English pop singer Aston Merrygold is best known as a member of early 2010s boy band JLS. Also a dancer and television personality, Merrygold kicked off a solo career after the multi-platinum, chart-topping JLS disbanded, signing with Warner Bros. Records in 2014. Releasing a handful of singles each year -- including funky Top 30 hit "Get Stupid" -- the Michael Jackson-influenced showman also issued debut EP Precious in 2017.
Born in Peterborough, England, in 1988, Merrygold was raised in a large, multiracial family, favoring singing, dancing, and soccer as a child. His first step into the spotlight came in 2002 when he sang Michael Jackson's "Rockin' Robin" on U.K. television talent competition, Stars in Their Eyes. Soon after, he was cast on the kid's show Fun Song Factory. In 2008, he joined a group that was formed by his friend Marvin Humes, as well as Oritsé Williams and JB Gill. That quartet, JLS, went on to compete in the fifth season of The X Factor. While they finished in second place, they signed a major-label deal with Epic Records. Over the next five years, the group released four Top Three albums, five U.K. number one singles, and even starred in their own movie. They disbanded in December 2013.
A year later, a solo Merrygold signed with Warner Bros. His debut single, "Get Stupid," was a hit, rising into the U.K. Top 30 on the strength of its funky James Brown-meets-Bruno Mars flair. Follow-up single "Show Me" was another funk-infused romp. In 2016, he charted again with "I Ain't Missing You," a propulsive electro-dance collaboration with LDN Noise. The slow-burning "Too Late" followed, hinting at a more mature direction for the singer, which arrived on 2017's sensual, Zayn-esque "One Night in Paris." That same year, Merrygold released his debut EP, Precious, a six-track effort that served as a stopgap while he continued crafting his official first full-length. In 2018, he expanded his style palate with the electronic dance anthem "Across My Heart," a collaboration with Gawler that interpolated Terence Trent D'Arby's "Sign Your Name." Riding that beat-forward, dance-friendly style, he released the island-tinged "Bon Appetit" and the trap-kissed "Poison Ivy." ~ Neil Z. Yeung