Jai is full of festive spirit

Jai McDowell brings his festive show to Glenrothes
Jai McDowell brings his festive show to Glenrothes

When I call Jai McDowall at his home in Ayrshire he’s relieved for the break in filling out paperwork while running through Christmas songs in his head.

Festive tunes have been whirring round his mind for some time now as he prepares to take to the road again and perform some very special gigs.

And as part of his latest venture he will be returning to Rothes Halls in Glenrothes next week.

The Britain’s Got Talent winner enjoyed himself so much when he was in town earlier this year on his 
Scottish tour, that he’s 
coming back for his festive treat.

He plays the town centre venue on Wednesday, December 11.

He told the Press: “It was brilliant last time in Glenrothes.

“Before we went I didn’t know what to expect really.

“I’ll be honest, I didn’t really know where Glenrothes was before we went.

“But it ended up being one of the best shows of the tour.

“It was a very warm crowd, rather than some you get, which are quite difficult to describe.

“In Glenrothes I was singing and I knew they were enjoying it, where as sometimes with other audiences you wish they would show they are enjoying it more.”

This time round though Jai is looking to get everyone into the spirit of Christmas with his show, featuring all your favourite Yuletide tunes.

Among them will be the likes of ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’, ‘Last Christmas’, ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’, ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ and ‘Silent Night’, plus many more.

The idea of the Christmas- themed performance came after the singer played one night of festive tunes last year in Irvine.

Looking back, he explained: “I thought it was quite a nice night and the feedback I got from friends, family and those who had been there was good.

“At this time in the year it’s quite quiet in this business, unless you’re doing panto, so a Christmas show like this is a good way to get me out and about.”

For the Fife show, Jai will be accompanied by a live band and very special guests in the form of the choir from Glenrothes High School.

The choir will be providing support for Jai ahead of his appearance in the town, as well as singing with him during the show.

Jai added: “We did this last year (had a school choir perform) and it worked really well, so we’re bringing in young choirs for some of these dates and Glenrothes High is one of them.

“It’s quite nice to have them on stage.

“When you see people singing Christmas songs, there are often choirs involved and we thought, wouldn’t it be nice to get some young choirs involved.

“When I was at school there wasn’t a choir, let alone the chance to get up and sing on someone’s tour like this.

“The kids last year really enjoyed it, and speaking to my old music teacher, who was their choirmaster, they seemed to get a lot out of it.

“So we thought it would be nice to try to do it everywhere.”

Jai said that most of the songs he’s singing during the concert will be “your party ones”, however there are a few slower ones in there too.

So, does the 27-year-old have a festive favourite that he’s featuring in the show?

“O Holy Night,” he said confidently.

“I was quite lucky last year and I got to sing it in Newcastle at an event for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

“I learned it for that and I really like that one.”

Jai rose to fame after winning the fifth series of Britain’s Got Talent in 2011.

Performing Josh Groban’s ‘To Where You Are’ in the final saw him beat off the stiff competition and claim the top prize.

He was later invited to perform live with Josh at a gig in Glasgow’s Concert Hall.

His debut album ‘Believe’ was released in December 2011 with the lead single ‘With or Without You’ released the same day.

Now, a couple of years on Jai’s still enjoying his music and the opportunities it brings.

On his ‘Up Close and Personal’ tour earlier this year, which kicked off in Glenrothes, he was able to help raise money for Aberlour, a children’s charity close to his heart.

He donated £1 for every ticket sold to the charity, which provides help to over 6000 of Scotland’s most vulnerable children, young people and their families each year.

So with a year of tours and working on a new album almost behind him, what’s the lad from Ayrshire got planned for 2014?

“I have got a tour lined up for next year, but it’s down south,” he said.

“We did the Scottish dates this year and are going to England in March, April and May.

“Then hopefully the next album will be out.

“We’re finishing that at the beginning of next year.

“It should be a good year and I’m really looking forward to it.

“I love doing what I do and I really am quite lucky to be able to do it.”

Jai McDowall plays Rothes Halls on Wednesday, December 11.