“When I stand on stage, I’m singing to God and thanking him for giving me everything I have.”
Singer Aled Jones, MBE, is best known as the choir boy who reached number 5 in the UK singles chart in 1985 with ‘Walking in the Air’, the theme tune from the film The Snowman. As a musician he has been very successful with 29 albums and 11 singles to his career credit. He has sung for the rich and famous, including HM Queen Elizabeth II and Pope John Paul II. But despite his musical prowess, Aled is probably best known as the presenter of the long running TV series Songs of Praise. He said,
“It would be impossible for me to present Songs Of Praise if I were not a Christian.”
Aled grew up in a Christian home and remembers that the family always went to church. His first grasp of the reality of God and the love of Jesus Christ was at Sunday School when he was just four years old.
When he was nine, Aled became a chorister at Bangor Cathedral in North Wales, where he helped to lead worship. It was there he started to record albums.
“It was a happy time for me. There’s nothing quite so rewarding as learning to sing a note so pure that it reverberates around God’s house. I still consider sacred choral music and especially hymns as the best music ever written.”
Drifting away, a return to faith, and Songs of Praise
Things change for a choirboy when his voice breaks. Although Aled’s voice broke fairly late at 16, he had to take an enforced break from singing, and he began to drift away from both God and church. He began working in television presenting a number of children’s TV programmes. Aled studied at The Royal Academy of Music and The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School before beginning his adult music career. He realised what he was missing and eventually came back to Christ as a young adult. Presenting has become his career and Aled has worked on a number of TV and radio programmes, but it was working on Songs of Praise that brought a special reality to his Christian faith.
After working on the programme for while Aled said,
“Working on Songs Of Praise has changed my faith completely and for the better. It allows me to meet and interview so many inspirational people. Some of them have had horrendous experiences, and have only got through them because of their faith. I always come away from interviews feeling a slightly better person, as if their faith has rubbed off on me.”
He feels that his life has been considerably enriched by working on Songs Of Praise. During breaks in filming, Aled would often sit quietly in a church pew. It was at those times he was able to reflect on his faith and to really sense the presence of God. He has described his mission on Songs of Praise as ‘making Christianity more accessible to people’. The programme continues to have around 20 million weekly viewers.
Although no longer a regular presenter on Songs of Praise, although he is still a regular guest, Aled maintains a real passion for his faith and for the reality of what Christ accomplished in his earthly mission.
“Christianity is real, it’s now, it’s happening and it’s exciting! it is not sedate or simply part of history. Jesus toppled over the market stalls in the Temple! This is a person with passion, a person with love, with blood running through his veins. That’s what it’s all about for me.”
Aled has had a whole host of top-selling albums including ‘All Through The Night’ (1985 UK No. 2), ‘Aled Jones with the BBC Welsh Chorus’ (1985 UK No. 11), ‘Pie Jesu’ (1986 UK No. 25), ‘An Album of Hymns’ (1986 UK No. 18), ‘Aled’ (2002 UK No. 27, Australia No.13), ‘The Christmas Album’ (2004 UK No. 28), ‘New Horizons’ (2005 UK No. 21), ‘One Voice’ (2016 UK No. 3), ‘One Voice at Christmas’ (2016 UK No. 22), ‘Believe’ (2017 UK No. 17), and ‘In Harmony’ (2018, with Russell Watson, UK No. 8).
His best selling singles started with ‘Walking in the Air‘ reaching number 5 in 1985. Other notable singles are ‘Pictures in the Dark‘ with Mike Oldfield (1985 UK No. 50), ‘A Winter Story‘ (1986 UK No. 51) and his biggest hit ‘Little Drummer Boy” with Terry Wogan which reached number 3 on the UK singles chart in 2008.
Story by Ralph Burden
*photo: Aled Jones and Jennie Bond by Simon Harries