The Voice’s Andrea: ‘I couldn’t see if anyone turned!’

Visually impaired Irish singer Andrea Begley hopes to impress coach Danny O’Donoghue as BBC1’s singing contest The Voice hits a new knockout round…

What has your experience on The Voice been like so far?
“Being on The Voice has been phenomenal, the whole experience has been so positive; I can’t say anything negative at all. I just can’t believe I’ve made it to this stage. It’s so surreal.”

Did you have any reservations about going on The Voice because you’re visually impaired?
“If I’m honest, I did very much so because I didn’t want to be judged purely on that and I didn’t want sympathy. What reassured me was that I knew the coaches couldn’t see me, so would only be turning around on the basis of what they heard rather than what they saw. Being visually impaired has made me more determined to show people what I can do.”

Was it a surreal moment at your first audition when you couldn’t see if any coaches had turned their chair for you?
“I genuinely didn’t have a clue if anyone had turned around, so it was a real moment of terror when I had to ask! That’s when Danny ran up and hugged me saying that he’d turned and whole of the UK had turned. He’s been a great mentor.”

After winning your battle against Alice Barlow, you went through to the knockout round, which viewers will see this weekend. Was it nerve-racking?
“The knockout round was probably the most pressure I’d felt all competition because of the way it was set up: one contestant goes through automatically, then the others sing in two groups of three. Having to sing last in my group, after hearing the others, the pressure was immense. Fearing this could be my last performance I knew had to give it everything I had. It really was all or nothing!”

What’s support been like on Twitter and in public since you first appeared on the show?
“Support’s been really lovely. When I’m out shopping or in a restaurant people will stop me and say they’ve really enjoyed my performances and hope I go all the way. It’s been very encouraging.”

If you do make it through to the live shows, starting next Friday, how will you attempt to win over the voting public?
“I want people to vote for me because they like my voice, not because I can’t see. I want to have a career as a singer; my visual impairment is only a part of me. It’s not everything that I am.”

The Voice’s knockout weekend starts on Saturday June 1, with the first live show on Friday, June 7.


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