AYRSHIRE lad Jai McDowall was a face and a name that became known to millions in 2011 when he appeared on popular television show, ‘Britain’s Got Talent’.
Talent is something he certainly has in abundance, with a powerful voice, and he went on to win the fifth series of the show.
Now, he’s preparing to take to the stage for his debut Scottish headlining tour and next week he’ll kick it all off with an intimate gig in Glenrothes.
And the 26-year-old is supporting children’s charity, Aberlour, while he’s on the road, donating £1 from every ticket sold to the organisation.
Jai told the Press: “It’s the first headlining tour I’ve done and I’m quite excited and nervous about it.
“I’ve never been to Glenrothes before.
“I’ve not been to most of the places I’m going, as although I’ve driven round Scotland with my friends, we’ve been to the bigger places, but not really the out of the way places.
“There are a lot of places I’ve never been on this tour and I’m quite excited to aresee them.”
Glenrothes is an apt starting point for Jai’s tour, as Aberlour has a pressence in the town - a respite service for children with disabilities in the Collydean area.
He said: “I have chosen to support Aberlour as it gives me the chance to continue with the work I did as a support worker, before I went on ‘Britain’s Got Talent’.
“We were looking through ideas and we wanted to do something so it would give something back.
“I was a support worker working with young people with disabilities for just over two years.
“I feel that Aberlour gives young people and their parents the support they need to live happy lives.
“There’s an Aberlour service I visited in Prestwick and they deal with disabled kids and provide respite and care for them.
“Some of the people I looked after during my time as a support worker had used the service, so I saw the benefit of it.
“I’m very happy to support this brilliant charity.
“I think they do a great job.”
Jai won the hearts of the nation from the very start of his ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ journey, when he performed ‘Anthem’ from Chess in front of judges Amanda Holden, Michael McIntyre and David Hasselhoff.
He went on to perform Josh Groban’s ‘To Where You Are’ in the final.
Since ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ finished, Jai has released an album, performend for Her Majesty the Queen at the Royal Variety Performance and was even invited to sing with Josh Groban on stage in Glasgow.
So what has been the highlights for him since winning the show?
“There’s been a few,” he said.
“A few weeks ago I sang ‘Flower of Scotland’ at the Six Nations rugby.
“I was chuffed to do that.
“Singing with Josh Groban in Glasgow was great too.
“He was my idol at the time and it was a dream come true.”
This year looks set to be an action packed one for Jai, with this tour, followed by a new single and a second album.
He explained: “The album should be out about June, if not before.
“I’ve got a single out in April too.
“The new tracks are more upbeat, more poppy and up tempo stuff.
“We’re trying to make it younger sounding, because I’m 26, not 40.
“Some songs are written by myself with other people, and others are taken from those kinds of influences and written in similar styles.
“The album’s pretty eclectic, but also a completely different style to the first one. That’s why I’m nervous.
“We started writing stuff and started getting more upbeat rather than classical cross-over.
“I hope people will like it.”
Marie-Claire Jones, Aberlour fundraising manager, said: “We are thrilled to have someone as famous as Jai using their talents to help us raise vital funds for our services.
“It’s incredibly generous of him and will help support the work of places like Aberlour Options Fife, a respite service in Glenrothes which provides short breaks to children with disabilities.”
>> Jai’s Up Close and Personal tour comes to Rothes Halls, Glenrothes on March 8.