JLS star JB Gill on how he got through pandemic unscathed
JB Gill discusses his career change from JLS star to farmer
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JLS favourite JB Gill, 35, retreated from showbiz to ensconce himself and his family on a Kent farm with more than 20 acres of land – but he struggled a little with taking on the role of educator for his two children. The On The Farm TV star confided to Express.co.uk: “Homeschooling two kids – or one and a half, as my daughter’s still in nursery – wasn’t easy!”
At the same time, he struggled with the challenge of being “more restricted than we’ve ever been before”, as the nation was plunged into lockdown.
For JB, he was more isolated physically than most – but having more than 20 acres of farmland ended up being what kept his mental health in shape.
“Just being able to have that outdoor space and go and run in the garden for an hour, it had a huge benefit on my family,” he exclaimed, adding that they “got through that period relatively unscathed”.
“I do know personal friends who struggled with the negativity that surrounded being enclosed and not being able to get out and about and meet other people,” he shared.
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“I definitely do think accessing outdoor space and accessing the countryside and being able to be immersed in nature does have its benefits – I’ve seen that firsthand over the last two years.”
In fact, his mental health is better on the farm than it was touring in one of Britain’s most popular boy bands, JLS.
The multimillion selling recording artist confessed that he often had “no holidays [and] no weekends” and that he could go for an entire 40 day period without a single day off.
The group was in high demand at its peak, and JB often found the disorienting experience of being in a different city for many shows or events in rapid succession exhausting.
“That’s one of the reasons why we chose to set up the farm,” he admitted of the move he made with his wife Chloe to start their family.
“If you can imagine when I was in music and touring, I was spending very little time at home and often in a bit of a bubble. You go from one thing to the next thing and life is incredibly busy.
“I remember at one point we had about three or four months – and I literally mean 30 or 40 days – nonstop without a day off.
“People don’t realise that that’s one element of the music industry,” he added.
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When it came time to make the decision about where to call home, he was adamant that he no longer wanted to live in a city.
Meanwhile, he developed a renewed respect for how challenging the farming lifestyle can be.
“In the pandemic, you start to see just how important the farming community is, the growers and the people who dedicate their lives to producing our food,” he mused.
“They were our key workers during the pandemic. We had food shortages – the lack of eggs on the shelves, no flour… you start to realise just how important that local farm is.”
JB is happy to muck in with tasks every now and then, including mending fences, but he hires professional help as well.
Meanwhile, he loves his TV presenting role for On The Farm, and says his top highlight is working with kids.
“I’ve always said that children are the future and one day they’ll be standing in positions of power in the world. Musicians, lawyers, doctors or whatever it is they end up going into,” he shared.
“For me, it’s quite humbling to see how they approach everything. They’re right at the beginning. They’ve got almost a blank canvas… and it’s important to give them a quality experience as they get older.”
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