Interview: Homecoming show caps rapid raise of Croydon's Rough Copy
This time last year Kazeem Ajobe, Sterling Ramsey and Joey James were dreaming of stardom during day jobs as carpenters, teaching assistants and electricians.
This month they will headline a packed-out home town show as some of the hottest property in pop.
It has been a rapid rise for Rough Copy; one that has taken them from bedroom singers to X-Factor hopefuls to major-label recruits in a matter of months.
Television talent contest wannabes are often the showbiz world's mayflies, forgotten about almost as soon as the rolling credits cut to the ad break.
But with the ink drying on a contract with Sony imprint Epic Records, an album in the works and debut single Street Love getting plenty of air time, the Croydon trio are on the brink of joining the likes of Leona Lewis and JLS in an elite pack of Cowell-bred superstars.
Ajobe, whose girlfriend's encouragement prompted the band to form, says they are still taking stock of their success.
He says: "It has been crazy. It's just six or seven months since we came out of the X-Factor show.
"For any artist, whether you are a musician or a painter or whatever, sometimes things happen so fast you don't have time to step back and have a look at what has happened and appreciate it.
"Sometimes you just have to step back and look at what we've been blessed with."
The boys are road testing songs for their debut album and, having signed to the home of Paloma Faith and Outkast, are likely to be working with big-name producers when they hit the studio. Timbaland and Naughty Boy top their wish-list of collaborators.
"We're working on tracks, collating our catalogue and when it's time for that we'll be ready," says Ajobe.
"It hasn't got a theme or a name yet, we are just getting music together.
"At the moment we like to work with a lot of up-and-coming producers and artists, but I think for the album the label wants to encourage us to work with named producers and artists.
"There are a couple of names in the line but nothing confirmed yet, so watch this space."
In the nearer future, they will be returning to perform for a second time at Fairfield Halls in the home town where they are already familiar faces.
Ajobe says: "It's electric because it is your home town.
"It is a bit nerve-wracking because you have to exceed expectations, but it is good. You look out and you see everyone, which does put a little bit of pressure on.
"Individually we get recognised now, but as a group it's even worse. When we go out as a trio it's ridiculous, but we love it because at the end of the day that's what we're working for.
"If we weren't getting recognised we wouldn't be doing something right, so we must be on the right path."
Rough Copy; Fairfield Halls, Park Lane, Croydon; June 29; £15; 020 8688 9291 or fairfield.co.uk
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