Jessie J on The Voice Kids UK and learning through mistakes
PUBLISHED: 11:25 27 August 2019 | UPDATED: 14:13 27 August 2019
She’s been back on our TV screens as a coach on The Voice Kids UK, and Jessie J is also coming to Ascot Racecourse this month. Here, she talks about learning through mistakes
Living between LA and London, the Price Tag singer has been back on our screens in the red revolving Voice Kids chair, sitting alongside Will.i.am, Pixie Lott and Danny Jones. Jessie was one of the original coaches on The Voice UK.
The pop superstar has sold over 20 million singles and three million albums worldwide, and last year she won Chinese singing competition Singer 2018.
In April this year, she began touring festivals across Europe and Asia as part of her The Lasty Tour, in honour of her former bodyguard Dave Last, who died in 2018.
This month on 10 August she came to Ascot Racecourse for a live concert after the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup.
So Jessie, was it a big decision to return to the show and put yourself back in the spotlight?
It's funny because there's so many layers to it. The amount of questions I've been asked in the last few days. It's like: "You left England…" I didn't leave England. I've always lived here, but I wasn't at the top of my game so people weren't following me, which is fine. Everybody has their chance at the top. So I went and tried to break America, and then I went and tried to break China. I've been living my best life.
This show had its positives for me and I had an incredible time. There were moments where I wasn't old enough to understand emotionally what the media would say and do about me, not all the time, but sometimes. I needed to go away and work out who I was behind the camera to be able to come back and be in front of it again.
When I got offered to do The Voice Kids UK, I'd just finished a 55-date tour. I went back to LA for two weeks and then flew here and started shooting the show. I was so jet-lagged, I was in the chair going: "Did I win a competition to be here?"
I've got to a point where I know what I'm good at in life, I know what I'm not good at and I know that I can give back. And being able to give back to the younger generation is more powerful than any fake story the media will run about me. It's not about me, it's about them - and that's why I'm here.
Has it been more fun this time?
Yeah, it's like a dream. I love kids, I love to sing, I love the show, I love the format. I love the guys. It's very similar to Will, Tom and Danny from season one; it's that same energy. This series and that series are my favourites. It's been great.
Was it difficult when no one turned around for a child?
What's hard is watching the family on the side. I don't envy the parents. I see what my mum and dad went through when I was a kid. All of us get knocked down. But when you get given the opportunity to be the person who does that... I'm sure one day I'm going to be the parent, and then I'll have done all three. It doesn't feel good. But it's an important part of them growing. A child who has "Yes, yes, yes" often doesn't grow into someone who is going to survive as it's not real. You learn more in failure and pain than in anything else.
Did you chat to the ones who didn't get through afterwards?
Yeah, like 45 minutes with each kid. Even now I would love to get advice from four people who I love. I would soak that in. I will bump into Katy Perry in the airport and I'll talk to her and be like: "I tried to do this." They are moments that you need. We're all artists whether we're seven or 35.
I think the beauty of this show, which is one of the reasons I did it eight years ago, was it wasn't just: "No, bye." It was: "Not for us, but this is why." I always say: "You should do this," or: "Watch yourself back." You can't be a singer and not know what you look like when you perform. You need to know what you're selling.
Will prefers The Voice Kids UK to the adult verison. Do you?
I don't know. It's been a long time since I did the adult one and I've never done this before. There's an element of magic that this one has that the adult one can sometimes struggle to keep consistent. It depends on the person on stage. They control the energy in the room.
What's been your best mistake?
Auditioning for Annie as I didn't get in. It was the worst moment of my life. I was nine. Two years later, I got my first role in a musical and it changed my life. I've learnt more about myself from every mistake than from not making mistakes.
If Jennifer Hudson doesn't return for the adult Voice, will we see you in that chair?
I don't sing as much as her though. She literally sings every episode. Her voice is so good.
- Q&A with Berkshire-based Olympian Helen Glover MBE - Olympic rower Helen lives in Cookham with husband Steve Backshall and has recently become a mum