Britain’s Got Talent star Jon Courtenay plays Eastbourne
Following his success as the first Golden Buzzer act ever to win Britain’s Got Talent last year, Jon Courtenay is now setting out on his debut tour of the UK.
His dates include Royal Hippodrome, Eastbourne on Saturday, October 23 at 7.30pm (tickets available on 01323 802020 and royalhippodrome.com).
“The word excited just doesn’t cut it at the moment,” Jon says. “This is what every performer wants to do one day.
“But without the exposure of something like BGT it is just so hard to get out there and to sell the tickets.”
Now that exposure really does take it to the next level.
Long before triumphing in the 2020 final, Jon was a powerhouse live performer with decades of experience touring the world.
“I have been cutting my teeth for 25 years really, and it has been great. You can work in your career for a lifetime and never get the breaks. I have got friends that are huge talents and that you will never hear from because those breaks won’t happen for them.”
It’s strange that Jon’s big break came in 2020, a year that was so tough for everyone.
But it was a tough year personally for Jon too.
“I was going through some health issues at the same time that I wanted to keep quiet. I had skin cancer going on for eight or nine months.
“I had to have a couple of operations.”
At one point, a nurse, a big BGT fan, pointed out the irony that he was at the same time at the highest point of his career but also the lowest point of his life health-wise.
But he was very lucky, Jon insists.
It was a mole that he ignored for too long. When he finally got it investigated, they found a melanoma.
It was treated and Jon got involved with Macmillan and skin cancer charities… only for a lump to be found in his neck.
Again it was treated, and he is now fine, he says.
And he can now concentrate on the tour. He has been doing live shows at Butlin’s resorts up and down the country just to work new material in.
“When you are asking people to part with their very hard-earned cash, you have got to make sure that it is good.
“People ask what it was like winning BGT in lockdown, but my reply is that I don’t know what it would be like winning BGT not in lockdown!”
He imagines he would have been whisked away on tour much quicker; and yes, he would have been ready.
“I would have used more of the older material.”
But with the way things have worked out, he has had the chance to work on plenty of new material over the past seven to eight months.
“But it was still quite overwhelming for me.
“The shows that I have been doing now have been a very positive experience and I have enjoyed doing the meet-and-greets. It is very strange.
“Even before doing BGT, I would have been wanting to meet the audiences, but this has been baptism by fire, I suppose. After you have been on TV more people are wanting to meet you and it is more intense.
“You ask some youngsters what they want to be, and they say famous.
“And in some ways that is possible with so many reality shows around that it is actually possible to become famous without actually having a talent.
“But just wanting to be famous is dangerous. Fame is not something you should pursue in itself.
“It’s a fickle thing. I am just very lucky that I have always absolutely loved my job”.
Robbie Williams famously said he finds it easier to walk onto a stage in front of 20,000 people than to walk into a party with just 20 people there.
“I can certainly sympathise with that.”
Tickets on royalhippodrome.com