COVER story New young talent in The Voice Kids
Coaches will.i.am, Pixie Lott and Danny Jones on why viewers can expect big things from The Voice Kids and their own journeys becoming to famous...
The Voice is back but with a big difference – or to be more accurate, quite a small one… For when the blind auditions kick off this week, it’ll be a host of pint-sized wannabe pop princes and princesses singing their hearts out. All will be hoping that they can impress the three superstar coaches enough for them to hit their buttons and turn those big, red spinning chairs around.
Sitting in those infamous seats this time round is one very familiar face and two brand-new ones, each hoping to uncover Britain’s best young singer. Music producer and The Voice UK favourite will.i.am is back, but this time he’s joined by singing sensation Pixie Lott and Mcfly star Danny Jones.
Hosted by Emma Willis, The Voice Kids is open to budding soloists aged between seven and 14. They’ll all be competing for the lifechanging prize of a £30,000 bursary towards their musical education, plus a family holiday to Disneyland Paris.
Here, Will, 42, Pixie, 26, and Danny, 31, tell us more about the talent and recall their own childhood dreams of stardom…
How does the talent on The Voice Kids compare to what we’ve seen on The Voice UK? Will: I thought this show was just gonna be cute, being kids, but it’s seriously fierce! You’ve got this nine-year-old who can sing like Lionel Richie
– that’s some sick talent!
Also, the adults have had time to figure out how to ‘pretend’ to be a character; someone else they want to be.
But the kids
don’t know how to put a mask on – they’re just raw and innocent. I’d love to see a show where it’s the kids versus the adults – I think the kids would send the adults running for the hills! pixie: Some of the boys sing really high because their voices haven’t broken yet. Most of the time during the blind auditions I would think it was a girl, but then turn around and it would be a boy! danny: Me too! I’d be like, ‘Is it a girl or a boy?’ I was thinking,
‘I’ve got so many girls on my team, I need a guy’, so there were a few youngsters I missed out on.
pixie and danny, what made you want to be coaches on
The Voice Kids? pixie: I just love working with young people.
I have a performing arts school
Italia Conti in
Essex] that’s full of young talent. There are moments when you hear fresh talent that no one else knows about and it gives you goosebumps. I want to find that on this show. danny: Helping somebody to achieve something was the attraction. All of the 12 singers on my team are based on, ‘Can I work with them, can I help them?’ Obviously, it’s a competition and you need to find somebody amazing, but I’d love to show that I’ve actually helped somebody become amazing, rather than them just already being so.
Unlike The Voice UK, you’re allowed to turn your chairs and speak to all the singers after their performances
– even if you don’t press your buttons… pixie: These kids are so young, they’re aged seven to 14, so we’ve got to make sure they leave on a high. There’s so much opportunity out there for an eight year old, it’s not like it’s their last chance. You’ve got to remind them of that and encourage them to keep following their dream.
Will: Sometimes I think, ‘I don’t want to say no to a kid’, and, although they’re not crying, their parents are; then
I’m crying! That’s the hard part. danny: It’s great that we get to give these kids positive feedback to take away with them. Because they’re so young, they’ve got time to go away, build on what we say and make themselves better. Even if it’s a ‘no’ from us, hopefully they’ll hold onto our advice rather than just remember we said ‘no’. pixie: At the end of the day, we’re just three people with three opinions; everyone has different tastes and some voices connect with you more than others. It doesn’t mean these kids are not all amazingly talented.
You all entered the music business young – does being on this show remind you of when you were starting out? pixie: I was doing pretty much what these kids are doing today. I found a clip on Youtube from 10 years ago, when I auditioned for the ITV musical drama Britannia High [ about a group of students struggling to make it in the music business].
I was in a line-up alongside Ed Sheeran and neither of us got through to the next round!
It feels so harsh, but it’s important to have those knockbacks because you learn from them and you can go on to bigger things.
Will: I had a record contract when I was in high school. My advice to young people wanting to be in the music industry is always to ‘design your friends’. Make sure you pick folks that have the same passion and determination as you do. danny: I had a dream that I wanted to play on the same stage as Bruce Springsteen, and Mcfly ended up doing that a couple of years ago. You’ve got to think big and have a goal. The Voice is a massive platform to get your music out there. I was playing in pubs when I was 14, but I wish I’d started younger.
This nine-year-old kid sings like Lionel
Richie – that’s some sick talent
Down with the kids? will.i.am, Pixie Lott and Danny Jones
Sitting in judgement: Danny, Pixie and will.i.am hold sway Pea in a pod: the young will.i.am Encouraging voice: Emma returns as host Pixie faced a lot of knockbacks musical buzz: mcfly’s