Will.i.am, Sir Tom Jones, Olly Murs and new coach Meghan Trainor talk turning, knockbacks and give an update on last year's winner.
As The Voice UK returns with yet another new coach in one of the big red chairs, it's time to find out what this year's coaches Will.i.am, Sir Tom Jones, Olly Murs and newbie Meghan Trainor had to say ahead of the show's return.
On Meghan joining the show...
Will.i.am: At first I was heartbroken that JHud (Jennifer Hudson) wasn't coming back but Meghan is awesome. She's a songwriter and for a long time I was the only songwriter on the show. She's a producer and for a long time I was the only producer on the show. She is a pathway.
Say for example you're on a team that doesn't win, as a coach you can't really do anything for them. But if you're a songwriter and a producer and you're on that team, it doesn't matter if you win or not - now you have somebody that can help you get closer.
(Becky Hill) is proof that sometimes things take time. Sometimes you got to go away with the L in your pocket - L meaning loss - and reflect on that, forget about the competition you had and reinvent yourself. Becky Hill is a prime example of that and I think with Meghan on the show we're going to see a lot of Becky Hill's happening in a shorter time span. Because Meghan can collaborate without the need of a company funding you.
Olly Murs: I'm not happy. I think she's going to win and that annoys me. When I first came on the show two years ago, I was very different to Meghan. I wanted to take my time, ease myself into it. What's great about Meghan is she came straight out the bat early. She's got a great energy and a great vibe about her. She's got a personality. You can have the best voice in the world and have hit records, but for a show like this you need a personality and she brings personality.
Tom Jones: I thought Meghan was a great choice because she's young, she's made a hit record and she's a professional. She knows what she's doing and she gives good criticism and good advice. They said to me "We're thinking of Meghan Trainor" and I said, "Oh, great." so then I checked her out because she was on a talent show in the States."
Olly: Hang on a minute then, when they said "We're going to have Olly Murs on the show", did they come to you first?"
Tom: I said "Who?" (Laughs) - They ask what you think and you tell them. Everyone that's come on since I started. I won't tell you the ones I said "Oh no!"
On what it's been like joining The Voice UK...
Meghan Trainor: It's always been a dream of mine to be on a show like this and to help new artists so I think I was just like a kid on Christmas morning freaking out. But it got real when I sat in the chair and they were like "OK, the artists are coming out" - it's like a rollercoaster you can't see.
I knew it be a fun time, long hours and that I'd fall in love with new people, but I didn't know I'd fall this hard to the point where when I left working last week I cried and teared up! I look up to everyone on this show and everyone's so cool - when I met them I was meeting my heroes and icons and they were nice. When you meet your heroes you never know!
I get hard on myself, or I get insecure because I'm the baby out here and haven't accomplished anything they have - but then I have to remind myself why I deserve to be here and that's something I will teach my team. I feel like I’m learning while they’re learning at the same time, and that’s something I offer in my pitch “We’ll do this together. I’m just as scared as you are".
On the types of singers they'll turn for...
Will: I like to keep an open mind. I don't stay predictable as far as the type of singers that I might turn for. There's one singer in particular that is on vibration of what I'm doing right now and the music that we're making right now that's performing well.
Since 2015, I haven't really been putting music out aggressively. I put a song out a year, like Boys and Girls and Birthday or Fiyah, but I don't consistently put songs out. This is the first year since 2013 my Willpower record where I'm planning, preparing and collaborating.
We've done a lot of records with latin artists like J Balvin, Ritmo is doing extremely well. It's top 40 and climbing. We haven't been in the top 40 since, me solo 2013, Black Eyed Peas since 2011.
Meghan: I was listening a lot for something different that's not on the radio. Like *****'s tone, did you notice how different it was? Raspy but in control. I was like "Man, that would pop off." I want to find singers that can not only win but that I can write songs with, make their career and really watch their dreams come true. That's what I was hunting for.
Olly: It's always different for me because we've already heard what's come before. It's obviously hard because there are so many brilliant singers that you're not always going to find the one. But I do think we're always looking for something different.
I'll never forget Ruti. Ruti for me was one of my all-time favourites on the show and I still hope she has a great career. I've got her LP. When she came on the show I bought it and I don't normally do that - her voice was so good.
On the one song they'll almost always turn for...
Olly: Iron Sky which is what the winner of The Voice sung a few years ago, Mo Jamil. It's one of my favourite Paolo Nutini songs and I remember being at home when I heard him singing and thought "Oh my God that was incredible". So it's that song for me. That song's a really tough song to sing, so if you can nail that song... Turn.
Tom: There are a lot of songs that will make me turn, but there was one kid that was on a couple of years ago and he did Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? which is a great song and he sung the shit out of it too and I remember thinking "That's tremendous that." I've always liked that song, but you've got to be able to sing it.
On not turning...
Olly Murs: We do (feel bad), but in our defence, I do believe that with me, Tom, Will and Meghan if one of us hasn't turned, there's always a reason. If I haven't turned and I look round and Tom hasn't turned - or Will or Meghan - I feel like there was obviously a reason why we weren't feeling it.
I was watching a show the other night - I won't name it - and I was watching it with my missus and she said to me "What do you think of this person?" and I was taking the piss and giving my verdict - but I said the problem is, close your eyes for a second and listen to what I would be listening to. That's how I have to look at it now.
Meghan: It's horrible in the moment to not press the button, to hear the crowd's disappointment and hear them walk off - we can hear footsteps but we don't hear their stories. Watching it back with the story we kick ourselves even more for not turning around.
I did a show in America with Diddy called The Four and when the artists came out we would say no to their face and it was so hard but Diddy said it perfectly - "You've already won. This is a great step in your career. You're on television. You're getting exposure that so many people don't get." so I try to think as positive as I can - at least they got to shine for three minutes on TV.
At least people know their story and they can fall in love with them and follow them on social media and go blow their career up.
On the positive side of knockbacks...
Tom Jones: I try and tell the contestants that I didn't just walk in and sing and have a hit record. There's a lot that goes into it before you get there. And then hopefully by the time you do get there, you're prepared for it.
Olly: I failed twice before X Factor. I auditioned for the show three times. The first two, I didn't even get a look in. They looked at me once, they didn't look at me twice, just said "No, not this year." and I went "Alright." I didn't have any constructive feedback.
When I went into my audition I'd sing and they'd go "No." - I'd then ask them for any feedback and they'd go "No." and I'd just walk out. I guess I just wasn't what they were looking for That hurt. That really really hurt me.
But I don't think I'd be the person I am if it wasn't for those knockbacks. You're not learning if everything's given to you on a plate. You've got to have those knockbacks to make you appreciate what you've got and fight for what you want.
On people singing one of the coach's songs...
Meghan: No one has! Isn't that crazy? I'm upset. There is still time... I did think they would sing the John Legend song, Like I'm Gonna Lose You but not one of them did! But it's OK, I sung it actually. They threw the microphone at me so I perform that at some point.
Olly: No one has this series and I respect that. I think that's a good move. If you're going to come on this show and sing one of our songs, it's so hard. Nah, it's good that they don't really.
Tom: The trick is, you've got to do something different with it.
Olly: How are you going to sing a Tom Jones song and make it your own? It's a massive risk.
Tom: One guy did. He did She's A Lady as a ballad. Well, he did most of it as a ballad and then he started to pick it up towards the end.
What have you learnt from each other?
Tom: I've learnt that Olly's a very natural person, which I like. What you see is what you get. And he's talented and he speaks his mind.
Olly: Never give up. That's what I've learnt from Tom. Not that there was a time that I was going to give up, but I thought about taking a break or a rest and then I thought "Why the fuck do I want to do that?" - when you've got a guy next to you who's having the career that he's having, why do I need to take a break? If I love music as much as I do, the passion that Tom gives me every day for life and for music was so inspirational.
On last year's winner, Molly Hocking....
Olly: I speak to Molly all the time. She's doing great. She's written a record and she's ready to get it out there. It's a difficult industry. We're finding it difficult as artists, everyone's finding it difficult. She's gone off to get some experience and do some shows, get back on the road and back into the swing of it and she'll be back on the show performing this year.
She is a talent. On this show, of course we promise a record deal, but we're not trying to say you're going to be a superstar - we can give you this amazing platform, you can go and get your music out there and use the tools that we've given you and get your name out there. If we're talking about success stories, Becky Hill. Look at her path. She was on the first season of The Voice and she's grafted and worked her nuts off and look at her now. That's what it takes.
I came off The X Factor and it wasn't a given that I was going to be successful. I had to put my work in, I had to graft, I had to write that right record and I believe The Voice is starting to get there now.
Tom: Some of them have gone into musicals. One guy was the lead in Kinky Boots so some of these people have done really well since they've been on The Voice. Maybe they haven't become superstars, but they've been successful.
On their future on the show...
Tom: I love doing it. I really enjoy it. It's a great thing, especially after being in the business as long as I have, to pass that on and still be putting stuff out there for other singers to benefit from. It's a great feeling.
Olly: I love it and I'm getting paid to do it. If I didn't enjoy it, I wouldn't be here. I'm being serious. It's not the money for me - obviously we all work to get paid - but genuinely, if I didn't enjoy being sat with Tom and I didn't like the people, I would not be on this show. I love it. I absolutely do love it.
The Voice UK returns Saturday at 8.30pm on ITV