Aled Jones (born 29 December 1970) is a Welsh singer and television/radio personality and broadcaster who first came to fame as a boy soprano. He is the only child of Nest and Derek Jones, and was raised in a Welsh-speaking community in the small Anglesey village of Llandegfan, and attended Ysgol David Hughes.
Born in St. David’s Hospital in Bangor, Wales, Jones joined the choir of Bangor Cathedral at age nine and was Lead Soloist within two years, although he never made Head Chorister. The remarkable clarity of his treble voice was appreciated by a member of the congregation, Hefina Orwig Evans, who wrote a letter to local record company Sain, and he was duly signed. He is best known for singing “Walking in the Air”, the song from Channel 4’s animated film The Snowman, based on the book by Raymond Briggs. The song reached No. 5 in the UK charts. Contrary to popular belief, neither the version in the film – nor the version in the 1982 re-release – was performed by Aled, but by Peter Auty, a St. Paul’s Cathedral choirboy.
In the same year (1982) he won the solo and the Cerdd Dant solo competitions for competitors under 12 at the Urdd Eisteddfod.
His recording career was temporarily halted when his voice broke at sixteen, but he had already sold more than six million albums and sung for the Pope and the Queen, as well as presented numerous children’s television programmes. He also enjoyed the distinction of being the first artist to have two classical albums listed simultaneously in the popular music charts.
Following the breaking of his voice, he studied at the Royal Academy of Music and the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. In 1995 he secured a leading role in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and met his future wife, Claire Fossett, while touring in Blackpool. The couple married in 2001 and have two young children, a five-year old daughter Emilia and a two-year old son Lucas.
He also worked with Mike Oldfield (“Pictures in the Dark”) and Leonard Bernstein (“Chichester Psalms”). In 1986 he sung the oratorio Athalia with Emma Kirkby.
Aled has since resumed his recording career, with a largely religious repertoire. He has recorded sixteen albums to date, many of which reached gold or platinum status in the UK and Australia. He is a lyric baritone, though he has expressed a desire to move into the traditional register of the tenor.
In 2003 he visited Australia twice; a promotional tour in May to launch his first baritone album ALED and then in December that year for his first concert tour.
He has been a presenter on Classic FM and regularly presents Songs of Praise, as well as various programmes on Welsh radio (BBC Radio Wales and Radio Cymru) and television (S4C). In autumn 2004 he participated in the BBC One pro-celebrity ballroom dancing game show Strictly Come Dancing, partnering Lilia Kopylova. Aled preferred the Latin dancing to the ballroom, as he found the latter confusing and hard to follow. The pair came fourth, but Aled was said to have enjoyed the experience enormously, and credited the physically strenuous competition with his recent, significant weight loss.
Aled left Classic FM at the beginning of 2006 and joined the BBC, taking over from Don Maclean on Good Morning Sunday from 7-9am on Sunday Mornings on BBC Radio 2 and The Choir on BBC Radio 3 on Sunday evenings from 6.30-8pm.
His next album, titled New Horizons was released in October 2005 and reached #21 in the UK.
During Christmas 2005, Aled was one of the performers who took part in the BBC show Celebrate Oliver! and was the guest presenter for and performed in the second show of the BBC four-part series The Sound of Musicals in January 2006. On Christmas Day 2005 he presented a Christmas special on Welsh-language TV channel S4C (Nadolig Aled), and was earlier in the year featured on a special edition of Welsh church music program Dechrau Canu, Dechrau Canmol talking about his faith and the impact of church music in his life.
August 2006 saw Aled on tour in Australia once again on his New Horizons tour…an eight-concert tour of five major cities. Australia is credited as being the only country (so far) that Aled has toured in concert outside the UK, something his enthusiastic fans in Australia sincerely appreciate.
Aled has since released a greatest hits compilation album: You Raise Me Up-The Best of Aled Jones in November 2006, featuring a reprise of his song “Walking in the Air”, which has now become a duet between young and present Aled.
On an episode of the BBC television programme Play it Again, broadcast in April 2007, Aled learned to play the drums. He progressed well enough to be able to perform the song Raging Storm live on stage with Chris de Burgh in Germany.