Following the first nail-biting semi-final last week, the pressure is on for our remaining vocalists to sing their hearts out as the stage is set for the second semi-final of The Voice UK.
Each teams’ acts will, once again, perform together in groups of three and, by the end of this Saturday’s show, each of our superstar coaches — Sir Tom Jones, will.i.am, Anne-Marie and Olly Murs — will have chosen the two acts they want to continue in the contest.
But there’s a twist, as the public will then get to vote for their favourite act for each coach — and it’s THOSE four acts that will go through to next week’s LIVE Grand Final, where the winner of The Voice UK 2021 will be revealed.
It was 10 years ago that the show’s newest coach, Anne-Marie, started making her way in the music business, so she’s loving every minute of helping the next generation of artists fulfil their dream.
Here the singer-songwriter, 29, considers how her past can shape someone else’s future…
It’s the second-semi final this week. Are you still feeling confident about your team?
"To be honest, yeah. I feel like my team is good. I did think I was going to have the best team this year — but everyone’s team at the semis is SO good!"
Which coach do you see as your biggest competition? And who’s the most competitive?
"Well, I thought it would be Will, as we tended to go for the same people at the Blind Auditions, but Sir Tom just has this ear for someone's capability and what makes a really good singer. So Tom's team is worrying me a little bit now. As for who’s the most competitive, I’m very competitive and I’d love to win. But I know Olly really wants to win again — hopefully it ain’t gonna happen!"
How have you found having to whittle your team down at the various stages?
"That’s been really hard for me. You turn around for a singer at the Blind Auditions because you believe in them and want them to be on your team and show the world what they can do. So to then have to let them go is really tough. These artists see this competition as the biggest moment of their life, the ultimate thing, so I always try to remind them it’s literally just a stepping stone; just the moment before the next bigger thing. Also, because we have to socially distance, not being able to hug them when they leave is a big deal for me because I'm a real hugger!"
What advice would you give these singers about how to handle a career in the music business?
"I’d say always have really supportive people around you that have got your back, and always be strong-minded and have your own opinions on things. There's so much advice I could give but the one thing I would say is to try and enjoy it. There have been so many points in my career where I haven’t enjoyed it and now I think: ‘God, if only I’d let go a little bit’. So I just try and drum that into them really. That’s certainly what I’ve worked on the most over the years…"
Do you think you’re well-placed to mentally prepare them for what might lie ahead?
"Oh yes! I'm massively into promoting good mental health and I wanted to make that a big thing with all the singers I’ve worked with on this show, as poor mental health is something I've suffered with and dealt with. Throughout this process, I’ve always stressed to my team that, if you ever feel uncomfortable with something, don’t be scared to say ‘No’ because I feel, as soon as you get into the music industry, you have to say ‘Yes’ to everything. I’ve wanted to make sure my singers are comfortable during every decision they make — even down to the clothes they wear. It’s a massive thing for me to make sure they're OK."
What have you learnt about yourself from mentoring these acts? What will keep you coming back to The Voice UK as a coach?
"I’ve learnt to not be too humble, I guess. I’ve been in this industry 10 years but I never really feel good enough and always a bit out of place. Even at the Blind Auditions I was like: ‘How the hell am I supposed to get someone to choose me over will.i.am or Tom Jones’? But I’ve learnt, during this process, that I have actually got stuff in me that people can learn from. I was singing for a long time and then drum and bass group Rudimental took me under their wing and lifted me into a new place. Everyone needs someone to believe in them. If I can be the person that hears someone on a show like this and be able to do for them what Rudimental did for me, that’s really exciting for me."
The Voice UK continues on Saturday at 8.30pm on ITV.
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