‘I was extremely nervous!’ says The Voice’s new coach Rita Ora

As a new series of The Voice begins, we talk to new coach Rita Ora about climbing into the famous red swivel chair…

How did you feel about joining The Voice? 
“I was extremely nervous because the other coaches are very experienced. I felt under pressure, being the only female, and watched back to see how Kylie did it. I did my research. I wanted to be prepared. And the reality is these are people’s lives and it’s not just make believe. I wanted to keep that in mind. I’m pretty proud of what I’ve been doing so far because I’ve surprised myself and have learned to listen to my instincts more than I would usually so I’m loving it, really loving it. I’m definitely trigger happy when it comes to hitting that button!”

You must know what the audtionees are going through because you auditioned to represent the UK at Eurovision in Your Country Needs You in 2009…
“That was ages ago! I got through but then felt it wasn’t right for me so I dropped out. I don’t think that’s in any way similar to The Voice because the whole format of this show is completely different. I can only imagine what it is to be like that in front of four powerful figures.”

There were lots of rumours that you turned down The X Factor to do The Voice. What’s the situation with that?
“Well, I did X Factor, I was a guest judge, but the reality is that it was all about scheduling. When I was offered it I was shooting a movie and then when they were actually shooting it I was in Asia for about 3 weeks doing my clothing line so it wasn’t the right time. This just fitted well with schedule, my tour schedule, my album, so for me it was the perfect time.”

Have the other coaches helped you fit in?
“They’ve all been very nice to me and have explained a lot of things. They were all newbies once. Will was the person who convinced me to be on the show. We’ve been close friends for a while and we worked together on my first record. I didn’t know what to do but he said, ‘Do what you want. It’s not the be all and end all, but if you do it you’re gonna give these people something.’ It just just took me that to understand that I do have a voice and I’m gonna use it to help people. I’m grateful for that. Everybody is very, very nice. The team, the coaches. It’s like a cool, little family.”

You’re working on your second album. Were you worried about taking your eye of that to do this?
“Of course. I thought, ‘Do I have time to do that? I’ve got my record coming out next year, and a tour.’ But then I realised that I had filmed two movies while doing a bunch of other stuff so there was no reason not to do the show. And I didn’t want to regret not doing it. That was my biggest thing.”

Are you hoping to stick around for the next series?
“I don’t know. I can’t tell the future. I’m having an amazing time right now. I live in the moment. Let’s see what happens.”

The Voice starts on Saturday January 10 at 7pm on BBC1.