Jay Hilda Aston (born 4 May 1961, Purley, Surrey) is a singer, dancer, and occasional songwriter who was formerly with the British pop group, Bucks Fizz. She was the youngest member of the group's original line-up, being just 19 at the Eurovision Song Contest.
Aston came from a theatrical family. Her father was a comedian, her mother a former dancer before she became her husband's straight man. They also performed as acrobats. Her brother, Lance, had performed at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1980 with the band Prima Donna. Aston herself trained as a dancer, singer and actress at the Italia Conti School of Speech and Drama and performed on stage many times in her teens mainly as a dancer.
Aston was one of the four original members of Bucks Fizz when they were formed in 1981 to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest that year. They won with Making Your Mind Up and the song went to number one in many countries, including the United Kingdom. The group went on to become one of the top selling groups of the 1980s and scored many hit single and albums over the next few years, including two more British Number 1s: The Land Of Make Believe and My Camera Never Lies. Aston's interest in fashion and design came into good use while with the group as she designed many of the group's stage outfits and created many memorable images. In 1983 she performed the lead vocal to the song When We Were Young, which went on to become one of the group's biggest hits.
Aston became known for her love of physical exercise and released a keep-fit album in early 1984 called Shape Up and Dance. This activity however also led to her becoming the victim of an attack while out jogging. She fought off the attacker and recovered well from the incident, which became the subject of newspaper coverage.
In December 1984, while on tour, Bucks Fizz were involved in a road accident in which Aston, along with the other members of the group were injured.By this time, tensions within the group had risen to the point that Aston was eager to leave, but was still under contract. However, the following year, she left the group in acrimonious circumstances. Aston became the subject of many newspaper headlines on her sudden departure where it emerged that she had been having an affair with the group's producer, Andy Hill, who was also the husband of Bucks Fizz creator, Nichola Martin. It was also revealed that after the affair was discovered, Aston attempted suicide, which left her hospitalised for two days. The group's management company took Aston to court under the terms of her contract but later agreed to release her. An injunction however was placed on her against commencing a solo career, which took two years to settle and left Aston on the brink of financial ruin.
Forced to sell her house, the early 1990s saw Aston living in a small bedsit in Croydon on Housing benefits. Her brother had married Shakespear's Sister star Marcella Detroit who encouraged her to record new songs. In 1993 Aston released a single "Naked Phoenix" and recorded an album of songs. This same year she contributed a song to the controversial Michael Winner film, Dirty Weekend (although Aston walked out of the film's premiere in disgust). By 1995 she was living with her parents but was still writing and recording music. Around this time she met and began dating guitarist Dave Colquhoun, whom she married in 1999. During the latter part of the 1990s and early 2000s, Aston toured with her band Aston, performing rock and pop tracks, many of which she wrote herself. In 2002, she was involved in a cover band called Monster Boogie, and she also appeared in an episode of Never Mind the Buzzcocks as one of the mystery guests in the Identity Parade round. In 2003 Aston released an album, Alive and Well with 13 tracks all of which she co-wrote with her husband.
In 2005 the glory years of Bucks Fizz, mainly focusing on Aston, were portrayed in a drag lip-synch show, Night of a Thousand Jay Astons at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe after its début in London. Aston was played by one female and three male performers. The life of Aston was told through an outrageous parody, and was described in review as "hilariously over the top". The show has also been staged at other venues including the Comedy Theatre in Dublin in May 2006 and the Soho Theatre in London in summer 2007.
Another solo album, a 3 disc box-set Lamb or Lizard was released in July 2006 through her website, which featured recordings from before and after her work with Bucks Fizz.
In 2001 she set up a performing arts school in her name, The Jay Aston Theatre Arts School, teaching children aged 2–17. The school still runs today.
In March 2007, she appeared in the Comic Relief video "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" a comic cover version of The Proclaimers song, dancing with the fellow original members of Bucks Fizz. This was the first time that Aston had met the group since 1985. As she said, relations between them had improved, but not the extent that could work together as a group again. "I’m kind of on good terms with all of them individually. But as a band, it just doesn’t work, and it’s a shame, but it doesn’t. There’s always been two camps – Cheryl’s camp and Bobby’s camp, and I was the one in Bobby’s camp, and Mike was always in Cheryl’s camp."
A new Bucks Fizz CD with a bonus DVD, The Very Best of Bucks Fizz was released in May 2007. Aston appeared alone on the National Lottery to promote the album. In August 2008, Aston once again joined up with Bucks Fizz members Mike Nolan and Cheryl Baker when she appeared on a television show celebrating 1980s acts - with one episode devoted to the reuniting of Bucks Fizz. This programme was shown on Living TV in March 2009.
In 2004, Bucks Fizz members Cheryl Baker, Mike Nolan and Shelley Preston reunited to form The Original Bucks Fizz and performed in concert throughout the UK. In April 2009, Preston announced that she was leaving the group due to other commitments. Soon after, it was announced that Aston would be joining Baker and Nolan in the group for live shows - the first time she has been a part of Bucks Fizz since 1985. Together they undertook two UK tours and released a new version of their song "I Hear Talk". In 2012, the group still continues (now under the name OBF) and have released their first album.
Before Bucks Fizz, Aston had ambitions to become an actress, but her career in this field encompassed only minor roles in To the Manor Born and Citizen Smith. In 2008, Aston was cast as Claudia Brite in the film The Last Days of Edgar Harding which was shot in August 2008 and screened in 2010. The film however has never seen a mainstream release.
Jay Aston married guitarist Dave Colquhoun in August 1999 in Greenwich, London. They have a daughter, Josie Alexandra (born 2003, Bromley, Kent). They currently live in Tatsfield, Surrey. Aston's mother Hilda died in 2007, while her father Ted died in 2009. She has spoken of her interest in learning more about Alzheimer's disease which he succumbed to. Aston continues to teach dance and performance at her performing arts school in Kent.