Sunday, 18 November 2018

Tom’s my number one

SINGER Jamie Bruce eased through the blind audition stage of The Voice at the weekend after catching the ear of

SINGER Jamie Bruce eased through the blind audition stage of The Voice at the weekend after catching the ear of both Tom Jones and will.i.am.

The 34-year-old from Henley said he was “really chuffed” with the response he received from all four judges on the BBC 1 reality show.

Mr Bruce, a soul singer who currently has four jobs to pay the bills, opened the show on Saturday with Try A Little Tenderness by Otis Redding, prompting singer and producer will.i.am to turn around within seconds.

But he had to choose who his mentor would be when Tom Jones also declared his interest by turning his chair around at the last minute.

will.i.am said: “I thought you sounded great — the first couple of notes I was like ‘wow’, blown away.

“I was fearful for him (Tom Jones) turning around... if I were you I would pick Tom but I am not you so I would pick me.”

Jones said: “I loved it. I love that kind of music and I thought you sang the hell out of it.

“I waited to see what you did with it but you sounded great as soon as you started and you kept that going all the way through so it was great.”

Mr Bruce, of Reading Road, decided to choose the legendary Welsh singer, whom he described as his hero.

He told the Henley Standard: “You need anybody to turn around and any preconceptions of who you want goes out of the window when you are on that stage, you just want someone to turn around. I just started performing but with the hope in my heart that someone would recognise my voice or hear something that they liked and then turn around.

“When they do it is an enormous relief and the pressure release is phenomenal but alongside that you have to contain yourself to get through the rest.

“After will.i.am turned round I still had one minute, 18 seconds to go and I thought as I had one mentor I wanted to push it to get more.

“Tom was always number one for me but if I had been lucky enough to get him and Jessie J to turn around then it would have been very difficult.

“She does things with her voice that I cannot but it is Tom Jones the legend who I have a massive affinity with and believe I have a similar vocal style.”

Despite being the first contestant to audition for the show, Mr Bruce had to wait five weeks before his film was broadcast. He said: “I was really chuffed with the way I came across as Saturday was the first time that I had seen any more than the musical bit.

“The next stage is the battles in two weeks and I am incredibly excited about that.

“I could not be with a better coach and I cannot wait. I hope I do not get picked with someone who is better than me but I am confident in my own ability though it is going to be hard.” Mr Bruce said he was surprised to see himself in the Sunday newspapers, which all picked up on his dramatic weight gain and subsequent dieting as a result of failing to get to the latter stages of ITV’s X Factor two years ago.

He said: “I did a conference call with all the newspapers and they decided who they want to lead with from the show. To see headlines like ‘The X Factor nearly killed me’ was not really what I wanted as it completely twisted what I said.

“It was all getting a bit overwhelming. I have never been in a national paper talking about issues that I had but as I talk about them on the show I opened up a bit.

“In fact I have lost four stone and am well on the way to losing three more by June.

“I have not gone back to my usual ways when I got depressed and kicked myself to pieces.

“I have done really well and am proud of myself. It is fair to say that The Voice has changed my life and my mental state so much. I feel like I have learned something by being on the show.

“I have had a bit of a long, hard journey but I need to keep going. I am a big guy but I have been in such a good place that I needed my body to catch up.

“In any job it seems to be the slim and beautiful who are more successful. I have kidded myself for a long time that my voice would see me through and I didn’t have to worry about anything else.”

To hear Mr Bruce sing, visit www.jamiebruce.net

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