Sterling Ramsey. After Brown left the group Ajobo, Thomas and Ramsey stayed together as a three-piece and renamed themselves to Rough Copy. Ajobe admitted that it was his stylist girlfriend who convinced him to put the band together. He told Heat Magazine, "We've been together for eight years and I really want to marry her, but I need the money first. I owe my life to my girlfriend. She's the one that encouraged me to start the band – she suggested it."[3] Rough Copy describle their style as "sweet but street".[4] In October 2012, they released a mixtape called Sweet but Street.[5]

2012–13: The X Factor

In 2012, Rough Copy auditioned for the ninth series of The X Factor. They sang "Use Somebody" by Kings of Leon and a standing ovation from the adience and all four judges. After getting four "yeses", they progressed through to "bootcamp", where they were chosen for "judges' houses" with Louis Walsh as their mentor. However, before flying out to Las Vegas, Rough Copy were forced to leave the show as Ajobe, who was born in Nigeria, would have difficulty getting back into the UK. He had applied for a visa which would allow him to travel to Las Vegas and then return to the UK, but it wasn't processed in time.[1][2] As a result, they were replaced at judges' houses by Triple J (renamed Union J) and Times Red.[6]

Rough Copy re-auditioned for the following series and sang "Do It Like a Dude" in their room audition and "Little Things" in the arena. After getting to bootcamp, it became apparent that Ajobe, yet again, was unable to obtain a visa in time for judges' houses, so Ramsey and James decided to continue on without him.[7] They performed "Stop Crying Your Heart Out" at bootcamp[7] and "Boyfriend" and "I Can't Make You Love Me" at judges' houses.[8] After putting them through, Barlow said he would do whatever he could to get Ajobe back into the band, and they reunited as a trio for the live shows.[9]

Following the eliminations of Miss Dynamix in week 3 and Kingsland Road in week 4, Rough Copy were the last group left in the competition. In week 7, they were in the bottom two with Hannah Barrett, but were saved when only Nicole Scherzinger, Barrett's mentor, voted to send them home.[10] They were sent home in the semi-final after ending up in the sing-off with Luke Friend, just missing out on a place in the final after the vote went to deadlock.[11] Although James and Ramsey also took part in the X Factor 2014 live tour, Ajobe was kicked off following a 'backstage incident' with fellow contestant Sam Callahan.[12]

2014–present: Record deal and "Street Love"

On 21 April 2014, Rough Copy announced that they had signed a record deal with Sony Music subsidiary Epic Records.[4] They also announced that their debut single "Street Love", a reworking of Anita Baker's 1986 hit single "Sweet Love", would be released on 29 June 2014.

The group was subsequently dropped from their record label when their debut single "Street Love" failed to make the top 100.[13] Later signing with EMC Records, they released their second single "Same Formula" on 17 May 2015.


Year Single Peak chart positions Album
2014 "Street Love" 29 TBA
2015 "Same Formula" TBA
2016 "UK" TBA


Joey "Jaz" James (born Joseph James Thomas; 1986) is the oldest member of the group. He previously worked as a fork lift truck driver for B&Q.[1]

Sterling "Moob" Ramsey (born 1988) previously worked as a crane operator for some of the largest ports in the UK.[1]

Kazeem "Kaz" Ajobo (born 1989 in Nigeria) is the youngest member of the group. He previously worked as a dog walker and cat sitter.[1]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 McGarry, Lisa (16 September 2012). "Gary Barlow LOVES new boyband Rough Copy – but they've been booted because of Kazeem Ajobe's visa!". Unreality TV. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  2. 1 2 "X Factor band Rough Copy leave show over visa issues". Newsbeat. BBC. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  3. Golby, Joel (23 October 2013). "Rough Copy's Kaz Ajobe admits his stylist girlfriend put the band together". Heat. Bauer Media Group. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  4. 1 2 McGarry, Lisa (21 April 2014). "Rough Copy record deal, Loveable Rogues' video & McBusted on One Direction". Unreality TV. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  5. "MUSIC REVIEW: ROUGH COPY – SWEET BUT STREET EP". 25 October 2012. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  6. Fletcher, Alex (24 September 2012). "'X Factor': Times Red, Triple J replace Rough Copy at Judges' Houses". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  7. 1 2 Jeffries, Mark (30 September 2013). "X Factor 2013: Two acts turn-up incomplete to Judges' Houses". Daily Mirror. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  8. Greenwood, Carl (7 December 2013). "X Factor 2013 finalists Rough Copy: Their story so far in videos and pictures". Daily Mirror. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  9. Flint, Hannah (6 October 2013). "Gary throws a lifeline! X Factor's Rough Copy welcome back third member Kaz after Barlow makes him rejoin". Daily Mail. DMG Media. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  10. Davison, Rebecca (24 November 2013). "X Factor's Nicole Scherzinger is devastated after her act Hannah Barrett is voted off". Daily Mail. DMG Media. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  11. Strang, Fay (8 December 2013). "Rough Copy miss out on a place in The X Factor final to Luke Friend as Sharon sends the vote to deadlock". Daily Mail. DMG Media. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  12. "X Factor Rough Copy Kazeem: Sam Callahan scrap got me booted off tour". Metro.
  13. "X Factor stars Rough Copy dropped from record label". Heat.
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