If there’s one person who knows how the four remaining singers will be feeling ahead of this week’s live final of The Voice UK, it’s last year’s winner Andrea Begley.
Here, the 28-year-old from Northern Ireland talks about her win – and what she’s been up to since.
As last year’s winner, you will know how the contestants will be feeling going into The Voice final on Saturday night…
“The competition was intense, but my aim throughout was just to give 110 per cent to all my performances and try to enjoy it. I never thought I’d make it to the final – even on the night it never dawned on me that I might actually win!”
Each singer will get to perform with their mentor, either Kylie, Tom Jones, will.i.am or Ricky Wilson on final night. Last year, you got to sing with your idol and mentor, Script frontman Danny O’Donoghue. What was that like?
“It was epic! To be such a fan of The Script and to get to sing with them was a total highlight. Every time I hear Hall of Fame on the radio it brings back great memories.”
Do the two of you keep in touch?
“We do keep in touch on the phone and via email, but I know he’s very occupied at the minute working on The Script’s new album. I think they’re doing a tour at the end of the year so I’ll be hoping to get along to that.”
We know you’ve been very busy yourself – what have you been doing since winning the show?
“Well, my debut album, The Message, was released last October. I sung on Strictly Come Dancing and did Songs of Praise at the Royal Albert Hall, which was an amazing experience. Then I travelled to Beijing in November to perform as part of a Voice of the World concert. Getting to perform in a 130,000-seater stadium was really exciting.”
We know you lost 90 per cent of your vision after suffering glaucoma as a child. Have you found being in the music business more challenging being visually impaired?
“Not particularly, although my win was clouded in negativity as people suggested I’d only won because I’m visually impaired. But my attitude has always been a singer first and foremost and I’ve never used my condition as a tool to gain sympathy. I think the public are smart enough to make their own minds up.”
Have you enjoyed the career you’d hoped for after winning The Voice?
“There’s an expectation that winning a show like The Voice, or any other talent show, guarantees instant stardom or storming the charts with number one hits. This show’s been a great platform for me – it’s opened doors that otherwise wouldn’t have been opened. But I don’t see myself as ‘made’ yet – there’s still lots of work ahead.”
The Voice final can be seen on Saturday, April 5 at 7pm on BBC1