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Barbershop boys land £1m record deal

An award-winning barbershop quartet is tackling a new style of cut - after landing a major record deal.

The Great British Barbershop Boys, whose day jobs include working for the police and teaching, picked up their best tip yet after signing a seven-figure deal with Sony.

Baritone Joe Knight, whose group will release an album of Christmas songs, said: "This deal is just truly amazing."

The harmonic four-piece was talent-spotted by record bosses when they appeared at the International Barbershop Convention in Philadelphia. They took the title of British Quartet champions in 2008.

The Great British Barbershop Boys will release their debut album Christmas Time for Arista Records on December 6.

Sony Music said the group signed a £1 million deal.

Knight, who lives in Nottingham and works for Nottinghamshire Police, said: "We are just four guys earning a living and getting on with our lives.

"We have always done well with our barbershopping, but we started it as a means to socialise. This deal is just truly amazing."

Tenor Alan Hughes, a teacher based in Warrington, said the group - who had never thought of their music as a career choice - said they were looking forward to taking the traditional sound to a wider audience.

"The barbershop sound has survived around the world but underground for years. It will be superb to see it make a proper comeback in the charts," he said.

Lead singer Zac Booles is a sign writer who lives near Loughborough while bass Duncan Blackeby is an IT project manager in York.

Richard Connell, general manager of Sony subsidiary Arista Records, said, "The barbershop quartet really is the origin of what we know today as the 'boy-band'.

"It's a wonderful tradition, rich in rules and regulations but above all hugely encouraging of creativity and collaboration. Communities literally come together around their local quartet where lifelong bonds of friendship and loyalty are formed."

The group will release debut album Christmas Time for Arista Records on December 6, featuring traditional songs with barbershop arrangements.