Family put George on the road to music fame

PUBLISHED: 16:00 12 January 2013

Busker Dave Harris, grandfather of X Factor's George Shelley.

Busker Dave Harris, grandfather of X Factor's George Shelley.


X FACTOR semi-finalist George Shelley has taken some time out of his busy schedule to visit family and get back to his musical roots - leading his guitar-playing grandfather Dave Harris to share fond memories of the teenager’s first steps to success.

Although George and his band Union J were pipped at the post in the ITV talent show, they are now in the process of signing a deal with music giant Sony.

And granddad Dave, aged 75, is still entertaining people with his talents and explained how the musical family helped set George on the road to fame.

The retired policeman, of Upper Bristol Road, said: “My wife and I bought George his first guitar for his 14th birthday.

“We have always had musical instruments about the place. We have always had a piano in the living room and there was also a guitar lying about the house. He’s a bright lad and he always used to tinkle about on the instruments.

“I think this helped George, he’s obviously been influenced by one thing and another and it gave him confidence as well. It put him on the right path.”

Dave, who spends his spare time playing the guitar, harmonica and accordion, is just one of the musical members of George’s family.

The 19-year-old’s brother Tom and uncle Tim are both drummers, his uncle John is a singer/songwriter and mum Toni also plays the guitar and writes her own songs.

And Dave still indulges his passion for music by singing and playing to elderly people at retirement and residential homes.

He said: “I’ve been doing this for five years, but have played all my life.

“The residents absolutely love it and it’s great to see how much they enjoy and react to the music.

“It reaches people who are not normally very receptive.”

Dave said he and George have also played together in front of a crowd when the former Weston College student first began performing live.

He said: “He has played with me at the Burnham Acoustic Club and he did his first performance there aged five or six.

“The first couple of times he performed on his own, then we got together to play and we were also joined by his older brother from Australia, who is a drummer.

“It went down very well, but every time George played solo he got the biggest reception. He has a natural gift.

“When he was growing up he was in the background and had a lot to compete with, as he came from such a large crowd, and seeing him performing now makes us feel very proud.”

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