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Monday, 11 June, 2001, 12:51 GMT 13:51 UK
Branson signs Popstars rejects
Nigel Lythgoe
Popstars judge Nigel Lythgoe rejected Liberty members
Five rejects from the hit TV show Popstars have been signed up to Richard Branson's record label in a six-album deal.

The entrepreneur is said to have been personally involved in bringing the singers to his label V2 after just one meeting.

Kelli Young
Kelli Young: Broke down after being told she has not made the final band
The five came together after failing to make it into the final line-up, now know as Hear'Say.

Believing they could make it in the music world on their own they formed Liberty.

Kevin Simm, 20, Tony Lundon, 22, Michelle Heaton, 21, Jessica Taylor, 20, and Kelli Young, 19, were last seen on TV being told by 'Nasty' Nigel Lythgoe they would not be making it into the band.

They then had to endure watching Hear'Say take the pop world by storm, notching up a number one album and single.

Hear'Say are now busy promoting their second single.

Popstars Hear'Say
Hear'Say have made chart history
After Branson met with Liberty, he kept a close eye on their progress and asked for a demo tape.

V2's stable includes such diverse artists as the Stereophonics, Tom Jones, Mercury Rev and Moby.

Branson said: "I think Liberty are a fantastic band.

"From the first meeting I was absolutely wowed by their determination, optimism and their refusal to give up, but it was when I heard their music that I knew they were going to be a huge success."

Another Popstars reject, Warren Jituboh, is reportedly in talks with DefJam Records to sign an album deal.

See also:

10 Apr 01 | Music
Popstars reject in album talks
01 Apr 01 | Music
Hear'Say make chart history
02 Apr 01 | Music
Near'Say: Cloning the Popstars
27 Mar 01 | Wales
Stereophonics attack TV popstar
26 Mar 01 | Reviews
Hear'Say play it safe
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