The Voice 2013: Introducing Tom Jones

"The big thing for me was that all four of us came back. If one coach didn’t return I wouldn’t have even thought about it"

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Is it scary being back?

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I feel like I know what I am doing this time and it feels more natural. Last year we were given suggested lines just in case we got stuck, which I tried to work in on a few occasions. But even when I tried to say them naturally I knew that they weren’t me and felt self-conscious. I have learnt now that I don’t have to do that, I can just say what I feel.

Was it a hard decision to return?

The big thing for me was that all four of us came back. If one coach didn’t return I wouldn’t have even thought about it. When Jessie J and I were doing the Diamond Jubilee for the Queen, Jessie asked me, “Are you going to do the next Voice?” I said, “I don’t know. Are you?” She said, “I will if you will.” Danny and Will were already in, so I decided right then to return. We only signed up for a year so our contracts had to be renegotiated, but we got everything we asked for.

Are you good at making instinctive decisions?

On the show I try to listen to as much of the song as possible. If the others like the tone of someone’s voice they hit the button early. I would rather watch the clock — there’s one in front of us so we know how much longer before the song ends — because people can crumble.

And outside of the show?

In my career it all depends on the song. When I first heard It’s Not Unusual, which was my first hit, I realised the potential right away. Other times it takes longer — Burt Bacharach had to sell me on What’s New, Pussycat? because I had never heard anything like it before. I’m glad I gave it a chance in the end! Sometimes you have to give things a bit of time.

Any regrets?

There are some. Paul McCartney wrote The Long and Winding Road for me, but I had another song coming out and I let it go. I wish I hadn’t. I could have done it later on but to have been the first… It could have been my song.

What has been your biggest gamble?

Well, life is a gamble! When I was younger, I said, “I’m going to go to London to be a singer!” I used to sing in the clubs and they said, “Oh, Tom — you’re great, but…” I just said, “I’ll meet Elvis Presley one day!” I was determined and thankfully nobody could shake me from that. I didn’t realise it was a gamble, but it was.

Have all your gambles paid off?

Maybe my pants were a little too tight when I was younger! I think, ‘My God, they were a bit much.’ I didn’t realise I was creating a monster.

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The Voice UK returns on Saturday 30 April at 7:00pm on BBC1