The great-nephew of Cilla Black, who is audition on The Voice tonight, hopes to keep success in the family by releasing an album of covers of her hits later this year.
Tobias Robertson, 22, from Newport, South Wales, has chosen not to audition with one of the national treasure’s famous songs, but will attempt to charm the judges with Randy Newman’s “You’ve Got A Friend”, also known as the theme song to Disney’s “Toy Story”.
Tobias hopes to make his famous relative proud as he sings on The Voice (Guy Levy/Wall to Wall/BBC)
His audition was filmed in September, just a month after Cilla died of a stroke at her villa in Spain, and he said that the proximity to her death would have made one of her songs too much for his family to handle.
“The audition was quite close to when she passed away so I didn’t really want to go down that route, especially as my mum was there to watch and I know she would have burst into tears if I’ve started to sing a Cilla song,” Tobias said.
However, he would like to honour her by recording his take on her hits, which include “Anyone Who Has A Heart”, “Alfie” and “You’re My World”.
Cilla is Tobias’ great aunt (Yui Mok/PA)
“I wouldn’t release anything that wasn’t to the very best of my abilities and didn’t reflect the best of her work and my performance. It’s something I’d have to really think about because it obviously means a lot but it’s definitely something I’ve been thinking of and it might come later this year,” he said.
Even though he only met the “Blind Date” host once in his life, Tobias had a lifetime of inspiration to take with him as he stepped in front of the coaches’ red chairs.
They met at the funeral of his grandfather – Cilla’s brother George – in 2010, where his mum mentioned to her that Tobias was pursuing a music career.
“Cilla said to me, ‘You just need to carry on. If you want to do something and there’s nothing else you want to do, keep going for it no matter what.’ So I always think of that.”
He continued: “It’s inspiring to have her, a blood relative who came from the same financial and cultural background as I do and she managed to achieve those things. Even though it’s in a different era, I still feel like it’s possible to actually achieve what you want to achieve, because she did it, so why can’t I?”
Tobias did admit that the TV talent show route was not one he expected to take, but as a full-time musician he said he valued the “platform for exposure”.
He added it was a “shame” that he wouldn’t get to perform in front of legendary singer and fellow Welshman Sir Tom Jones, who has been replaced with Boy George in a panel shake-up.
Tobias said it was a “shame” Sir Tom was no longer a coach (Ian West/PA)
Even without Sir Tom on the panel, he said the support he had received in Wales was “overwhelming” and kept the pressure on him mounting.
“It’s got to go well. It feels like I’m representing Wales and a little bit of Liverpool.”
The Voice continues on BBC1, Saturday, Februay 6, 7.15pm.