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Eurovision winner had to ‘learn to sing’ differently after cancer treatment | Celebrity News | Showbiz & TV


Eurovision icon Jay Aston has opened up about her cancer journey, admitting she never once thought about retiring during treatment. The star, who won the song contest with Bucks Fizz in 1981, was diagnosed with tongue cancer in 2018.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, she opened up about her determination to get back in the studio and on stage during the treatment. Jay had a seven-hour operation to remove 40% of her tongue and surgeons created a new tongue using tissue from her thigh, which they fed through her neck.

“I was determined to get back,” she said. “There was a song we were recording when we were doing our third album with Mike Stock (of Stock, Aitken and Waterman fame), and it was called From Here To Eternity.  The lyric was very sort of [emotional] because when I had the diagnosis, my daughter was only 15 and she was just doing her mock GCSEs and when I was having the surgery I had a demo of the song and I’d just play it on my phone in the ward. 

“I was like, ‘I’m gonna go back and finish that song.’ Because I got the phone call from the hospital the day I was starting to do the song to say, ‘We need you to come in,’ which meant, ‘Yes, it’s positive – you’ve got cancer, basically.’

“So it was it was emotional singing that song and I was in the hospital and going, ‘I’m gonna go back and finish that song.’ I sometimes [still] find it quite hard to sing that song. Six months later, I went back and finished the vocals.

“I was just hoping to get back [but] it has been difficult because I’ve had to learn to sing a different way. And I do get discomfort pretty much every day,” she explained.

“If we do a couple of gigs it takes me a couple of days to recover but I’m not going to let it stop me. It’s been tough, but just to go back on stage and have the amazing response we get on stage and the warmth it’s just like a drug.

“It’s the best pick me up ever. Just having that, walking on stage to the cheers. You know, that’s really what pushes you to want to get back. I never thought for one minute I wanted to retire. Quite the opposite,” she confessed.

Having topped the charts with the band after they shot to fame following their Eurovision win, Jay departed the group in 1985. However, she returned in 2009 and has been touring and recording with the group, now known as The Fizz, ever since.

“It’s such an incredible thing that that one defining three-minute pop song literally gave us a career,” she pondered. “Even when I wasn’t in the band, I was running a children’s theatre school and obviously I was using the brand as my CV in effect. So we’ve all been like trading off that [Eurovision] win ever since, really.”

The group are getting set for a huge gig at London’s Indigo O2 later this month, which will see them perform their vast catalogue of hits for their adoring fans. It is also bittersweet, as it will be one of the last shows Mike Nolan does with the group as he has decided to retire.

“When we had lockdown obviously we couldn’t work for 16 or 17 months and I think… He really liked the idea of retiring basically,” she confided.

“And we all got back [after lockdown] and we were so happy to get back to work but he’s been talking about retiring for two or three years and I think it [lockdown] just sort of it sort of broke the momentum,” she admitted.

While they intend on holding auditions to replace him with two male singers, this will be one of the last opportunities fans have to see most of the original lineup performing their hits, which is sure to make the evening even more special.”

The Fizz will be performing at London’s Indigo 02 on 28th June for Party Like It’s 1981.  Tickets are available here.

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