Having put her music career on hold, Sally Barker, 54, took a second shot at fame by auditioning for The Voice and is now through to this weekend’s knockouts! Here, she talks about her love of singing and touring with a music legend…
What made you audition for The Voice?
“It was actually my kids who kept saying I should go on The Voice because it’s not about how you look, but how you sound. I thought: ‘What have I got to lose?’, so went to the blind audition, Tom turned and all of a sudden I was part of The Voice machine.”
Tell us a bit about your background in music?
“Well, I started touring in my early 20s, playing in various pubs and clubs, and worked my way up to doing support for various artists, including Bob Dylan and Robert Plant.”
What was it like supporting Bob Dylan on tour in Germany in 1990?
“It was quite intimidating going from playing in pubs and clubs to performing in massive venues and supporting a massive star like Bob. But I learned so much and I know Bob watched me from the side of the stage a few times.”
We know your music career took a back seat 12 years ago when your husband died and you had to devote more time to caring for your two sons. They must be so pleased you’ve made it this far on The Voice…
“Oh, they think it’s brilliant! As a single parent, I have to focus on them and the music now.”
What’s Sir Tom been like as a mentor?
“He’s lovely, a really nice bloke. He’s probably been giving me more support and encouragement rather than advice on how to sing songs – but I think that’s because he recognises that I’ve been around for quite some time!”
After making it through the blind auditions and winning your battle round, how nervous were you going into the knockouts?
“I was definitely more nervous about the knockouts because I knew there were seven of us and Tom could only take three through to the live shows.”
In the knockout round, all seven singers stand together on stage to sing one by one, then each coach chooses their final three for the lives. What was that like?
“Well, I was the last to sing in Tom’s group, which was difficult, as it meant I had to stand there and listen to everyone else. But enjoying the other performances got me through the waiting game.”
You have a soft, soulful voice – did you worry about going up against of Tom’s ‘powerhouse’ singers?
“Tom’s team is full of incredibly powerful singers and really good performers, whereas my voice is more about dynamics and textures and my performance about conveying an emotion. I knew I just had to be myself, do things my way and hope it was good enough.”
You’ve performed in front of some big audiences – how do you think you’ll feel about performing to millions of viewers at home if you make it through to the live shows?
“I’m trying not to think about that. All I hoped for by appearing on this show was that people would want to come along to my gigs and hear my own songs now that they know my name.”