Britain’s Got Talent star Jon Courtenay can’t wait to revisit Suffolk after lockdown
- Credit: ITV
Comedy musician Jon Courtenay, who wowed the judges in Britain’s Got Talent, has told of his fond memories of growing up near Ipswich - and how he hopes to revisit once lockdown ends.
“Thank you to Ipswich and all my friends in the area for supporting me. I hope to see you soon,” he said.
Talented pianist Jon, 46, a former pupil at the Royal Hospital School in Holbrook, won through to the semi-finals last month. He received Ant and Dec’s “Golden Buzzer” for his self-penned song about his ambition to appear on BGT.
The TV auditions, pre-recorded before lockdown, finish on ITV this Saturday - and would usually be followed by a week of live semi-finals.
This year, though, Jon and the other contestants face a long wait because of coronavirus, with a date for the semi-finals not yet confirmed.
Jon said: “It is a little frustrating, but at the same time it means my name will be out there for a little bit longer as a Golden Buzzer act.
“I’ve completely rewritten the song that I was intending to do in the live show, to try and include some of the experiences that the whole country, and world, has been going through. I think it’s an opportunity to sing about a situation that we can all relate to.”
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Ant and Dec were allowed just one Golden Buzzer between them, enabling them to send a contestant straight through to the semi-finals, and rushed on to the stage to choose Jon.
“Because it was an original song and I hadn’t performed it before, I had no idea how it would be received and would have been happy to just not get four red crosses.
READ MORE - Golden Buzzer joy for comedy pianist Jon“When the audience and the judges stood up, I was blown away and thought that it just couldn’t get any better than a standing ovation at the London Palladium, then Ant and Dec ran out! I could have fainted.”
Jon’s wife, Emmah, and sons Nathan and Alfie went along to see the audition, with Nathan dashing up on stage to join his dad after his performance.
Jon said he has had a lot of support from people in Suffolk since appearing on BGT. “
“RHS has been great with their support and I still have a lot of family and friends in Suffolk who have been in touch and supporting me.
“I can’t wait to get back and say hi in person. I owe a lot to RHS, they instilled in me a confidence that I am thankful for every time I walk on stage.”
Although he now lives in Manchester, Jon said he still thinks of Ipswich as his home town, adding: “I try to visit as often as possible to visit friends and family. It’s on the top of my list after lockdown.”
He said: “We lived at Martlesham Heath for quite a while and I loved my time there. My Dad was hallkeeper at Suffolk County Council in the old County Hall building. He would take me into the clock tower to change the clocks and I used to love visiting the old jail cells. It makes me so sad to see what’s happened to that beautiful building today.
“My mum worked at John Hilary Travel and was very involved in Ipswich Operatic and Dramatic Society (IODS). I used to love watching their shows and helping mum learn the songs. Then being a part of the Wolsey Youth Theatre was a huge thrill and a great experience.
“Dick Tuckey, our director, told me I should pursue a career on stage. One of the opportunities I’m hoping to come from BGT is more theatre work. I love acting and being part of a cast, but my one-man show took off so quickly and it’s been the focus of my life for almost 30 years now.”
READ MORE - Standing ovation for Suffolk girl Souparnika on Britain’s Got TalentJon has been in demand since his BGT appearance, appearing on This Morning with Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby. He added: “I’ve also had some enquiries to collaborate with some other great performers as soon as we’re allowed to get near each other, so that’s exciting too.”
During lockdown, Jon has set up a bespoke comedy songs website and is also doing shows online.
“Like all performers, we’re all trying to adapt to the new situation. Anyone who performs for a living does it because it is a passion and to have that ability taken away is hard, so we have to find new ways of reaching an audience. It’s not ideal when it’s just looking down the lens of a camera, but the feedback from all of my virtual shows has been lovely and I love writing songs too so I’ve had more opportunity to focus on that during lockdown,” he said.
“I think my first time back in front of a live audience is going to be amazing. I’m hoping that I get the opportunity before it’s in front of a live TV audience of nine million people.”
To see Jon’s performances, visit his Twisted Pianist website,