Former student has the X Factor!

Joe Waller, AC alumnus previously at Mill Chase School, recently appeared on ITV’s The X Factor impressing judges with his solo performance. Joe qualified for the next round but has decided not to continue with the programme and instead pursue his own career as a singer-songwriter. We caught up with Joe to find out more…

Why did you decide to quit X Factor?

I have definitely left the show even though I had been selected to attend bootcamp. The decision had nothing to do with my day job of teaching but instead my music. I'm a singer-songwriter… always writing, singing and recording my own material. I recognised the show would not allow me to highlight these strengths, as every week I would be required to cover a song. I love writing and performing my own material so it felt natural to exit the competition where I did. My new single 'Love is' is out now.


Did you enjoy being on the show?

Yes. I knew what I was signing up for as I had done Britain’s Got Talent the year before (actually won by another AC alumnus, Michael Auger, previously at Churcher’s College and his band Collabro). It was all an enjoyable experience and something I’m glad I had the opportunity to be involved in. The experience gave me insight into the fact that there is more than one side of the music business. Both programmes are incredible platforms for many artists, just not right for me.


Would you recommend Alton College?

I loved my time at Alton College. I spent all of my time in the Sports Department with Dean Gillatt, Claire Hawes and others who were my main teachers at the time. It was a shame to leave if I’m honest!


What’s your day job? 

I teach at many schools across the local area, Bordon Junior, Anstey, Liphook to name a few. I work for CM Sports, a Portsmouth based football coaching company (who also provides holiday courses across Hampshire including Alton College). After leaving University I was faced with the decision to go into teaching full time, pursue music full time or select a career path which allowed me to do both. Last year I worked full time with CM Sports as the paperwork was a lot less than regular teaching and it still kept me in the field which I qualified in. It was great and the company were an important factor in my development last year as they gave me the work flexibility to take on gigs and recording dates whilst earning money to survive – so I thank them for that!


What are your hopes for the future?

I just hope that people like my music and it affects them in some way. I made myself a plan a year ago that by 2017 I wanted to have sold out a headline night at The Shepherd's Bush Empire. After all if your dreams don’t scare you slightly they are not big enough. But for the time being just having people contacting me and saying they love my music is enough.


Any advice for young teachers and aspiring musicians?

Just go for it. Create a stable plan with achievable goals and massive dreams linked to it. Always making sure you stay level headed. I think it’s unsustainable to suggest people drop everything just to push for a dream because even the most talented people can fail and be left with nothing. At the moment I have the best of both worlds, I push my music career in my spare time as hard as I possibly can whilst maintaining a link to the profession I trained in. But always dream big. Three years ago I bought my first guitar and started learning. Since then I have played Wembley Arena, Manchester SEN, The Bedford London, O2 Islington, sold hundreds of original records and all because I set my mind to it. If you are choosing to build a career in any of the creative arts, make sure you do it for the right reason. One thing I have found out is that any artist wanting the material things that this industry brings won’t last long as it’s a hard profession. But artists that do it for the love of their craft are happy no matter how high they climb.


Photograph courtesy of Alan Dobson photography.


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Find out more about studying Sport at Alton College

Find out more about studying Music at Alton College

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