Interview with BBC Let it Shine winners Five to Five*

After attending Take That’s musical The Band, and publishing a review titled If Your Full-Time Job in the 90s Was Following Take That, Read This, I was given the opportunity to interview Five to Five, the guys singing Take That songs in The Band. These incredibly talented young men are the winners of BBC Let it Shine, and were handpicked by Gary Barlow, Amber Riley, Dannii Minogue and Martin Kemp in person during the TV show that aired in January and February 2017 on BBC One.

Five to Five Let it Shine boy band

From right clockwise: 1) Yazdan Qafouri saying bye bye 2 & 3) Harry Fabulous Brown being held by a half-naked Sario Solomon, 4) AJ Bentley as Obi-Wan Kenobi 5) Curtis T Johns (and no, Curtis is not Gary Barlow’s lookalike)

Now, you may be wondering what that little* in the article title means. Cutting a long story short, the moment I shared this picture on Twitter announcing that I had just interviewed Five to Five on Skype and that the interview was coming soon, a handful of women that made me feel ashamed of being a woman myself too, went into insulting and protesting. To my greatest shock, the thing that made them so angry was that I actually interviewed all the guys that are currently in The Band, including the understudy of one the members that is injured at the moment.

In their opinion, this lovely guy shouldn’t have replaced the original guy in the interview and I should have excluded him from this media opportunity even if he’s currently performing in The Band and touring with the other four (known, again, as Five to Five). Apart from what I may personally think of people that spend their time discussing topics like that on Twitter, my approach is ruled by logic: I wanted to interview the band, I am given the current members, hence, I interview them all without making any distinctions. And because the injured boy is not currently available for interviews either, you know what I’m going to do with all this? I’m keeping all the five guys in and I am not going to reveal who – among AJ Bentley, Curtis T Johns, Harry Fabulous Brown, Sario Solomon and Yazdan Qafouri – the understudy is.
Just try and guess.
Otherwise, you can send your complaints to [email protected].

*** Update 30th November 2018: after publishing this article, I have been bullied, insulted, trolled and threatened by dozens of furious milfs on Twitter. As a result, the traffic increased by +112% in just a week. Please continue like this and you’ll make me rich by the end of the year ❤  ***

Hey guys! Can you see me?!

All: Yeah! Hi!

Oh my God, you’re all there…

Yazdan: Yeah, apart from AJ that will be here in a second!

Ok, no worries! So how are you, guys?!

Yazdan, Curtis, Harry: Very good, thanks!

Sario (half-naked): Eeeehehh

So, thank you so much for accepting to do this. And sorry for the mess in my room. I attended the show last week, and it was absolutely great. You’re really great, so congrats for this! I almost cried, to be honest…

Curtis, Harry, Sario: Oooooooooh!

Yazdan: Thank you so much, Silvia.

So, this is a career magazine – the UK’s 1st independent career magazine if you let me brag about it, so all the questions will be around your work, careers and what your dream job as a child was… stuff like that. Is that Ok with you?

Yazdan: Yeah, yeah, I think it’s all good!

Then, the first question is: what was your dream job as a child?

Curtis: Ok, I’ll go first. My dream job as a child is that I’ve always wanted to write music. Well, I actually wanted to be a History teacher, I did History at A Levels and it was really enjoyable, but then I couldn’t get highly involved into this ever since working in music.

Yazdan: My dream job as a child is that I’ve always wanted to do something in Physics and Maths, I had big drams to do that, but then when I got to my college years, I realise that I loved it but it wasn’t as big as my love for acting and being on the stage, so I kind of made a decision to kind of pursuing that for university, like Drama School instead of obviously pursuing an academic route. While I was doing that I was also in the show Let it Shine, and then we won the show, so this is what we’ve been doing now.

Yazdan-Qafouri-Five-to-Five-Let-it-Shine-The-Band_

Yazdan Qafouri

This is great. What about you, Sario?

Sario: Oh wow, you say Sario, so you know who I am.

Yazdan: Oh-my-God!!!

Of course! I know who you all are!!!

Sario: Oh, crazy. So, as a kid, I wanted to be a marine biologist, and I still love David Attenborough’s stuff… and I still love all that stuff…

Are you sure?

(All laugh)

Sario: Ahahah, yeah yeah, I really did.

Yazdan: Yeah, he watches plenty of videos with fish and it’s just… you know, it’s kind of weird!

Sario: But it turned out you have to be kind of clever to be a marine biologist… so it’s weird, isn’t it?

Yazdan: And he’s not clever!

Oh, come on…

Sario: Well, you know, I was good at Biology, but not at Physics or Chemistry, so, you know…

But I read somewhere that you’re also really into trees, are you?!

(All laugh)

Sario: Ahahah, trees… ok, hahaha… so I was also a part-time tree surgeon for a while and yeah, I do love trees as well, so I was a bit of a weird kid!

Harry Fabulous Brown Five to Five Let it Shine The Band Take That Musical

Harry Fabulous Brown

Harry, what about you?

Harry: When I was a kid, I was always interested in theatre and I wanted to be in the West End, and we’re going to West End in a month’s time, so it’s quite cool actually… this is what I wanted to do as a kid!

Is AJ there already?

Yazdan: We’re going to go and grab him now! Meanwhile, are there other questions you wanted to ask us?

Sure! Is there a job you would never do in your whole life?

Curtis: For me, personally, no, I would do any job, I love to work…

Gary Barlow’s lookalike?

(All laugh out loud)

You know, Curtis, where you were on stage, you looked a bit like him, and then you’ve got the same talent for songwriting!

Curtis: Thank you!

Yazdan?

Yazdan: Well, I don’t know if there is a job that I wouldn’t do… I guess that if you need to work you’ll obviously going to go in moments in your actor’s life when you’re not going to be employed, so you cannot say no to anything… but maybe I wouldn’t probably do adult films!

Oh my God! And what about Harry?

Harry: To be honest, I would probably do anything, but I wouldn’t want to do anything other than what I want to do.

Sario Solomon Five to Five Let it Shine The Band

Sario Solomon Five to Five Let it Shine The Band Take That Musical

Sario?

Sario: Silvia, where are you originally from?

I’m from Rome, Italy. Why?!

Yazdan: I went to Rome this Summer, so beautiful!

Sario: Ooooh, wow. What was the question, sorry?

LOL. Is there a job you would never do in your life?

Sario: You know what, it’s controversial… I love fish, but every time I go fishing I get really sea sick. You know, on boats you get quite sea sick, and this is weird, as I love fish.

But do you eat fish as well?

Sario: Well, I love fish but I cannot be a fisherman!

I can see AJ is there. What was your dream job as a child?

AJ: Oh, what was my dream job… I think it was to be a teacher.

What kind of teacher?

AJ: Probably dance. Yes, I did dance from an early age, I did think about dance teaching, and I think I got to a certain age when it became like a nightmare…

And is there a job you would never do in your life?

AJ: I don’t think I could be a surgeon… or anything when they cut people’s bodies!

You would faint in front of the blood…

AJ: Yes, I think I would be sick.

Curtis T Johns Five to Five Let it Shine The Band Take That musical boyband

Curtis T Johns

Another question for everyone: is there a job you would never do in the music industry?

Curtis: Dancing!

Yazdan: I don’t know, I think there are so many jobs in the music industry, and think I just kind of… if I was to work in the music industry, I think it’s such a hard industry to work in that you kind of just feel lucky being in there, so I’d say no, there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do.

So you would write songs for Britney Spears or stuff like that…

Yazdan: Oh well, I think I would make cups of tea for Britney Spears if I got to be around Britney Spears!!!

Hahaha! What about the three of you?

Sario: For me, I think that would be Opera because I couldn’t do Opera.

Harry: To be honest, for me it would be just like Yazdan, I would do anything.

AJ: There is probably a lot I wouldn’t do, but I think it’s more a point to see what jobs come up, then if you’re interested just go for it, and if you’re not, if it doesn’t intrigue you, or it doesn’t manifest the best of your artistic self, then it’s not worthy.

If you all were not selected for this musical, what would you be doing now?

Curtis: I would be travelling and writing some music and trying to get songs in some people’s albums.

AJ: Well, I don’t actually know, I think about that quite a lot and I still cannot figure out… I would be probably finishing my Degree badly…

Harry: I would probably be studying at University.

Yazdan: I would probably be studying acting by now.

Sario: I would be a tree surgeon.

AJ Bentley Five to Five Let it Shine The Band Take That musical

AJ Bentley

Was there a moment in your life when you realised what you wanted or didn’t want in terms of career?

Curtis: For me it wasn’t like “I don’t want to do this”, it was more like “I really want to do this, and I’m going to do anything to do this”, and this was the point of joining the talent show, ’cause I would have never ever considered this before, but then I saw the Gary Barlow’s thing happening, and I was like: “I’m going to explore that”, and I’m glad I did, ’cause we won.

AJ: Well, I think I’ve always felt like I was destined for something, and I still am, so I think this is just a stepping stone to where things can go, and with being with Gary Barlow, that was always a safe path, it has been something incredible and we had a job at the end of it, so yeah, I think it’s just a great start.

AJ, you auditioned for The X Factor the year before, didn’t you?

AJ: Yes, the year before I was in another boyband and we did The X Factor, and it basically helped me out for this, it gave me a little bit more confidence for this… I’ve always watched The X Factor, so it was just good fun.

Harry, Yazdan, Sario, was there such a moment in your career for you as well?

Harry: Basically, when I was a kid I always enjoyed theatre, and there were times when I actually thought that I wanted to do it full-time, and then I started studying and then I got into this show, and now here I am.

Yazdan: When I was at the College I was doing maths and physics and I kept telling my friends “I don’t really want to do it”. So, on the back of my mind, I always felt this wasn’t right and that I wasn’t meant to be here, I was dreaming of actually working, and I kept telling my friends that I had this kind of visions… and funnily enough, I ended up in the show!

Sario: A clever answer is the silly answer! For me, the thing is that I’ve always been really restless as a kid, so I’ve always loved dancing and performing, this was always something I knew I was going to pursue, but I didn’t know if this was going to be a career, as I fully know how tough it is, so this is why I went to school and I went on to concentrate on my GCSEs Levels and I got that, and I was going to the Royal Holloway University of London and do studies there, but during my gap year I was very lazy, so my mum told me “you should do something”, and she saw the advert of the TV show, and then… here I am.

What star signs are you all?

Curtis: Virgo.

AJ: Sagittarius.

Harry: Pisces.

Yazdan: I’m a Scorpio.

Sario: Sario is a Cancer.

Sario is in the third person, of course… What was your favourite subjects at school?

Curtis: History.

AJ: Maths.

Harry: English.

Yazdan: Maths.

Sario: Biology.

What else… what are the best and worst parts of being famous?

Yazdan: I think you should ask when we get famous!

Curtis: The best part of being in a whitelist is that you have a good social media presence, and people want to talk to you after the show. The worst part is that… that people want to talk to you after the show… no I’m joking! It’s like if you put your life on a platform, people kind of really buy into it and they’re allowed to build perspectives about you, without really knowing you. So you get fans to appreciate what you do, so it’s quite exposing in a way. But you open up your life to criticism, you know, if it’s good, if it’s bad, you kind of put yourself out there.

All: We think we all agree with that.

Are you receiving a lot of teddy bears and bras from fans?

Curtis: Wine, teddy bears, chocolate, candles, t-shirts…

Sario mustn’t receive any t-shirts, since he’s walking around half-naked.

Sario: No, I don’t, haha.

Yazdan: I used to get a lot of beer, and I couldn’t bring myself to say that I don’t even drink alcohol, so at the end of last year I was like: “guys, thank you for the beers, but actually we don’t drink!”

Any funny memories about the show you want to share?

Yazdan: I think a funny memory we’ve got is that when we were at Let it Shine, we had these earphones, because obviously it’s so loud and there’s so much going on that you wear these on stage, and we could talk to each other, so we kind of had secret conversations. I remember that, it was quite fun.

Sario: For me, a funny memory would be that I kept hitting my face with the microphone because I’m not that professional, but in the semi-final, during the dance break, I smashed by microphone into my mouth, so I was basically internally bleeding for all of that song… so this is a funny memory.

God, it’s not funny at all. What are the artists that inspire you the most? And don’t say Take That!

Curtis: Ok, so for me is Brandon Flowers, Paloma Faith, Queen… lots. I love music.

You say Queen… And have you watched the movie of Queen, Bohemian Rapsody? It is… oh my God, it is SO good, it’s just a masterpiece, you MUST go and watch it, it’s just amazing, believe me, it’s so great…

Harry: Yeah, it’s really good!

Yazdan: I dressed as a Freddie Mercury for Halloween, you know?

(The others stare at me as if I was nuts. Which of course, I am. I went nuts for that movie, it is a true masterpiece)

Ok, sorry for the one-man show about the movie. What about you all? Who does inspire you in music?

AJ: Who does inspire me? Oh well, a lot of people inspire me, but I wouldn’t say names… I actually inspire myself.

(All laugh out loud)

Oh come on, you don’t have like a favourite artist or something like that?

AJ: Oh Ok, I have to say something… so Queen and Micheal Jackson. And Justin Timberlake I’d say?

So you’ve got this feeling inside your bones

(Damn, I did it again. At least they all laugh out this time…)

Harry, Sario, Yazdan, what about you?

Harry: I love playing my guitar, and Ed Sheeran’s songs inspire me in this.

Sario: For me, as a really young kid, it was listening to my dad’s plays, so at the time it was a lot of Bob Dylan, but as I got older, more things like Panic! at the Disco.

Yazdan: I used to sing a lot of classical choral stuff when I was a kid, and then I also listen to rap music, I love Eminem, but I have quite a varied music taste, and I also like performers like Passenger, so everything really.

Ok, guys, I’m finally done with the questions. Is there anything else at all you want to say?

Curtis: I will. We just had a short break, obviously, we tour with The Band full time, but in this short break, I love music so much that I released a new EP called Fears, which is available for sale.

Yazdan: And I just went on holidays! For eight weeks after working hard, I went to Turkey, to Italy, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, I went everywhere, it was great.

AJ: I also have an EP that is coming out at the end of this year, it is called Beyond the Clouds, so keep up to date on social media for news and release dates.

Cool! Thank you guys for your time and keep up the great work! 💛❤💚💙💜

The cast of The Band, credit Matt Crockett

© Matt Crockett

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