Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Talia Smith – “The Voice” Battle Round

It was short. It was sweet. And she certainly tried!

The X Factor has a bootcamp, The Voice has the Battle Rounds and this is where the 48 hopefuls are whittled down to 24 as each coach puts their acts against each other.
As Sir Tom Jones explained: "two people, one song" is the aim of the game and the act who the coach deems better is the one that goes through to the next round.

So it was a Country versus Folk battle ground as up stepped TEAM TOM’s Talia Smith and Sally Barker on the Saturday March 1st show on BBC 1.

Speaking ahead of the showdown, Talia, the 31-year-old mother-of-three who lives on the Hartlands travellers site in Church Road, Cranford and works at Boots as a make-up consultant in Hounslow High Street said working with the Welsh crooner had been 'like a dream'. "Being able to talk to Tom and get his opinions has been amazing," added the singer/songwriter.
"As a country singer I was really concerned about saleability in the UK and I've been trying to change my style to fit in but he convinced me to stay true to myself."

Smith nearly didn't go through with her audition after her Travellin Rose country singing pal Kelly Lee, pulled out at the last minute. It was later she learned that Kelly was pregnant and had to withdrawn halfway through filming from the Reality contest. Well Kelly has just had her baby boy, adding to Talia's growing legion of fans.
Smith says the experience has been invaluable giving her renewed confidence to pursue a solo career and will inspire other Hounslow residents to fulfil their dreams.

The song that I picked is by Olly Murs and it’s called “Dear Darling” coach Tom Jones told the pair

I don’t really know the song so I rang my kids” said Sally the 54-year old Barrow upon Soar, Leicestershire native.

Speaking on the phone and asking for help - “It’s called Dear Darling by someone called Olly Murs?” questioned the “Another Train” / “The Honeymoon Is Over” Folk singer = Love It !
It’s still pretty much a mystery to me so I’ll just have to wait and see” said a hopeful Sally.
It took me outside of my comfort zone because I hadn’t heard the song before,” Sally told the Leicester Mercury.

The Minogue Connection
So it seems that Sally has better things to do with her time at weekends than watch The X Factor over the years and that Olly Murrs is not a household name just yet!

Yes, the affable Witham, Essex native Olly initially gained notoriety on 2009 series of The X Factor and went on to appear on TV games shows, TV documentaries, co-presented the spin-off show The Xtra Factor with Caroline Flack and joined Gary Barlow at Judges Houses in the last X  Factor series.

The Pop, breakbeat single "Dear Darlin'” (available on iTunes) written by Olly Murs with Ed Drewett, Jim Eliot was released on 26th May 2013 by Epic as the third single from the album RIGHT PLACE RIGHT TIME. "Darlin’ reached No.5 on the Official UK Singles Chart and was Nominated for British Single of the Year at the 2014 BRIT Awards.
Requires Spotify application to be already open:

There is actually a Voice connection with X Factor. Murs would have disappeared into the X Factor ozone if it hadn’t of been for
Kylie Minogue’s sister Danni. In week 7 of the 2009 series, after a performance of "Fastlove", he found himself in the bottom two with John & Edward (John and Edward Grimes). Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole decided to send John & Edward home, but their mentor Louis Walsh voted against Murs. Dannii Minogue then decided against taking the judges' vote to deadlock and sent home John & Edward. When the voting statistics were later released on itv.com, they revealed that if Minogue had voted to save John & Edward and taken it to deadlock, Murs would have been sent home on popular vote, as John & Edward gained 10.7% of the popular vote against just 9.8% to Murs. Such are the fine margins and whims of the judges as to whether a TV contestant will eventually have a music career or just completely vanish from public attention.

Danni actually judged it as a singing competition after Cowell had done the dirty two weeks previously ousting one of Danni’s acts the now 21-year-old Welsh singer Lucy “I Love Lucy” Jones. She was controversially eliminated in week five over Jedward when Cowell (more interested in TV ratings) took the judges' vote to deadlock. Lucy who hasn’t since released, to my knowledge, any music last modelled the 'Loved By' range from British lingerie company Hannah Dulcie and has previously modelled for a Wonderbra campaign.  

Voice Battle Stations but not a cat fight in sight
How do you both feel like being paired against each other” asked British rapper and Team Tom Voice coach Tiny Tempah
We’re sorry” said Sally, adding “We Don’t won’t to loose each other
You’ve become friends” observed Sir Tom
It must be nerve-racking to be handed a song that you don’t know but she [Sally] just seems to open her mouth and it comes out beautifully” noted Tempah.

Because I didn’t really know the song, initially I wasn’t sure but it’s actually grown on me and it felt good. Thank God!” Sally giggled.
What’s driving you now”? asked Tiny Tempah
My two kids are driving me crazy, they told me to go on The Voice and so they said mum you should be on this, so I thought what could I lose
During rehearsals, Tiny aiding Tom Jones with his team - said to Sally: “You’re singing it so well for someone who hasn’t heard it before.”
Tom soon after added: “I’m glad you’re on the show - I’m glad you’re on my team.”

Wearing a fetching rose print cropped short sleeved jacket, revealing low cut top, black pants, booties and long cascading red locks the attractive Talia shared in the slow-mo Voice red carpet walk - “Me and Sally have got really close and I think its going to be hard because one of us is going to go, its going to be heartbreaking
Walking beside her, Sally looking glam in a  knee length sequined dress said “I will do the best I can, I know Talia will do the same, it’s not going to be a cat fight”

As Sally with her velvety and comforting vocal sang the line “And if my words break through the wall” it brought forth a “Yeah” and “Beautiful” reaction from Aussie princess of pop superstar Kylie Minogue whilst TEAM TOM coach Tom Jones was all smiles.

Now it was time for Talia as she stepped up to pick up the song baton after Sally’s opening. In contrast Sir Tom looking a little pensive and concerned for her after a tad off-key start with her first few notes.
Talia then quickly found her stride and the lack of her country twang on this occasion was beneficial to the performance and the audience soon warmed to her.

Seizing the moment the Heathrow songstress really attacked the song singing “Dear darlin’, please excuse my writing” as the Voice audience, cheering, rose to its feet and clapped along.
At the end of their “pitch” battle Tom Jones showed his approval with a standing ovation.
To my ears it eclipsed the Olly Murs original and brought a fresh quality and a more sensitive, melodic deeper feeling to the number.

The Verdict
The ex JLS boy band vocalist/ presenter Marvin Humes picking up on the excitement barked “Give it up for Sally and Taylor (ugh ?) “
He then quickly corrected himself asking: “Talia, How was it for you” to which she replied “I’m still shaking now
Tom they did you proud” he said looking in the direction of Tal and Sal’s coach.
Definitely, Beautiful, Lovely, they are back” said Sir Tom wiping back an imaginary tear.

Moving on to Kylie Minogue she noted: “I don’t envy you Tom because it looks like there is some love between the ladies here. You were so respectable of each other in that performance. I would lean towards Sally. There is such clarity in your voice and you are transcend it.

Coach Will.i.am of Black Eyed Peas fame agreed and said: “Talia I think because of the way you walked before you sang was so spot on. Toward the first couple of notes were off, but then you found it and the rest of the performance was, amazing. Sally not that age means anything, but I don’t know what you sounded like when you were 20, but you sound amazing at 54!”
Turning round in his Voice chair to Sally’s two sons (including eldest son, Dylan) who were watching in the audience, he said: “Your mum is like, the coolest lady in the world.”

So it was all eyes on Tom, as Sally and Talia awaited his Battle verdict.
The "Green, Green Grass of Home" and "Sex Bomb" hit maker explained:  “I must congratulate both of you because you made a great duet there. Talia has a great country voice but when Sally sung, she hit me so hard with emotion, so..” he said filling up .
Well, the winner of this battle is, Sally.”

I’m a bit chocked” admitted Sally
As the Country and Folk singers embraced each other Talia was heard to say -  “Well done you deserve it, you deserve it so much”. Sally replied “I’m so sorry”  drawing an instant heartfelt “Don’t be so silly” from a gracious loser.
So Talia was no longer on Team Tom and it might not of been the end of the road as she was still available for a “steal”  but alas the other judges didn’t take up the offer.
Afterwards Kaiser Chiefs lead singer and Voice coach Ricky Wilson likened Sally to “giving off a mist that makes me feel happy”. Kylie agreed “A comfy mist
Tom Jones concurred with his fellow judges saying “That’s what makes the difference between a good singer and a great singer and that’s what Sally’s got. She hits me in the heart

So Talia leaves the show having been an absolute credit to the “Country genre” which displayed the friendly camaraderie that is an inherent part of the world of country and folk and is what draws us to the music.
This has been a great experience and a worthy addition to her country CV.
Talia Smith gives it her best shot

We love you Talia! All good things for the future.
Hopefully Talia and Sally will rekindle their Voice friendship with a collaboration on a future song project or End Of The Road festival gig.

It was short. It was sweet. And she certainly tried! Well done Talia - All I can say is “Girl, I mean them all.”

Watch Talia and Sally sing 'Dear Darlin' in their vocal battle on >> YouTube  or The Voice UK BBC Page

Travelin Rose’s Cinderella Dreaming is available to purchase on:
Amazon - iTunes and CDBABY
Sally Barker's compilation album "Another Train" is available on Amazon MP3

Wishing Sally well in the rest of the competition.
Proud to own music from both the artistes.

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