Aled Jones by Emily Fairbairn Sun 10 - 05 - 2016 See page 36 of Saturday's Sun. In Aled's teenage days he's a spitting image of Nicola Sturgeon see photo.
One is a heart-throb with a supermodel girlfriend who made his name in the world's biggest boy-band and is rarely out of the showbiz headlines. The other is a chubby cheeked former chorister most often seen on daytime TV -- who says his biggest vice is Ginster Pasties. So few would have bet on Aled Jones outselling Zayn Malik's debut album this week --- yet that's what happened. Midweek figures the 45-year-old's One voice shifted 10,115 copies to Zayn's 6,144 copies of Mind Of Mine and in today's official chart languished proudly at number 6 with Zayn's finishing at number 9. Anyone who has followed Aled's 33-year career will no that the extraordinary chart upset is no fluke . After all, he has followed a tried and tested formula pioneered by another musical legend adored by grannies everywhere -- Sir Cliff Richard. Both have disregarded be cool or fashionable in favour of clean-cut lifestyles and devout religious beliefs. And Aled knows it is stars such as Sir Cliff Richard --- who has sold 250 million records worldwide -- who have the last laugh. Aled may seem boring to the casual observer but it exactly this carefully constructed wholesomeness that has helped his 31 albums sell 6.5 million copies worldwide, bringing him in a multi-million-pound fortune. In Britain many of those albums were sold Woolworth stores before their closure in 2008. A former Woolworths worker said: 'Aled Jones is one of those artists you can count on. 'Every time he had a new album out we would have queues outside the doors before we even opened.' The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) is the UK industry's trade body. It's spokesman, Gennaro Castaldo, said: 'Older female fans are an incredible important sector of the UK music market. These are the sort of consumers who will be picking up physical CD's in the shops, for themselves and as gifts, and they remain very loyal to their favourite artists. 'Aled Jones has really maximised his appeal to this market.' Aled from Llendegfan, Anglesey, was thrust into the global spotlight at just 14 with the release of his version Walking in the Air, the hit song from the animated film 'the Snowman.' By 16 the baby-faced choir boy had already recorded more than a dozen albums, written his autobiography, sung for the Pope, Charles and Diana and at Bob Geldof and Paula Yates wedding. It would have been fair to expect that at this point, like many child stars, he would veer off the rails. But not even when his voice broke at 16, putting a temporary halt to his recording career, was he thrown off course. He enrolled at the Royal Academy of Music and even as a student he was on his best behaviour. He recalled: 'I had girlfriends but I was no ladies man. The level of self control had worked for Sir Cliff, a life long bachelor, who said 'sex is not one of the things that drives me.' Both Aled and 75-year old Cliff have stuck to rigidly clean life styles, which are perhaps the secret of their youthful good looks. Sir Cliff is said to have just one meal a day, has never taken drugs and sticks to one glass of wine in the evening. Aled's biggest weakness is Ginsters Cornish Pasties. He has said: 'Those pasties smile at me like the devil.' Like Sir Cliff, who is famously outspoken about his faith and has released several religious singles, Aled is a committed Christian. He has made his faith a central part of his career from releasing hymns to holding gigs in cathedrals and landing a presenters job on the long running BBC series Songs of Praise. He says his favourite book is the Bible and adds: 'I can honestly say when I stand up on stage I'm singing to God, and thanking him for giving me everything I have. No wonder that, like Sir Cliff, Aled will always be associated with Christmas. Sir Cliff has spent four Christmases No1 in the singles chart, while Aled has released two Christmas duets with sir Terry Wogan for Children in need. Everyone who knows Aled describes him as a warm and Grounded family man, devoted to his wife Claire, a former air stewardess who he married in 2001, and children, Emily, 14 and Lucas 11. As well as still regularly releasing records he presents daytime TV shows including Weekend, Cash in the Attic and escape to the country. Aled Jones devotees -- like Cliff fans, mostly women in late middle age have watched him grow from adorable Choirboy to the sort of man they would be delighted for their daughter to marry. It is their buying power that ensures his albums consistently hit the top ten -- and their enthusiasm that propelled him to the semi-finals of Strickly Come Dancing in 2004, despite limited ability. Super-fan Isobel Calladine, 29, says it is obvious why he is so popular -- he means something special to his followers. She is blind, which made her so depressed that she considered suicide -- until she bought Aled's 2003 album Higher. She said: "That was when I first heard him. I was at a stage in my life when I was thinking. "What's the point?" "And if it wasn't for his beautiful lyrics, I don't think I would have gone on." Now Isabel from Tring, Hertfordshire, is an active member of Aled's online fan clubs and a close friend with other fans. A pal of the star heard her story and arranged for her to attend a 2010 concert in St. Albans Herts -- where she finally met him. She said: "I was so nervous but he said, 'There's no reason to be nervous'. He held my hand while he spoke to me. He was so comforting and down to earth. I am certain the desire to go to Aled's concerts and meet him saved my life. As to why she thought Aled does not receive the same level of exposure as less successful artists -- such as Zayn Malik, Isobel replied: "People pigeon-hole Aled's music into the classical category but it is so much more than that. Anyone who doubts that should listen -- they might find they'll an emotional connection that is just as exhilarating." So it turns out that against the odds, clean living, hard work and a relaxed attitude to being really uncool is the recipe for success.