The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY -

HAIRDRESSING ap­pren­tice James Banks says he has al­ways strug­gled to be him­self, but Chan­nel 9 ta­lent show The Voice has changed that.

He earned a spot on Boy Ge­orge’s team two nights ago singing Lana Del Ray’s hit Sum­mer­time Sad­ness, but the tune wasn’t his first choice.

“I think my big­gest in­flu­ences would be Fan­ta­sia, Jen­nifer Hud­son, Ri­hanna, Mariah Carey – RnB soul rather than pop,” he says.

“I didn’t get the chance to sing any of those artists.

“We col­lab­o­rate with the pro­duc­ers and they like to get you out of your com­fort zone and push you into ar­eas you’re not com­fort­able with.”

James’ mu­si­cal jour­ney will now con­tinue to the one-on-one bat­tle rounds, but the Gold Coaster turned Syd­neysider says he’s em­bark­ing on a per­sonal jour­ney too.

“I think it’s a lit­tle bit hard in this day and age to be any­thing but nor­mal,” he says.

“I’m very out­spo­ken and flam­boy­ant. I like to take risks and that doesn’t sit well with a lot of people.

“Re­gard­less of hav­ing people ques­tion­ing my ta­lent and singing on the show, I’m def­i­nitely more confident in who I am be­cause of the love and sup­port I re­ceived through­out the whole process.”

James says he was scru­ti­nised for be­ing dif­fer­ent as a teenager on the Gold Coast, but now at 25 he has found the con­fi­dence to put that be­hind him.

“Be­ing a bit older now the scare fac­tor doesn’t re­ally come for­ward too much, but it’s def­i­nitely daunt­ing know­ing I’m go­ing on­stage as my­self,” he says.

“I’m a very in­de­pen­dent per­son and I love putting my­self in si­t­u­a­tions where I have no op­tion but to thrive.

“I am confident know­ing it’s go­ing to be watched by the whole of Australia and I’m more confident in who I am now.” The Voice Blind Au­di­tions, nightly at 7.30pm on Chan­nel 9

James Banks is a con­tes­tant on The Voice.

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