How are you enjoying being a coach on The Voice UK? What do you hope to offer as a mentor?
“I’m feeling really good about it. I’m very good at following an impulse and a gut feeling about people and what they’re capable of. I feel like it should be a learning curve for both myself and them to challenge ourselves.”
As the blind auditions continue this week, how hard is it sitting in the big red chair being able to hear the singers but not see them?
“It’s so tricky when you can’t watch the singers and often what you hear compared to what you then see is so unexpected. There’s been times when I knew I should have turned, but I was playing it safe or second guessing because, at that stage, there’s still so many singers to hear and I’m panicking that my team’s filling up!”
How much are you enjoying working with your fellow coaches, Boy George, Ricky Wilson and will.i.am?
“Will’s really funny; he often plucks the strangest metaphors out of thin obscurity and he’s in his own world. Ricky was actually my old boss when I worked in a bar and I’m seeing a side to him on the show that’s very different to what I’m used to – he’s very much ‘in the game’. I’ve also known George a long time – I feel that we come from the same musical heritage.”
We’ve already seen you going head-to-head with the other coaches on The Voice to pitch for acts. How are you finding that?
“George and I have pressed the button for the same act more than anybody else, but I don’t really like the competition element of the show. It’s not a case of winning or losing; it’s about mentoring. I’m doing this to use my own experience to help cultivate other people’s talent.”
How would you describe Team Paloma?
“I’m very proud of the team I’m putting together – it’s full of misfits! Everyone’s unique and individual in their own way, and I have no mediocrity.”
If you had to pick one of your fellow coaches as a mentor, who would you choose?
“I’d pick George because I think it’s one thing to have a career in music for a brief moment, but it’s another to make a life out of it! Lyrically, he’s really strong and there’s poetry in what he’s done. I also feel I’ve got more of an affinity with the world he’s come from.”
And how do you think you’d fare as a contestant on the show?
“I would 100 per cent never come on a show like this, mainly because I don’t do well in audition situations – my success has always been attributed to creating my own world around myself that is safe for me. To be honest, the majority of singers I’ve seen are far more talented than I am. There’s somebody on my team who’s a big fan of mine – if I had even a snippet of what he has, I’d be laughing!’
You always seem so overwhelmed by your success – do you feel famous yet?
“Someone just told me backstage: ‘A lot of your team are starstruck today’. I was like: ‘But WHY? I’m friendly!'”
The Voice UK continues on Saturday, January 16 at 7.45pm on BBC1.