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...

TV Times - - News - Victoria Wil­son

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

[Pixie Lott’s

Italia Conti in

Chelms­ford,

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

will.i.am

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

Danny Jones

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