JJ Hamblett is arguably known for being one-fourth of one of England’s biggest boy bands Union J. But, what is JJ like behind the cameras and off the stage? I was extremely lucky to get the opportunity to go to London to interview him, and I was greeted by the most humble, genuine and humorous guy; and loved every second I spent with him. Chatting about everything, from his trek across the Great Wall of China which my brave friend Crissy also completed, to life on the road with Union J, and the all important question of what soap JJ would love to be in. I mean come on, you all know me, I couldn’t not ask a soap related question!!
So, sit back, relax, and read what went down when I interviewed JJ Hamblett.
Hi JJ, lovely to see you, how are you?
You too, I’m very hot but I’m good!
It is really hot today isn’t it?!
Yes, I got the tube earlier and was sweating!
So for those people who don’t know you, you’re one-fourth of Union J, and since the X-Factor you’ve been on tours, released books and albums and even had little dolls of yourself made! But have you had a highlight in those past years?
I think a few things really! For me, it was getting through to the live shows of X Factor, which was the key moment to my success and my career so far in Union J. It was that moment that Louis said yes to going through to the live shows, there are no words to describe that feeling.
So was that the moment you sort of thought wow okay this could be it?
Yeah, you know, it’s one minute I’m kind of riding horses, the next minute I’m being shipped off to Vegas and Louis is saying yes. It really was a life changing decision.
Riding was obviously a big part of your life, do you miss it?
I do, I’d love to get back into it, I think I’d be pretty scared to ride a horse now it’s been like four years.
Yeah, I don’t think I’d ever get on a horse they terrify me!
It’s weird because obviously I was brought up with horses, and born into riding, but a lot of people I speak to are scared of horses! It is a thing I’d really like to get back into one day.
Another love of yours is clearly music. A lot of people have a musical influence when growing up, did you have one?
I did! For me, I was a huge fan of Westlife and I’d listen to them lots. Which is really unusual now because we actually met the boys and are now friends with them, and it’s weird to think when I was younger I was a huge fan of someone that I am now fortunate enough to be friends with. I’m going to admit that also a few times I’d sing karaoke and it would be Angels by Robbie Williams, I loved Robbie Williams as well. I thought his presence on stage, the way he acts he was the full package. Growing up it was definitely them two.
Would you say you were somewhat Starstruck when you met the boys from Westlife and Robbie?
I did yeah! We met Robbie on the X-Factor, and during the X-Factor it’s like everything happens so quickly you never really got the chance to take anything in. Then when we met him for the first time, I remember seeing him and being like wow, and it kind of hit me when we left the room like oh my god I’ve just met Robbie. It’s pretty surreal to be fortunate enough to be connected with your childhood idols and I am very grateful for it.
I suppose it’s weird going from growing up idolising someone to suddenly them being in the same sort of circle as you.
Yeah, it’s really weird, but it also makes you so thankful that you have these opportunities.
So Union J are going on tour later this year, and you’re visiting quite a lot of cities. Is there any one, in particular, you’re looking forward to visiting?
I love London because it’s the capital, but I really love going up north. The further up north you go, the crowds seem to get louder!
It must be us northerners knowing how to put on a loud show!
You do! Glasgow is always a really loud show, the crowds up there are so loud. Then Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle are also really loud and energetic. All the Northern ones are amazing (and loud) to be honest.
Apart from Union J, do you have any side things going on?
I have yeah. I’ve got some really exciting things actually. I’ve just finished a feature film called Tango One directed by a huge British director, Sacha Bennett. I’ve got some other pretty exciting things but can’t really say too much. Obviously, I’m doing the band, but a lot of things I’m involved with are to do with the acting world.
Has acting always been something you’ve loved as well as music then?
It is! It was really unusual because I was acting once I’d finished horse riding, and I went into acting first and tried to peruse an acting career, and then I kind of fell into singing and loved that too! And now I get to experience both of them which is incredible.
You get the best of both worlds! Now I love my soaps if you could be on any soap, which one would it be?
Ah, it would be Home and Away or Neighbours! I’m a huge fan, probably because I love Australia so much. But I’ve seen the actors who have come out of Home and Away and Neighbours, and there are some huge Hollywood actors, and that’s something I’d love to do, try and tackle Hollywood.
At least you’d be in a hot country if you were in Neighbours or Home and Away!
Yes, that’s what I want. The five days here are fine, but the sun is just a winner isn’t it!
You are involved heavily with charity, and we were talking about your trek across the Great Wall of China earlier, would you ever consider doing any more extreme challenges for charity?
I would! I was always a bit scared to go to China because it was the first trek I’d ever done, and I didn’t know what fitness you had to be at to be able to walk the Great Wall, but I absolutely loved it, and it was an amazing charity. I’ve actually kept my boots just in case anything comes up in the future! Once I came back from China I realised my fitness was a lot different to before, and it made me exercise more and keep fit. I really did enjoy it, it was a great laugh and we met so many new people.
Did you meet a lot of fans then when you were over in China?
We had a few yeah, it was really unusual because in China they don’t have social media like Twitter or Facebook, so we didn’t really know how many fans we had in China. We spoke to one fan who showed us the Chinese Union J page, which had 1.6 million fans on it.
That’s pretty crazy that you’re known in China as it’s so far away from England.
Yeah, it’s really crazy actually, especially because they don’t have things like Twitter to know who we are, and we haven’t been over there before so I suppose word gets round! And it was amazing to meet a few fans while over there.
Your fans look up to you and class you as a role model, and a lot of them do want to get into this industry. If you could say anything to them, what advice would you give them?
I suppose never give up! I had so many rejections before I started pursuing my career in music, and you’ve just go to work hard and believe in yourself. I honestly believe that if you have a dream and work hard you can achieve what you want, so my advice would be to work hard, never give up, and always follow your dreams.
It was so lovely to chat to JJ about life, the industry, Union J and his future plans. If you’ve not already got tickets to their tour, what are you waiting for? Get tickets here!