Ronan Parke (born 8 August 1998) is an English singer from Poringland, Norfolk, UK who came runner-up in the fifth series of ITV show Britain's Got Talent, despite being the bookies' favourite to win. After the show it was reported that Ronan had signed a joint record deal with Sony Music. He released his debut album Ronan Parke on 24 October 2011. On 3 May 2012, Parke, Epic records, and Syco ceased working together after the one album.
Early and personal life
Parke was born to Maggie and Trevor Parke in Poringland, a village in Norfolk. He has an older brother, Declan. His family are close to the family of ex-Norwich City player Bryan Gunn, whose daughter helped Ronan put in his application form for Britain's Got Talent. Ronan had been taking singing lessons in his home town before getting the confidence to apply for the show.
Ronan attended Framingham Earl High School, Norfolk.
2011: Britain's Got Talent
Ronan auditioned for Britain's Got Talent in London in front of judges Amanda Holden, Michael McIntyre and Louis Walsh (who was filling in for David Hasselhoff.) He performed "Feeling Good" and before the song finished, the entire 2500-strong audience and three judges gave Ronan a standing ovation. He received rave reviews after his performance and received three "yes" votes and was through to the next round, with Walsh declaring that Ronan "is the one to beat." Following the airing of his audition on the third auditions show on 30 April 2011, Ronan quickly became the bookies favorite to win the show. Ronan was then shown being put through to the semi-finals a few weeks later.
Ronan performed for a second time during the semi-final on 30 May 2011, performing "Make You Feel My Love" by Bob Dylan. After his performance, he received praise from all four judges David Hasselhoff (who was not present at Ronan's audition), McIntyre, Holden and Simon Cowell, who was only judging the live finals. Parke received the highest public vote of the night and was automatically sent through to the final.
In the final on 4 June, Ronan performed "Because of You" by Kelly Clarkson and received a standing ovation from the audience and judges, who once again gave him praise for his powerful rendition of the song. Louis Walsh, who was in the audience for the final, was referred to by Cowell and also praised Ronan saying, "He's made the hairs stand on the back of my neck". However, Ronan lost to eventual winner Jai McDowall by a margin of 2.6 percent of the vote.
There was an allegation that Simon Cowell had been "grooming" Parke for two years before he auditioned on the show, but Cowell and Parke both denied having had any prior contact. Cowell said on the semi-final edition, aired 3 June 2011: "There have been allegations made ... on the internet, that Ronan Parke has a previous recording contract with my record label, that I'd met him before, both of which are complete and utter lies. The first time I met Ronan was when he appeared on the show, he entered it of his own accord. He is 12 years old, this is a deliberate smear campaign and it is my job as somebody who works on this show to make sure whoever this liar is, is exposed, and Ronan is treated the same way as everyone else and it will be the public who decides." Cowell had called in the police to assist him in locating the source of the story, who claimed to be from within Sony Music UK. The police investigation was later abandoned, with a spokesman for Scotland Yard saying, "Malicious communication is a genuine complaint. It is a crime." and "To be honest, it seems as if everyone's making a big song and dance about this. Heaven forbid somebody would do something like this for publicity.". Simon Cowell later stated, "The fact there were people who thought it was a scam, or worse that it was true or a publicity job, made me feel sick to my stomach."
In July 2011, the man responsible for the allegation revealed that he had fabricated his entire claim. He also acknowledged that he had no connection with Ronan Parke, Sony Music, Syco, or Britain’s Got Talent. He was cautioned by police following the matter and apologized to Cowell. A Sony spokesman said that the matter would not be taken any further.
2011: Debut album
Two days after the final, it was reported that Sony Music were keen to offer Ronan a recording contract worth £1 million. The same day, it was also reported that Cowell had hoped for Ronan to duet with Jackie Evancho, although no plans were completed for this to occur.
Ronan performed in the Britain's Got Talent Live Tour 2011, making appearances all throughout the UK. The tour opened on 12 June 2011 at Newcastle Metro Radio Arena and finished on 26 June at Bournemouth BIC. During the tour, Ronan sang all three of the songs that he performed on the show, collaborating with pianist Paul Gbegbaje for "Make You Feel My Love". It was reported that Ronan was going to be paid up to £30,000 for three performances on the tour, twice as much as the winner Jai McDowall.
Ronan appeared at the Royal Norfolk Show on 30 June to greet fans and sign autographs. Ronan also performed at the Hamilton Park Racecourse family night on 9 July, filling in for Joe McElderry who was forced to pull out. Ronan performed for an audience of over 50,000 at T4 on the Beach on 10 July, singing Cee Lo Green's "Forget You". He was introduced onto the stage by David Hasselhoff.
It was reported by The Sun on 7 July 2011 that Ronan had finally been signed by Sony Music and another label as a joint contract. It has not yet been confirmed how much money the record deal is worth. Ronan's mother also hinted at the fact that his music was to be released this year. The album, Ronan Parke, was released in the UK on 24 October 2011.
On 28 July 2011, Ronan uploaded a video to YouTube of him performing an acoustic cover of Lady Gaga's "The Edge of Glory", which has attracted media attention. His Facebook page stated that a new video of him singing an acoustic cover would be released every week as part of a three-part series called Ronan Sings. The second video was an acoustic cover of "Make You Feel My Love" by Bob Dylan, which was uploaded on 10 August. Amazon also showed an exclusive video on the pre-order page of Ronan's debut album of him performing an acoustic cover of "Forget You". A new video of Ronan singing "Jar of Hearts", by Christina Perri, was released on 6 September 2011.
He also announced his first gig in his home county of Norfolk, and performed at Potters Leisure Resort, Hopton-on-Sea, for two nights, 22/23 October 2011. Ronan also performed at Xscape in Castleford, West Yorkshire in August. Ronan performed "Forget You", "Ben" and "Smile" at the Michael Jackson tribute show on 28 August 2011 at Blackpool Opera House.
Ronan announced on Facebook that "A Thousand Miles", originally by Vanessa Carlton, would be the first single from the album and the music video released on 14 September 2011. The lyric video was posted onto YouTube on 2 September 2011.
2012–13: Leaving Epic Records
On 3 May 2012, according to several reports, Parke was dropped by Epic records and Syco. Parke's official website issued a statement denying he was "dumped", but confirmed that Parke had "left Sony". On 19 May, his mother, Maggie Parke, revealed that he was collaborating with writers on an EP which was due to be released in the summer. On 6 August, Ronan officially released his new single "We Are Shooting Stars". This was followed by four other versions of the song. In December, Ronan released a collaborative EP with Britain's Got Talent contestant Luciel Johns. The EP included a brand new single "Not Alone This Christmas", plus a cover from each of the two boys. The EP was released digitally and physically through an independent website.
Ronan performed Feeling Good at the CCTV New Year's Gala in Beijing on 31 December 2012. A single titled "Move", was released on iTunes in July 2013 and another single titled "Defined", was released on iTunes in January 2014.
2014–Present: Leaving AD Records
Ronan announced via Twitter he is leaving AD Records to start new things. He then switched to the Texas based Rosen Music Group.
|Album title||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|Ronan Parke|| ||22|
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
|2011||"A Thousand Miles"||—||—||—||Ronan Parke|
|2012||"We Are Shooting Stars"||—||—||—||TBA|
|"Not Alone This Christmas" (feat. Luciel Johns)||—||—||—|