The Voice UK winner Kevin Simm interview: "It felt like a really big gamble"

We talk to Kevin about whether he'll be calling in a favour from Sia, and if he'll be re-creating that iconic Liberty X music video...

From Popstars to The Voice UK, Kevin Simm has come full-circle. After storming the charts with Liberty X back in the noughties, Kevin won The Voice UK last Saturday (April 9), giving his career a major shot in the arm. 

With his winner's single All You Good Friends riding high on the Official Singles Chart Update and Official Trending Chart, we caught up with Kevin to talk about his first solo single, getting stolen at the Battle Rounds, and whether he will ever re-create that Liberty X video again...

Taking part in The Voice UK was your second bite of the TV talent show cherry. Was this most recent experience a more or less daunting process than auditioning for Popstars?

It definitely was more daunting this time. There were times during Popstars where it was absolutely daunting – there’s no doubt about that. But I was a lot younger and I didn’t really care as much. I was 19 or 20 and had the whole world in front of me. If it didn’t work out then I could try something else. It was just so different. You didn’t sing in front of an audience - it was literally four judges and then [crew and contestants] in the room. This time, I had so much more to lose. It felt like a really big gamble.

Your first audition of Sia’s Chandelier got the nation talking and sent the song back into the chart. Why did you choose that as your Blind Audition track?

When I first applied for The Voice, I straight away thought about what I wanted to sing. I just loved that song and I was driving back from a gig and I had my Spotify on… wait, can I say that?! [laughs]

Of course you can. Other streaming services are also available though!

I was listening to Spotify and was going through piano ballads. There were piano versions of Sia’s Elastic Heart and Chandelier, and when I heard that I thought, ‘Oh my god, I have got to sing this song’. I knew it would be hard to sing, but if I got it right, it would be the one. The rest is history I guess.

It must have felt pretty encouraging to know you were the reason it re-entered the chart?

Well Sia hasn’t been in touch so she wasn’t bothered [laughs]! I think it is a real boost for every contestant when they cover a song and it automatically appears in the chart. Everyone gets a real buzz out of that. But it is Sia – she has so many songs in the chart, I don’t think much of it was to do with me. She has a new album out too!

Maybe she could return the favour by writing a song for you?

Please Sia!

Your story took a twist at the Battle rounds when Paloma decided to keep her fellow team member Faith over yourself, allowing Ricky to steal you. For a moment, did you think it was all over?

Yeah, 100%. On the show, you only see a cut-down version of the judges’ comments and things like that, and the comments were amazing. To be honest, I’d never allowed myself to think that I was going to get through but [Faith going through] was like a sledgehammer hitting me. She obviously thought I would get stolen and in the end, it all worked out fine.

It must have been quite nice to show that your vocal ability waaaay surpassed what people expected from you after Liberty X?

It was amazing. It is amazing how one minute, 20 seconds of a song can flip everything on its head. I could go and do a pub or club and no-one would pay any attention to me! It’s funny how one minute on a TV show can change people’s opinions of you. I think it is, seeing you in that environment with a live band rather than singing to a backing track, it gives it more of an authentic feel. I didn’t go on the show to prove people wrong though. It was to prove to myself that I had chosen the right path in my life by being a singer.

The title of your winner’s single, All You Good Friends, is quite fitting, given that your Liberty X bandmates have been at your side throughout. Not discrediting the success you had with the group, would you say this single release is perhaps your most important yet?

Oh yeah, definitely, but I know this single isn’t the be all and end all. I’m lucky that it is a song that I really like. I can relate to the lyrics and perform it honestly. The true test will be when it comes to the music I have been involved in.

Will there be a music video for it?

We have already done one, yes!

In the past, you’ve lurked in the shadows of a factory in Being Nobody, clubbed it up in Jumpin', were poolside in Got To Have Your Love and of course, you played a PVC-clad spy in Just a Little. Will we see a return of the canes and latex?

No, no, no! It would have be something relevant to the music I make and my age. I definitely won’t be dancing around. I’d maybe pretend to be a spy again I guess. Maybe water skiing – I could work with that!

MORE: View Liberty X's complete chart history

What would be your response to those naysayers who think that people who have once enjoyed chart success shouldn't apply the show?

People lose their jobs and get made redundant all the time, but are they supposed to choose a completely different career path? The music industry is looked upon as some dream world, but it is no different. I think I’ve paid my dues gigging over the years. If you’ve got ambition to do something, you’re not going to settle, and it is the same in any other job.

The success rate of Voice winners in the past isn’t great. How are you feeling about that being passed that torch? Is mainstream success something you’re aiming for?

Obviously I want the single to be as successful as it can possibly be, for myself and for the show. But I don’t feel as much pressure because people have such low expectations of winners anyway, so it would be a nice surprise for me to have a great chart position and do well off the back of it all.

Kevin's The Voice UK winner's single All You Good Friends is out now.

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★ Margaret ★


Kevin Simm is a STAR !!!!
What an emotional rendition of 'Chandelier' ..... In fact, I find myself eagerly looking forward to all that he sings, and the way his amazing voice influences the song’s lyrics.