Beth McCarthy interview: ‘I’m going to use The Voice as a platform’

TV star… Beth McCarthy on The Voice. Photograph: BBC / Wall to Wall / Guy Levy
24 Jan 2014 @ 5.42 pm
| News
TV star… Beth McCarthy on The Voice. Photograph: BBC / Wall to Wall / Guy Levy
TV star… Beth McCarthy on The Voice. Photograph: BBC / Wall to Wall / Guy Levy

pete-wise-headshotShe stormed The Voice winning over Kylie Minogue and millions of viewers. And now you can see her live. Pete Wise caught up with Beth McCarthy

York teenager Beth McCarthy has worked tirelessly to amass a legion of fans for her music over the past few years, playing dozens of gigs in York as well as touring around the country and spending countless hours honing her self-penned songs.

On January 11th, she saw her popularity sky-rocket overnight as millions tuned in to see her wow the judges on BBC1’s prime time talent show The Voice.

The 16-year-old’s life has changed dramatically since her successful audition, and she now finds herself vying for the coveted The Voice crown under the guidance of celebrity mentor Ricky Wilson of the Kaiser Chiefs, choosing him over Kylie Minogue.

We caught up with Beth to get the inside line on her experiences on the show, and to discover what’s next for this young York talent.

What’s life been like since your TV appearance?

It’s been a bit hectic, like a whirlwind really. There’s been a massive increase in the social media side of things, and people recognising me… it’s been good! I’m slowly making my way into the bigger industry.

People stop you on the street and wanna talk to you, which is really weird because you think Why would you wanna talk to me?, because it’s just me!

Tell us a little about your experience of the show.

It’s just been a really, really amazing experience, there’ve been no negatives. Every time I go it’s something new.

It’s been good to be involved in something like this because it’s so different from what I’ve been doing for the last three years. People have different takes on it as to whether it’s right; some say you should go down the ‘keep working’ route and avoid going down something that’s like a fast-track I guess, but they need to remember that you still need to work on The Voice! You can’t just become huge; anyone who progresses anywhere has to work for it.

What’s coming up on The Voice?

We’ve done a few pre-recorded bits, so we’ve been through quite a bit of the process already. We’ve been working with our coaches and stuff like that.

The Voice judges: Ricky Wilson, Sir Tom Jones, Kylie Minogue and will.i.am. Photograph: BBC
The Voice judges: Ricky Wilson, Sir Tom Jones, Kylie Minogue and will.i.am. Photograph: BBC

Did you expect one of the chairs to turn around?

No, to be honest I didn’t expect one, let alone two, because there’s a massive, massive process beforehand, and you have to go through auditions with producers and things like that.

Forty thousand applied to go on the show and then I think 120-ish got a blind audition, so it was a big deal just to get to that stage.

I kinda went in there thinking this has been amazing and I’ve learned loads already, but to get two of them to turn was just mental. To get one is crazy and when you get two you actually have to choose, so that was a weird situation to be in!

Did you think you had a particularly good chance with any one judge?

I suppose you look into the coaches before you go into it, just in case you have to choose and decide which one you’re more suited to.

So I went into it hoping that Ricky would turn, and thinking if anybody would, it might be him, just because we’re the most similar in the way we work. Obviously he’s started from the bottom and worked him way up, and until now that’s what I’d done.

I was hoping he would turn, but any of them would’ve been great!

You write your own songs – any new releases coming up?

Yeah! I brought out my first EP in July last year, and depending on what happens with The Voice obviously, I hope to release an album at some point later this year.

I hope to perform with my own stuff us well, because obviously I’m getting great exposure with covers on The Voice, but not as much with my original stuff, and that’s mainly what I’m about. I’m going to try to use the show as a platform for my own music, rather than just going and being a singer.

Gigging: Beth McCarthy. Photograph: Helen Crossland Photography
Gigging: Beth McCarthy. Photograph: Helen Crossland Photography

What do you do when you’re not appearing on The Voice?

I’m learning all about music and the industry at Access To Music college. I just thought I’d stay local for now, because no one knows what’s going to happen in a few years.

At the moment I’m hopefully looking to move to London and try to make it there in a couple of years’ time. I thought if I stay close to home now, it’ll give me a better chance to still gig and do all of that.

Who are your musical inspirations?

My inspirations are actually people I watch at my own gigs; they’re not people who anyone knows of really, so I know if I say who they are people won’t know what I’m talking about!

I started out by going down the whole Ed Sheeran, Ellie Goulding kinda route, but I’m influenced by everything that I listen to. I grew up listening to rock music, and I don’t do that now, but I do take elements from it… Ed Sheeran and Ellie Goulding are my two big inspirations.

You’ve got a headline show tonight (January 24) at The Duchess.

Yeah, I’m really excited for this headline show! I was actually booked for it before everybody knew about The Voice. I like saying that because The Voice doesn’t change who I am as a person and I’m still doing exactly the same as I was before. I think it’s gonna be a really, really good night, I’ll hopefully get as many people as I can down and just enjoy it!