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G4

G4: Gigs, Tickets & Information

About G4

G4 were a four-piece British vocal troupe consisting of Jonathan 'Jon' Ansell, Matthew 'Matt' Stiff, Mike Christie, and Ben Thapa, who first came to prominence when they finished second in Series 1 of The X Factor in 2004. Originally a barbershop quartet, the members met at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, from which the name G4, standing for "Guildhall 4", derives. Prior to auditioning for the show, they performed as buskers during their free time at college to earn extra money and gain experience, and were known for their operatic delivery of modern pop songs.

In 2004, shortly after Stiff replaced original bass Tom Lowe, G4 spontaneously applied to The X Factor with the intention of using the show to obtain a quote on posters for upcoming concerts and gain publicity. Although the band members originally took turns to sing lead, Simon Cowell suggested that Ansell be promoted to the group's frontman. Mentored by Louis Walsh, they reached the final, and to date G4 remain one of only two classical-based acts to compete in the live shows, the other being Welsh baritone Rhydian - coincidentally, both placed second in Series 1 and 4 respectively, and outsold the eventual winners. Cowell, who had mentored Series 1 winner Steve Brookstein, later admitted that G4 were the real winners of the competition.

Despite their success on the show, G4 later branded The X Factor as a pantomime due to staged conflict between the judges which overshadowed the contestants. Bass singer Stiff also stated "Backstage Simon would say we were great, but then on camera say nothing. I don't think he wanted us to win and by choosing what he said on camera he knew he had the power to sway votes. He is the ringmaster".

After The X Factor, G4 signed a £1.5 million album deal with Sony BMG. Having not been picked up by Cowell, Sony A&R Nick Raphael said that his label decided to pursue the band, stating: "We felt that they were the best act on the show." With the rules of The X Factor allowing any non-winning band or artist to sign with anyone, Sony competed with Universal and EMI for G4's signatures. Raphael believed their mentor-turned-manager Walsh accepted Sony BMG's advances because the company had a plan of how to work with them as opposed to their competitors who merely had a desire to sign the band. In addition, Sony also had a definitive date to release any albums and merchandise, as well as organised structure to make their records. During this time, Ansell, who had previously auditioned to be a member of Il Divo, was offered the role of Prince Tamino in Kenneth Branagh's modern adaptation of The Magic Flute, but turned it down to remain with the band.

The debut album, G4, was released on 28 February 2005, and contained mostly classical covers of popular pop songs, most of which had been performed on The X Factor like "Everybody Hurts", with a few opera tunes such as "Nessun Dorma" and "Flower Duet". It reached #1 in time for Mother's Day weekend 2005, and sold over 245,000 copies in the first week. Their debut single, "Bohemian Rhapsody", was released on 14 March 2005, and entered the charts at #9.

G4 & Friends was released on 28 November 2005, and followed the same format as their first album, but also included collaborations with Lesley Garrett and Robin Gibb, both of whom were special guests during the group's UK tour. Their recording of "Miss You Nights" with original artist Cliff Richard was also featured on the latter's album Two's Company The Duets. G4 & Friends entered the charts at #6, and while not as successful as their first album, it was still certified platinum. Their version of "When a Child is Born", also from the album, was originally in the running to become christmas number one for 2005, but was disqualified due to free stickers included in the CD case.

G4's third and final album Act Three was released on 27 November 2006. Being released in the same week as the third album by the similar band Il Divo, Act Three peaked at #21 in the UK charts with first week sales of 37,487. The album included a collaboration with Stephen Gately on the track "No Matter What", Gately having sung the lead on the original version of the song with his band Boyzone, and an orchestral arrangement of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy".

In 2005, G4 launched the similarly-named G Force ride at Drayton Manor Theme Park. In 2006, they traveled to the SOS Children's Villages in Ghana on behalf of Classic Response, completed the London Marathon, and made a special appearance at the American 4 July party at Winfield House, home of the US Ambassador to the UK where they sang "The Star-Spangled Banner". They also presented a show on Classic FM which showcased their favourite pieces of classical music, along with their own recordings.

On 5 April 2007, G4 announced on GMTV that they would be splitting after their national tour due to disagreements within the band, with Ansell pursuing a solo career. Tenor Thapa stated: "We did not want to drag on for another couple of years, growing increasingly resentful of each other. We are still friends and we want to stay friends but we won't if we carry on in G4". They gave their final performance at Romsey on 28 July 2007 before splitting.

Ansell's solo album Tenor at the movies reached #1 in the classical charts - making him the youngest tenor to accomplish this feat - but in 2012 he was criticised for auditioning for Superstar after it was revealed he was still rehearsing for another musical. Thapa has worked with the National Chamber Choir of Ireland, and was in the Scottish Opera's production of Kátya Kabanová. Christie is now a classical composer, having written the opera The Miller's Wife which was shown at the Arcola Theatre in 2013, and Stiff, who returned to Classic FM to present his self-titled music programme has performed in several operas, and has spoken of becoming a lecturer in future.

In July 2014, G4 announced via their Twitter page that they would be reuniting for one night at the Barbican Hall as part of their ten-year anniversary. This will be with all members except Stiff who is working on his opera career; standing in for him will be Nick Ashby. The group had previously performed together two years after the split during Ansell's wedding to television presenter Debbie King.

Upcoming Gigs (8) -

  • G4 Live In Concert

    Corn Exchange Kings Lynn, in Kings Lynn

    Thu, 21 Sep 2017

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  • G4 Live In Concert

    Princes Theatre Clacton, in Clacton-on-sea

    Sat, 23 Sep 2017

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  • G4 Live In Concert

    Preston Guildhall & Charter Theater, in Preston

    Mon, 25 Sep 2017

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  • G4 Live In Concert

    Octagon Theatre, in Yeovil

    Wed, 27 Sep 2017

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  • G4 Live In Concert

    Shrewsbury Theatre Severn, in Shrewsbury

    Thu, 28 Sep 2017

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  • G4

    Whitley Bay Playhouse, in Tyne and Wear

    Tue, 20 Mar 2018

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  • G4 Live

    Assembly Hall Theatre, in Tunbridge Wells

    Fri, 23 Mar 2018

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  • G4 - Christmas By Candlelight Tour

    Spa, in Scarborough

    Sun, 2 Sep 2018

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