The Voice UK winner: Music helped to process working in the NHS during pandemic

The Voice UK champion Anthonia Edwards said she has written songs inspired by her emotions as a trainee nurse during the “hard times in Covid.”

The singer-songwriter, 25, was coached by Sir Tom Jones to scoop the coveted title during Saturday’s episode of the ITV talent competition, winning a recording contract.

Edwards told the PA news agency she applied for the ITV singing competition while she was a student nurse and “didn’t expect to win.”

She said: “I was a student nurse at the time when I applied and obviously we had just come off the back of Covid and how tense it was and I knew I was about to graduate so I wanted to do something different just before I go into my nursing career.

“I didn’t expect to win, I just wanted to have fun and explore my artistry, the whole process has just been incredible. Each stage progressing shocked me.

“I’m someone that likes to not do things in half and now that I won, I want to give my music the time to be what it is, but nursing is still one of my great passions.

“I love healthcare, I love caring for people and helping them through whatever it is that’s going on in a holistic way. I don’t know what the future holds but I think I will be involved in healthcare in some way, but for now it’s music music music.”

Having experienced the healthcare system under extreme pressure during the pandemic, Edwards said she has written songs from “emotions drawn from being in that time.”

Anthonia Edwards winner of The Voice UK 2022
The cover of Anthonia Edwards’ debut single ‘Anyone’ (EMI/PA)

She told PA: “I think music is one of those great weights where you invoke metaphors to process what you’re going through.

“There’s nothing directly in there saying ‘Nothing is great’ but definitely what I felt during the hard times in Covid.”

She continued: “Music has always been one of the ways I process my emotions. Especially the last couple of years has been more healthcare focused, music was just a great way to process what’s going on.

“I think my music is quite relatable, looking at the highs and lows sometimes the feelings of anxiety, feelings of loss that one might feel.”

In the final of The Voice UK, Edwards defeated Olly Murs’ contender David Adeogun, to mark coach Sir Tom Jones’ third win of the show.

ITV Autumn Entertainment launch
Sir Tom Jones (Jonathan Brady/PA)

She said: “I chose Sir Tom because he turned first and his comments were just so lovely.

“There’s a sparkle in his eye when he’s really into the music and I was just glad that it moved him enough to say he heard something in my voice.

“It was a fight between him and Anne-Marie, but I think he did it the most for me.

“Working with him, he’s lovely.

“In the final on TV I said he is the coolest guy, because he absolutely is.

“Every step of the way he kept asking if I was OK, he kept asking if I felt the song felt right for me. He was really great.”

Sir Tom also shared tips for the future including “Be yourself”, she said.

Edwards sang When The Party’s Over by Billie Eilish followed by a duet with Sir Tom to It’s A Man’s Man’s World by James Brown in the final.

The singer, whose debut winner’s single is a cover of Justin Bieber’s track Anyone, said her next single is “more me”.

She added that she hoped to use her new found platform to talk about “taking care of yourself.”

“As nurses we see people in all stages of life all kinds of backgrounds, and we really see what kinds of lifestyles lead to the worst kind of health,” she said.

“So I think from that perspective, there might be a bit of public health promotion from me.

“I have a lot to think about but I would love to use my platform in that way and just be vocal in looking after yourself, things that you can do to take preventative measures.”

She added that she is actively “avoiding” her phone following Saturday’s show because her social media has been “blowing up” and she wants to enjoy some “peace” in the moment.