The Voice favourites open up!

It’s the most exciting yet week for BBC1’s The Voice UK (screening Saturday, Sunday and Friday). So TV Times magazine spoke to favourites Matt Henry, Cleo Higgins, Mike Ward and Andrea Begley about how their lives have changed already…

Hi Matt. Has life changed since your audition?
“Yes, it’s been great, I just can’t stop smiling to myself. The other day I went food shopping and there was a group of young girls following me round the aisles and whispering! The most surreal moment was when started following me on twitter – he still makes me feel starstruck.”

A little bird tells us you didn’t apply for the series yourself…?
“No I feared the show so my partner put me up for it. I received an email saying, ‘Thank you for applying for The Voice’ and I thought,  ‘What?’ So I fell into it really, but look what’s happened, it’s been amazing.”

You swapped from Team Will to Team Jessie – was that a strange experience?
“I thought it was a huge risk and I was worried nobody would steal me, but now I’ve had the opportunity to work with two coaches. Will is very much into production and trying to get you to be an artist whereas Jessie is very strong on the vocal side so I’ve had the best of both worlds. It’s nice to be able to create my own identity now rather than being the guy who looks like Will!”

What is your ultimate dream?
“I’d love to be a recording artist. Nowadays it’s about being an entrepreneur as well and tapping into other industries like acting – that’s what I would like to do.”

Cleo, this is your second shot at fame. Does it feel different this time?
“It’s like being reacquainted with an old friend! It is amazingly different this time though, I actually feel less confident. There’s pressure because I’ve struggled to get work as a performer since Cleopatra. You’d think my background would have helped me, but it hasn’t.”

You seem to have a strong sense of who you want to be as an artist?
“I’m a stickler for perfection! That’s everything from hitting the right notes to my outfits and my hair. I’m not bossy, but I really know what I want!”

What kind of coach is Will?
“He’s got so many weird ways of saying things, I’m baffled half the time! He doesn’t want to tell you directly what you should do, he wants you to make the decision for yourself, but I’ve had to give him a nudge now and then because he hasn’t been giving me enough advice! But he believes in me as an artist and he wants me to blossom, so I believe I chose the right coach.”

What is your ultimate dream?
“When I first auditioned I just wanted to be able to perform without the Cleopatra tag, but now I want to get to the final. I’ve wanted to be a signed artist for a long time, but I’ve been scared of it. I think it’s my time now. Otherwise I want to open a patisserie!”

Mike, you revealed that your mum pushed you into auditioning. You must be pleased she did?
“Yeah, I’m really glad she did now! I was so nervous before the audition, but the experience of being on the show has boosted my confidence so much and I’m definitely starting to believe I can do it. Mum’s really excited about it all!”

Is Tom a supportive coach?
“Yes, he’s helping me with my breathing technique because I’ve never had vocal training. I hadn’t performed in public before either so Tom has also taught me not to let my nerves show on stage. I’ve always loved Tom so I really wanted him to turn around in my audition and when he did I was overwhelmed. I feel like he understands me and believes in me.”

Are you hoping to change the perception of country music?
“Yes, it makes me feel proud when people enjoy my performances. Country is my favourite style of music and personally I don’t know anyone except myself who likes it, so it’s really good to see people enjoying it! Tom loves country, too, so I want to do a good job for him.”

What is your ultimate dream?
“It would mean everything to me to win the show, especially because I didn’t think I was any good to start with. I’d love to make it to Nashville, have a hit song and be known as a country artist that’s come from the UK.”

And Andrea – have you enjoyed being recognised since your audition?
“I’ve had a few people asking for autographs and wanting to wish me well so it’s all been very lovely. I’m so thankful for the opportunity and even if it all ends here I can still walk away and say I’ve had a thoroughly good time.”

Are you hoping to inspire others with a visual impairment?
“A few people with visual impairments have told me that my appearance on the programme has given them a bit of hope to really go out there and do what they want to do. I don’t set myself up as any kind of role model, but if people feel in any way inspired by me then that’s a really positive consequence.”

Do you feel you have a special bond with Danny?
“I think maybe we do have a connection on an emotional level simply because of the style of my singing. Danny has been extremely supportive and exceptionally complimentary about my voice – hearing the comments that he’s made has been one of the highlights of the whole experience for me.”

What is your ultimate dream?
“I have a huge passion for music and it would be a total luxury to be able to spend all of my time on it. Winning the show would be phenomenal and I would be so excited to work with talented people, develop my songwriting and try to make a career in the music industry.”


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