Joe and Jake
British singers Joe and Jake met in 2015 on the fourth season of the U.K.'s The Voice, which they entered separately; neither won, but they became friends and decided to form a duo. Their song "You're Not Alone" was chosen as the U.K.'s entry to the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest.
Joe Woolford was born on October 6, 1994 in Ruthin, Wales, into a musical family, and started out as a rapper influenced by 2Pac before becoming a singer. When he entered The Voice, he was working as a P.E. teaching assistant. Singer and guitarist Jake Shakeshaft, born July 25, 1995 in Stoke-on-Trent, England came to music in his teens. Before The Voice, he had some experience as a solo performer. He studied music technology in college and worked in a garden center, but dropped out of both in order to pursue a full-time career in music after finishing in the top five at the NUA Entertainment Next Big Thing contest, held at Liverpool's legendary Cavern Club.
On the show, Joe made it to the second week of televised rounds, while Jake was knocked out at the audition stage. However, they immediately hit it off backstage and, after exiting the contest, decided to form a duo. Their management suggested that they enter Eurovision: You Decide, another televised talent contest, in which the British public would vote for an act to represent the nation at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm. They entered with a song written for them by a hitmaking team including Matt Schwartz and The Wanted's Siva Kaneswaran, and finished first out of six entrants. After winning the prize of a place in Eurovision, they were picked up by Sony, who released their entry, the earnest, Brit-pop-influenced stomper "You're Not Alone," as a single. However, it reached only number 81 in the U.K. charts, and the song finished second-to-last in the Eurovision final. ~ John D. Buchanan