|Also known as||
|Associated acts||The Vamps|
|Past members||George Shelley|
Union J (originally Triple J) are an English boy band consisting of members Josh Cuthbert, JJ Hamblett, Jaymi Hensley, Casey Johnson and previously George Shelley. They were formed in 2011 and originally a trio, consisting of Cuthbert, Hamblett and Hensley then, Shelley was later added to the group in 2012 through the ninth series of British television music competition The X Factor, in which they finished fourth. They subsequently signed a record deal with Sony Music subsidiary RCA Records, and released their debut single "Carry You" in June 2013. Their self-titled debut studio album, Union J, followed in October 2013 and peaked at number six on the UK Albums Chart.
In April 2014, Union J left RCA and signed with Epic Records. Their second studio album You Got It All – The Album was released in December 2014. It was preceded by the lead single "Tonight (We Live Forever)" and "You Got It All".
In March 2016, Shelley left the band. In May, former Stereo Kicks member Casey Johnson was announced as his replacement.
Formation and The X Factor (2011–12)
In 2007, Blair Dreelan of Alpha Dog Management met 14-year-old Josh Cuthbert, who was auditioning for the fourth series of The X Factor. Cuthbert failed to get through to the next round, but Dreelan believed that he looked like a pop star and was impressed by his voice: "I began to sort of work with him on various little projects like just sort of recording stuff because I've got a recording studio in Swindon." In 2011, Cuthbert and Jaymi Hensley met whilst studying performing arts at the Sylvia Young Theatre School in Westminster and later decided to put a band together. Former jockey Jamie "JJ" Hamblett was later added to the group by Dreelan, and they named themselves Triple J (due to each member sharing the same initial).
In May 2012, after eight months together, Triple J and soloist George Shelley both auditioned in London for the ninth series of The X Factor. Triple J performed Rihanna's international hit "We Found Love", whilst George covered an acoustic version of Britney Spears' "Toxic" – in which he also incorporated his guitar. Both acts progressed to the next stage of the competition, receiving positive critique from all judges present. Bootcamp saw Shelley perform Labrinth's "Earthquake", competing against female contestants; Charlie Cammish and Meg O'Neill. Triple J first sang Maroon 5's "Moves Like Jagger", before contending for the final place at judges' houses with GMD3 (later District3). They covered Chris Brown's "Yeah 3x", but were sent home after GMD3 were eventually chosen for judges' houses. However, following Rough Copy's forced withdrawal from the show, Dreelan was contacted by The X Factor producers with an offer for the group to return, on the basis that Shelley was added to the three-piece. All parties accepted the offer and the band – now a four-piece – became Union J and advanced to judges' houses alongside fellow recalled Times Red.
The band's first performance as a four-piece was an acoustic cover of Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe". This earnt them a place in the live shows, and they instantly proved popular with social media users, garnering 46% of all online discussion regarding The X Factor after being announced to compete at judges' houses. In week 1 of the live shows, Union J performed Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now". Despite negative feedback from the other judges, they progressed through to the next week after placing fourth in voting statistics behind Christopher Maloney, Jahméne Douglas and Ella Henderson, respectively. In week 4, the group received the fewest public votes with Jade Ellis, but were saved by Gary Barlow, Nicole Scherzinger and Walsh. They found themselves in the bottom two again in week 6, against District3, but were saved for a second time by Barlow and Scherzinger, with Walsh refusing to vote (as he mentored both acts). Union J were in the bottom two for a third time in week 8, where they were saved by Barlow, Tulisa Contostavlos and Walsh over Rylan Clark. They were eliminated in the semi-final on 2 December, finishing in fourth place. It was later reported that their winning single would have been a cover of Demi Lovato's "Skyscraper", which is featured on their debut album.
|Performances on The X Factor|
|Triple J||George Shelley|
|Auditions||"We Found Love"||"Toxic"||Free choice||Progressed to Bootcamp|
|Bootcamp (1)||"Moves Like Jagger"||"Earthquake"||Bootcamp challenge||Rebranded/progressed to judges' houses|
|Bootcamp (2)||"Sweet Child o' Mine"||N/A||Free choice|
|Judges' houses||"Call Me Maybe"||Progressed to live shows|
|Live show 1||"Don't Stop Me Now"||Heroes (songs inspired by the Olympic Games)||Safe (4th)|
|Live show 2||"Bleeding Love" / "Broken Strings"||Love and heartbreak||Safe (7th)|
|Live show 3||"When Love Takes Over"||Club classics||Safe (8th)|
|Live show 4||"Sweet Dreams"||Halloween||Bottom two (8th)|
|Live show 4 results||"Perfect"||Free choice||Safe (3/4 majority vote)|
|Live show 5||"Love Story"||Number-ones||Safe (4th)|
|Live show 6||"Fix You"||Best of British||Bottom two (6th)|
|Live show 6 results||"Set Fire to the Rain"||Free choice||Safe (2/3 majority vote)|
|Live show 7||"Call Me Maybe"||Guilty pleasures||Safe (4th)|
|Live show 8||"The Winner Takes It All"||ABBA||Bottom two (4th)|
|"I'll Be There"||Motown|
|Live show 8 results||"Run"||Free choice||Safe (3/4 majority vote)|
|Semi-final||"Beneath Your Beautiful"||Free choice/someone special||Eliminated by public vote (4th)|
|"I'm Already There"||Free choice/songs to get you to the final|
Union J and Magazines + TV Screens Tour (2013)
Union J first announced that they had signed a record deal with Sony Music Entertainment at a performance in Cardiff, Wales on 15 December 2012. Their debut single "Carry You" was recorded in London in January 2013 and was released in June 2013, charting at number six in the United Kingdom. On 28 January, it was confirmed that the subsidiary label that Union J had signed with was RCA Records. In June 2013, it was announced that the band would embark on their first UK headline tour, the Magazines + TV Screens Tour, which consisted of 18 dates in December 2013 and January 2014. They also revealed that their debut album would be released on 28 October 2013.
Union J announced that their second single, "Beautiful Life", would be released on 21 October 2013, a week before their self-titled debut album, Union J. On 2 October 2013, the band revealed that they are partnering up with Pokémon for the UK release of X and Y. On 5 November 2013, they announced that their third single would be "Loving You Is Easy".
You Got It All – The Album (2014)
On 2 January 2014, while guest editing the Daily Star's Playlist column, Union J announced that they would release their second album in 2014. Jaymi said, "Very exciting, we're about to start recording our second studio album, which is massive. And then I think we're going to write on the album as well, work with some new producers." Josh also said that they hope to "find that lane that [they] want to go down." They also revealed that they felt there was pressure on them to match the huge success of One Direction, as Louis Walsh had expected them to have a number-one single. The band also revealed that they did write songs for their debut album which ultimately failed to make the final cut, but hoped to have more self-penned tracks on their second album. Hensley told Digital Spy, "We did write for [their first] album and we'd done about 14 songs but they didn't go on the album, maybe because they weren't right. The thing about writing is it's personal but also the more practice you get, the better you get.
On 5 April, Cuthbert announced via Twitter that Union J had left RCA and signed a new deal with Epic Records. The first single to be taken from the band's second album is "Tonight (We Live Forever)", which was released on 17 August 2014. Following its premiere on Capital FM on 18 June 2014, the single entered the iTunes Top 100 Chart through pre-order sales alone. Union J performed "Tonight (We Live Forever)" live for the first time at Capital FM's Summertime Ball. On 24 August, "Tonight" debuted at number 9 in the UK.
On 14 October, it was announced that the second single from their second album is entitled "You Got It All". Its first play was on 15 October on Capital FM. On 30 October, Union J that announced that their second album will be called You Got It All – The Album and was released on 8 December 2014. Despite promoting the album on The X Factor and The Xtra Factor, it entered at number 28 on the UK Albums Chart, selling 15,000 copies on its first week.
2015–present: The Vamps Arena Tour, An Audience with Union J, Shelley's departure and third album
Union J were the main support act on The Vamps' arena tour in the UK and Ireland in April and May. They announced that they were doing An Audience with Union J in October and November, and also revealed that they are working on their third album.
Shelley left the group in March 2016; speaking exclusively to The Sun's Dan Wootton, Cuthbert blamed Shelley's departure on the latter's changing manner following his stint on I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!. Cuthbert said, "I would much rather have someone who wants to do it and is committed to do it. I’m not going to lose any sleep over him not being in the band." Hensley revealed that Shelley's departure was a mutual agreement between all four members and that there were no bad feelings or jealousy which led to it.
Products and endorsements
On 2 April 2013, it was announced that they had signed a bookdeal to publish an autobiography through Penguin Books and Michael Joseph, prior to the release of their album on 26 September 2013. The band commented, "We are very excited to be working with Penguin on our first book and are looking forward to the chance to tell our stories, of how we came together and where we came from, as well as the journey we've taken since X Factor." The autobiography, titled Our Story: Union J 100% Official, was released on 21 October 2013. They also released The Official Union J 2014 Annual.
On 21 January 2014, the band launched a set of lookalike dolls. On 7 February, Panini launched the official Union J sticker collection.
Joshua Thomas John "Josh" Cuthbert (born 28 July 1992, age 24) is from Ascot, Berkshire. He attended Charters School in Berkshire and The Sixth Form College Farnborough. He was one of the three original members of Triple J. Before The X Factor, he worked in an office and starred in the West End musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang when he was 14. In 2009, he was invited to join The Wanted, but was unable to do so because of a two-year contract with another band, Replay.
Cuthbert also used to be a footballer, playing as a goalkeeper, but had to quit after damaging his thumb in a shooting accident. Cuthbert said, "I played football from a young age. Playing in goal meant I broke every single finger but one day I was shooting an air rifle with my grandad and the gun was faulty. My thumb got trapped and I ended up losing half of it. And obviously being a goalie your thumb is an integral part."
On 7 February 2015, Cuthbert signed a modelling contract with modeling agency Two Management. On 11 May 2015, it was announced that he had signed a modelling contract with modeling agency Storm Model Management in London. On 16 June 2015, Josh announced that he signed a contract with Red Model Management. In 2016, he signed a contract with Select Model Management in London.
Jamie Paul "JJ" Hamblett (born 25 May 1988, aged 28) is from Newmarket, Suffolk. He is the oldest member of the group and was one of the three original members of Triple J. He was a jockey until he was 21, riding in 270 races and winning 24 times. He has ridden horses for the Queen and met her. On 18 September 2013, Hamblett announced that he and his then American girlfriend Caterina Lopez were expecting their first child together, and on 28 November 2013, Lopez gave birth to Princeton J. Alexander.
In August 2015, JJ announced the start of a new project with Lopez, by posting a sneak peek video on Facebook but the venture did not progress beyond initial promotions. JJ and Lopez announced that they signed a contract with ThinkersPR Talent but this business relationship was discontinued.
James William "Jaymi" Hensley (born 24 February 1990, aged 26) is from Luton, Bedfordshire. He was one of the three original members of Triple J. Hensley is openly gay and has been in a relationship with Olly Marmon since 2009. He proposed to Marmon in 2010 He went to a theatre school with Cuthbert. He has 17 tattoos. Before The X Factor, he did both ballet and gymnastics, but his career as a gymnast was cut off by a broken wrist, and he struggled with his weight when he was no longer exercising so much. In 2015, Hensley appeared with singer Sinitta on Pointless Celebrities, a celebrity edition of the BBC game show Pointless.
Casey Johnson (born 1 May 1995, aged 21) is the most recent member of Union J. Johnson auditioned for the X Factor in 2014 and became a member of eight-piece band Stereo Kicks. The band released one single, "Love Me So", and a month later they split as they could not afford to continue without a record deal.
George Paul Shelley (born 27 July 1993, aged 23) in Clevedon, North Somerset was the youngest member of the group.His parents Dominic Shelley and Toni Harris are divorced, Dominic remarried. He has two brothers Tom, who lives in Australia, and Will, who did three tours with the marines in Afghanistan; a younger sister Harriet, and two step-sisters Anabelle and Louisa along with four half-brothers Leo, Archie, Spencer and Roman. He attended Weston College in Weston-super-Mare from 2010 until 2011, where he completed a BTEC Extended Diploma in Graphic Design.
Shelley auditioned for The X Factor as a solo artist singing "Toxic" in 2012 while he worked as a Barista in Costa Coffee and was eliminated during bootcamp, but they later called him back to join Triple J and form Union J.
In 2015, Shelley appeared as one of the thirteen contestants on the fifteenth series of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! On 4 March 2016, it was announced Shelley left Union J to pursue other career endeaver .
The group also performed at multiple festivals in UK and Ireland and on OMG Spring Break Portugal.
Awards and nominations
|2013||Popdust||Union J||Next Pop Superstar of 2013||Third|
|BBC Radio 1 Teen Awards||Best British Breakthrough||Won|
|2014||Best of 2013 Awards||Best Boyband of 2013||Fourth|
|Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards||UK Favourite Band||Nominated|
|World Music Awards||World's Best Group||Nominated|
|World's Best Live Act|
|"Beautiful Life"||World's Best Song|
|World's Best Video|
- The Official Union J 2014 Annual ISBN 978-0141349497
- Our Story: Union J 100% Official ISBN 978-0718178666
- "Union J A-Z'" http://www.amazon.co.uk/Union-J-A-Z-Sophie-H-ebook/dp/B00EBUWEF4
- "Twitter / JoshUJWorld: We've changed labels to Epic!!". Twitter. 5 April 2014. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
- Franklin, Lauren (1 December 2012). "Union J's manager Blair Dreelan on "spooky" George Shelley, the Ella Henderson love triangle, and who smells the best". Sugarscape.com. Retrieved 14 November 2013.
- Johnson, Rebecca (6 October 2013). "X Factor finalist rode for Queen". Daily Express. Northern & Shell. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
- "Hot hunks' auditions – The X Factor UK 2012". YouTube. 16 September 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- "The X Factor: 24 become 25 as two groups replace Rough Copy". Metro. DMG Media. 24 September 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- "Union J's performance – Carly Rae Jepsen's Call Me Maybe – The X Factor UK 2012". YouTube. 29 September 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- "The X Factor voting numbers revealed HERE!". itv.com. 9 December 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- "Union J to record Demi Lovato's Skyscraper as X Factor winner's single?". Sugarscape. 15 September 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- "'X Factor' Union J sign Sony record deal". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. 17 December 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
- Daniels, Colin (14 January 2013). "'X Factor's Union J record debut single". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- "2013-06-15 Top 40 Official Singles Chart UK Archive". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- Corner, Lewis (28 January 2013). "Union J sign deal with RCA Records, new single due out in June". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- "Union J announce a headline UK tour starting late 2013". Newsbeat. BBC. 11 June 2013. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- "Union J album artwork: EXCLUSIVE REVEAL". Sugarscape. 4 September 2013. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- "Union J and Pokemon!". unionjofficial.com. 2 October 2013.
- Rigby, Sam (5 November 2013). "Union J announce new single 'Loving You Is Easy'". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 14 November 2013.
- Carr, Kim (2 January 2014). "X Factor band Union J reveal: 'We have big plans for 2014'". Daily Star. Northern & Shell. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
- Copsey, Robert; Hornbuckle, Jon (7 January 2014). "Union J: 'We will write songs for second album'". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
- "Twitter / JoshUJWorld: We've changed labels to Epic!!". Twitter.com. 2014-04-05. Retrieved 2014-08-11.
- "Tonight (We Live Forever) by Union J". iTunes. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
- "Union J - 'Tonight (We Live Forever)' (Live At The Summertime Ball 2014)". Capital FM. 21 June 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
- "David Guetta scores fifth UK Number 1 Single with Lovers on the Sun". officialcharts.com.
- Jones, Alan (15 December 2014). "Official Charts Analysis: Mark Ronson scores first No.1 single as Uptown Funk! sells 118,117". Music Week. Retrieved 15 December 2014. (subscription required (. ))
- "The Vamps Reveal New Dates On Their UK Arena Tour For Spring 2015". Capital FM. 18 February 2015.
- Carl Smith (30 June 2015). "Union J talk their new album, intimate gigs and British Summertime Hyde Park". Sugarscape.
- Harp, Justin (3 March 2016). "Union J shocker! The boyband say they've cut ties with George Shelley: "It's heart-breaking"". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
- "Jaymi Hensley on Twitter".
- "JOSH CUTHBERT. on Twitter".
- "Act Details".
- Foley, Linds (17 August 2013). "Union J's scene in Kick-Ass 2 is released - WATCH". sugarscape.com. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
- "X Factor's Union J sign book deal prior to first single". Newsbeat. BBC. 3 April 2013. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- Copsey, Robert (2 April 2013). "'X Factor' group Union J sign major book deal ahead of debut single". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 14 November 2013.
- "Is it a short story? Union J fans queue around the block as band launch their autobiography Our Story...even before they release their first album". Daily Mail. DMG Media. 21 October 2013. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
- "Union J Official Annual 2014 – Penguin Books". Penguin. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
- "Union J unveil plastic lookalike dolls". Newsround. CBBC. 21 January 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
- Langsworthy, Billy (7 February 2014). "Panini launches official Union J sticker collection". ToyNews. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
- "What are Union J's birthdays". Maximum Pop!.
- "Former Charters pupil Josh Cuthbert and Union J still flying high in chart". Bracknell News. 17 June 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2013.
- "Where are Union J from?". Maximum Pop!.
- "Josh Cuthbert Biography, Picture Gallery & Video". heatworld.com. Retrieved 2014-08-11.
- "Oh No They Didn't! - Josh Cuthbert of Union J was originally supposed to be in The Wanted, but had too much of the girly look.". Ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com. 2012-12-18. Retrieved 2014-08-11.
- "Union J | Fusion Festival Birmingham 2014". thefusionfestival.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-08-11.
- Mapstone, Lucy (March 11, 2015). "Union J's Josh Cuthbert walks arm-in-arm with his beautiful girlfriend Chloe Lloyd on shopping trip... as he shares romantic kissing selfie". Daily Mail.
- Charlotte Wareing (14 November 2015). "Union J's Josh Cuthbert announces engagement to girlfriend Chloe Lloyd". Daily Mirror.
- "Josh Cuthbert". www.twomanagement.com. February 15, 2015.
- Hamblett, JJ (18 September 2013). "Guys I want you to be the first to know that I've got some big news...I'm going to be a daddy.... :-) :-) wooop x". Twitter. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
- Sperling, Daniel (28 November 2013). "Union J star JJ Hamblett becomes father to baby boy: 'I'm so happy'". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
- "Union J star JJ Hamblett and girlfriend announce new project: 'We Are The Hambletts'". Twitter. 21 August 2015. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
- Hardwick, Jack (April 18, 2016). "'Union J star's secret split: 'He's pretending to be in love to land a reality show'". Daily Star.
- Intelligence, Celebrity (20 August 2015). "JJ Hamblett and girlfriend Caterina's fashion project, We Are The Hambletts, appoints ThinkersPR". Twitter. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
- Hardwick, Jack (April 18, 2016). "'Union J star's secret split: 'He's pretending to be in love to land a reality show'". Daily Star.
- Rowley, Alison (18 November 2012). "Union J's Jaymi Hensley: 'I'm gay and I've never been happier'". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- Wood, Lucy (8 January 2014). "Union J's Jaymi Hensley to marry fiance Olly Marmon over Christmas this year: 'It's going to be a big day'". sugarscape.com. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
- "Pointless Celebrities - what time is it on TV? Episode 7 Series 8 cast list and preview.".
- Mrrriman, Rebecca (6 May 2016). "Union J unveil Stereo Kicks' Casey Johnson as new member after George Shelley's exit". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
- "BBC Radio 1's Teen Awards, 2013, Union J, Best British Breakthrough Award winner". bbc.co.uk.