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Gary Barlow

Date of Birth: Wednesday, January 20, 1971
AGE: 48
Occupation: Singer

Biography: An English singer-songwriter, pianist and record producer. He is the lead vocalist of British pop group Take That and is head judge on The X Factor. Barlow is one of Britain?s most successful songwriters. He has had two Number 1 singles and a Number 1 album as a solo artist, and has had sixteen top 5 hits, eleven Number 1 singles and seven Number 1 albums with Take That. He is also a five-time recipient of the Ivor Novello Award and has sold over 40 million records worldwide with Take That.

In Barlow?s autobiography, he relates that his love of music began at an early age. "I was one of those kids that?s forever dancing in front of the TV looking at my reflection."

He said he enjoyed watching Top of the Pops on television, and when he was ten years old, he watched an episode of the programme in which Depeche Mode were performing their new single "Just Can?t Get Enough". Barlow was mesmerised by the sound and decided he wanted a keyboard for Christmas. For the next few years, he spent most of his spare time teaching himself to play his favourite songs.

In 1986 Barlow entered a BBC Pebble Mill at One competition called A Song For Christmas with a song called "Let?s Pray For Christmas". After getting through to the semi-finals, he was invited to London?s West Heath Studios to record his song. This inspired Barlow to perform on the northern club circuit, singing cover versions and his own songs. Barlow?s first performance was at the Connah?s Quay Labour Club in the late eighties and he was paid 18 per performance on Saturday evenings.

In 1989 he appointed Wigan show business agent Barry Woolley to be his manager and recorded a single ("Love Is in the Air") which was never released commercially. Barlow was eventually put in touch with casting agent Nigel Martin-Smith who was interested in starting a boyband. Martin-Smith decided to use Barlow as the lead-singer after being impressed by his self written material including an early demo tape of Barlow?s "A Million Love Songs" concluding that the band will be built around Barlow?s vocals and songwriting skills.

Barlow, who wrote the majority of the group?s songs, is generally recognised as the musical talent behind Take That. After choosing Barlow as the group?s lead-singer, Nigel Martin-Smith introduced Howard Donald, Jason Orange, Mark Owen and finally Robbie Williams to the fold. The UK group were signed to RCA records, and after a number of top 40 hits, eventually secured their first Number 1 with Barlow?s "Pray". Previous hits included "A Million Love Songs", "It Only Takes a Minute" and "Could It Be Magic".

In 2011 Barlow wrote a single, add detail ?Run For Your Life? For 2011 X-Factor Singer Matt Cardle?s Album. Matt Cardle told The Sun "We had 99% of the album finished then the track came through from Gary. I?d been trying to write a song like that for a long, long time, probably five or six years. As soon as I heard it I just felt the song was mine. Lyrically it?s about not being good enough for the person you?re with. I was nearly in tears recording the vocals. I?m proud that I?ve written a lot of the album but Gary is a genius as a writer - I couldn?t pass it up." Barlow was more than happy for Cardle to record his song saying "I thought the song would be perfect for Matt and it really suits his vocals. He?s a lovely chap and I thought he was great on the show, a real talent."

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