Born and raised in Ballivor, Co. Meath, 20 year old Christopher Leonard has been on quite a roller coaster journey so far in his music career.
In 2013, Christopher was a part of a short-lived, Irish boy band named ‘5th Base’. The band soon became known as ‘Out of the Blue’ after reaching the boot camp stage on Simon Cowell’s ‘The X Factor’ that same year. They battled with the best talents before taking an early exit from the hit TV show and soon going their separate ways.
Christopher however returned home and began to focus on his own career. He made his way back to The X Factor in 2014 to audition as a solo artist, before being faced with yet another rejection from the panel of judges. Luckily, he was chosen to join with seven other contestants from the show to form a new boy band named ‘Stereo Kicks’. The group were mentored by Louis Walsh, who led them to finish in an impressive fifth place; guaranteeing them a place on the X Factor arena tour line-up.
Talk to us about your musical background. Has it always been your dream to be a performer?
“My dad is a musician, so growing up I went to a lot of his gigs and I was always around a lot of musical people. There was always singing or instruments being played in my house, so that definitely influenced my decision when I was growing up, that I wanted to perform and be a musician.”
What made you audition for the X Factor?
“I auditioned for the X Factor because, whether you love the show or hate it, it’s a big platform to showcase your talent. I had nothing to lose by auditioning and I had the belief and confidence in myself to do well. Thankfully I did, so it’s definitely one of the best things I have done.”
How did you feel when you were first put into Stereo Kicks?
“I was shocked! These things don’t happen often and for Simon Cowell to hand pick me out of the thousands that auditioned was amazing. I was one of the lucky few who made it into the band, so I was completely honoured to be asked to be a part of it.”
In July 2015, Stereo Kicks released their first single ‘Love Me So’ which reached number 31 on the UK Singles Chart. Unfortunately, after all their hard work, this wasn’t enough to secure a record deal with their label and less than a month later, the band announced their split.
Since Stereo Kicks has split, what have you been doing?
“Since the band split, out of the eight of us, I’ve been one of the lucky few with a diary that has filled up! I have a European tour coming up this year which includes dates in Poland, Germany, Paris and many other places. I’m also currently recording my EP which I will be releasing in the coming months.”
How does it feel to be a solo musician again?
“It feels amazing! When I was in the band I didn’t get a chance to show people who I am and what I can do. So now that I’m solo again, I call the shots! It’s my music and my ideas. And people are going to see what I’m capable of.”
What is your favourite musical instrument to play and why?
“The guitar. When I was younger I had a long stint in hospital and to pass the time, my brother bought me a guitar so I could learn how to play. I’ve never looked back since.”
Would you consider the X Factor one of the hardest challenges you have faced so far?
“It wasn’t a walk in the park by any means, but I love a tough challenge so the show was perfect for me. I think the reason it was so tough was because my year was probably one of the best years the show has had for talent, as well as many other things.”
What can we expect to hear in 2016?
“People can expect to be seeing and hearing me a lot this year. I’ve got a new house track coming out with Paul Morrell this spring that I feature on so I’m excited for that. I’m going to be making a lot of waves and I think people are going to be extremely shocked, in a good way. But in saying that, it won’t be all down to me. I owe a huge amount of my success so far to my fans. They are amazing. They come everywhere with me and they are all around the world, from Asia, Brazil, Africa and all around Europe.”
Time after time, Christopher Leonard remains focused on moving forward. He’s got ambition and determination to ‘beat the band’ and we’re excited to hear some new music from him this year.