Jessie J: I was hurt by criticism but it did not break me

Jessie J at the Voice Kids 2019 Photocall held at The Royal Society of Arts, London.
Jessie J at the Voice Kids 2019 Photocall held at The Royal Society of Arts, London.

Jessie J has admitted she was “hurt” by criticism she received as a coach on The Voice and said she was trying to fit in with the more experienced stars of the show.

The singer, real name Jessica Cornish, appeared on the first and second series of the show alongside Sir Tom Jones, Will.i.am and Danny O’Donoghue.

The Voice 2013 launch – London
Jessie with the other coaches on The Voice (Ian West/PA)

She will now be seen on The Voice Kids, a junior version of the show for seven to 14-year-olds, alongside returning coaches Pixie Lott, Danny Jones and will.i.am and said she is glad she was honest about the experience she had on the adult incarnation.

She told the Press Association: “I was honest about it but I also was young and I hadn’t even been in the industry for like a year and I was asked to sit next to Tom Jones, and I was just trying to fit in.

The Voice Kids 2019 Photocall – London
Jessie with fellow Voice Kids coaches Danny Jones, Pixie Lott and will.i.am, and host Emma Willis (Isabel Infantes/PA)

“I look back now and I understand that I was the first female coach on the show for the first series on a show that was brand new, and it was this big thing.

“Once there had been years of other female coaches that got similar slack, I realised that it wasn’t so personal but it really did hurt me and I’ve not lied about that.

“But it hasn’t broken me and I didn’t just wither away and disappear from the UK and go home and cry myself to sleep, I went and tried to break America, and I broke China and I toured the world and I put out another two albums.

“I’m really grateful for my career and how much I’ve been able to represent the UK, and I just want people to know that I love what I do and I love to represent the UK, I love to sing and I just want to be remembered as a great singer, nothing else.”

On returning to the big red spinning chairs the coaches sit in, she said: “It feels good, it’s been a long time since the first and second series, and I’ve grown a lot and I’ve learnt a lot and experienced a lot, and had a lot of highs and a lot of lows and I’ve had failure and I’ve had success.

“I’ve lived around the world, I’ve done a TV show in China where I was a contestant, and it was an incredible experience for me to go on the other side and to compete against established Chinese singers that are incredible, and to open a door into China that I wouldn’t have if I wasn’t on the show.

“I feel really honoured to be able to do that and I’m just grateful to be back.

“It’s been so beautiful for me to have an opportunity with Pixie to publicly show women empowerment, especially women in the music industry, to lift each other up, to support each other, have comfortable, creative debate.”

The Voice Kids 2019 Photocall – London
Jessie J with Emma Willis and Pixie Lott (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Addressing the discussion around treatment of women in the music industry, she said: “I think the conversation and any time a light gets shed on something is improving it because sometimes it has to get uncomfortable to get better.

“Everything with communication and truth and honesty and self-work and digging deep, we can all be better. We can all be nicer, we can all be stronger, we can all be more patient, we can all have more empathy. But same with men, men could be nicer to men and men could talk more and be open.”

The Voice Kids UK starts on Saturday at 8pm on ITV.

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