Q&A: Olly Murs on his new gig as coach on The Voice UK

Cape Town - The seventh season of The Voice UK starts exclusively on ITV Choice (DStv 123) on Sunday, 7 January at 18:00 - just 24 hours after it premieres in the UK. 

Pop superstar Olly Murs is the new judge (having replaced Gavin Rossdale) in this latest series and joins Sir Tom Jones, will.i.am and Jennifer Hudson in the judges' revolving chairs. 

He answers a few questions about the new series ...

How does it feel joining The Voice UK as a coach? 

It feels amazing. It is incredible to be part of such an amazing show and a show that I have watched from afar for many years. I am really enjoying being part of such a fun, exciting show, it is brilliant. 

What’s it like being the new boy on the panel? 

It is mad. When I first started I was really nervous to be the new member, it is like being in a new class at a new school with all new kids, I have got all these new people to meet and they all know each other and they have got to get to know me. Will they like me or not? I don’t know, but I have settled in brilliantly. I was really nervous to start off but everyone is really lovely and the whole team is great to work with and they have made me feel really welcome. They are really fun. 

Are some of the other coaches on the panel playing games with you? 

I think Will is probably the most competitive that I saw, he was trying to get into my head and trying to convince me to turn when maybe I shouldn’t but that is what it is all about. It is all fun and games and I think especially when you are on The Voice UK it becomes ultra-competitive because one of us is going to win the show with the team we have got and obviously we all want to have a really good team and we all want to win. I think there is always going to be that nice little competitive edge and I think Will always brings that. I love it, it is all banter for me, I like it when people are testing me out and having fun with me, it is great. 

Did you know any of the other coaches before joining the show?

 I knew them as artists and what they have achieved but I didn’t know them personally. Sir Tom is probably the only one I have properly met before and had a conversation with. We met at a gig in Germany, myself, Tom and Gregory Porter were all there singing. We all got chatting after which was nice. Will and Jennifer I have never met before but I have admired them from afar and so it was just lovely to meet them all. They all have their own personalities which is really fun. I’m sure they were probably thinking, ‘who the hell is this guy with bags of energy?’ but I am hoping they are liking me just as much as I am liking them. 

Have you got a strategy to win? 

No, I haven’t at all! My strategy is just to pick a really good team and I think everyone on the panel just wants to find a star, that is what it is all about and to give our knowledge and advice and try and coach a big star. That is the whole point and hopefully give these guys the opportunity that we were given. That is the only strategy I have. It is very difficult, maybe ask me next year and I will maybe have a different strategy if I am doing the show because I’ll probably have a bit more experience but at the moment it is just about picking the right team. I am just really happy that we have all got really good teams and really strong singers. 

Olly Murs

You have come from a talent show background yourself, does that help you on the panel? 

Yeah of course, it helps me to be able to give the contestants my advice and they also know I have been through that experience and I can help and guide them with that. If they have any questions they want to ask I can help them. But when they get to the later stages of the competition it is really about picking the right songs and that is what I want to try and get across to them. I hope they have the confidence in me to help them with that but they also need to know themselves and find themselves as an artist. I definitely think that the experiences I have had doing reality TV shows will definitely help them and that I have had such a successful career coming from a reality TV show, not many people get that opportunity so I am very lucky that I am part of that group.

How important are shows like The Voice UK in finding talent? 

They are massively important, especially for someone like me who was working in a call centre in Essex. My mum and dad didn’t have the finances or didn’t know anyone in the music industry so I really didn’t have the opportunities. I didn’t know where I could go or what I could do so these shows really do change people’s lives. You still have these really amazing characters and what I love about it is when you find those characters who aren’t professional singers and are just normal regular people who really want to change their lives. That is what I love about these shows, being able to give someone the opportunity to change their life and be the next big thing and that’s why people like to watch. They always like to see the underdog do well. 

Who would you say is your main competition on the panel?

I think it has to be Jennifer. She was the winner last time, the one to beat. Myself, Tom and Will, we have just been all about beating Jennifer Hudson as we can’t let her win again! She has been the one we are all up against.


This Q&A was supplied to Channel24 by ITV Choice. 

(Photo: ITV Choice)