It’s ‘Team Rita’ for Vanessa as she makes it through to the next round. ESP’s Mikey Clarke grabs a word…
If you saw The Voice on Saturday (February 21) then you would have seen local singer Vanessa Hunt impressing the celebrity coaches. Soon after her performance on the popular BBC One show, I grabbed a few words with the star. “It all feels so surreal. None of this feels real,” she told me. “I just wanted to be a part of the show and to have the opportunity to sing in front of the judges. Getting through the other side with a ‘Yes’… well, I just never dreamed it would happen.”
So, what made Vanessa apply for the show in the first place? “A while back, I was watching The Voice with my boyfriend and he suggested that I apply. I told him I’ve gone for similar things and that it might not be for me. He asked me what I had to lose. So I applied and now here I am.”
For those who haven’t seen the programme, The Voice is a singing competition that begins with ‘blind’ auditions. The four judges – Ricky Wilson, Will.i.am, Sir Tom Jones plus new judge Rita Ora – listen to the contestants in chairs with their backs to the stage so that they can’t see them, then press a button and swivel round if they like the sound of them. If more than one coach presses their button, the contestant chooses the one he or she wants to work with.
Rita (Cover Star of January’s ESP), Tom and Ricky all turned for Vanessa. She described that moment as, “Completely crazy. I thought I’d be lucky for just one person to turn. To have all judges except for Will.i.am turning was just amazing.” Out of the three judges that turned, the local singer went with Rita. “I felt like she was the one that connected with me the most out of the three that did turn. It was a very close call between her and Ricky.” And would she have gone with Will.i.am if he had turned? “Quite possibly,” she said.
Vanessa sang a version of Sunshine Of Your Love. You may have heard her sing it locally? “I used to sing in a local band called The Soft Tone Needles, who are a northern-soul tribute band – and that is the version we used to do. It’s a version by somebody called Spanky Wilson. To be honest I’ve not heard the Cream version – I’ve always known the Spanky version of it.”
Fans of The Voice and readers of ESP Magazine will know that there’s more than one local act on the show this year. I have also interviewed the other contestants, Classical Reflection, and wondered if Vanessa had the pleasure of meeting Naomi and Hannah too. “There’s a lot of waiting around behind the scenes, so I spent a lot of time with the twins,” she said. “They’re lovely girls. I kept asking them to sing for me, and although I have no plans to get married just yet, I’ve asked if they’ll sing at my wedding.”
Round two of The Voice is the Battle Round, where judges put two of their own team members together to compete against each other. “I’m really nervous about it,” Vanessa said. “The competition is incredible. People forget that in the blind auditions, you’re absolutely terrified. The talent portrayed in that first round is nothing compared to how people sound after they’ve relaxed. The battles are going to be really good.”
During my chat with the singer – amongst other things – we discussed why she chose to apply solo and not with her partner, who she currently performs with as a band. Read more on Vanessa in March’s edition of ESP Magazine.
The Voice airs on BBC One every Saturday. Keep watching to support our Peterborough girls (Vanessa and Classical Reflection) during the Battle Rounds. It’s Team Ricky vs Team Rita!
Watch my full chat with Vanessa on our video below, plus footage of her recent performance.
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Photos: The Voice – BBC/Wall to Wall, photos Vanessa – Andy Vernum @ Studio One for ESP Magazine