Two Hackney singers make it through The Voice ‘battles’
- Credit: BBC / Wall to Wall
Two Hackney singers have made it through ‘the battles’ on The Voice, after their mentors - Kaiser Chiefs’ lead singer Ricky Wilson and Black Eyed Peas rapper will.i.am - picked them to go through to the next round.
Kagan Fage-Burgin, 19, sang King’s song Years and Years with fellow contestant Dave Barnes on Team Ricky on the BBC talent show on Saturday night, while 46-year-old Haggerston beat-boxer Brian Bennett, aka Lyrickal, from Kingsland Road, Hoxton, was pitted against teenager Mari Marli on Team Will, singing Like I Can by Sam Smith.
Their respective mentors picked them above their peers to carry onto the next stage of the show, the knockouts.
The show’s formula sees four coaches – Paloma Faith, will.i.am, Wilson and Boy George - listen to the contestants auditioning, in chairs facing away from the stage to avoid seeing them.
If a coach likes what they hear they press a button to rotate their chair to show they want to work with them – and the pair have been mentored by their celebrity judges ever since they made it through the show’s blind auditions.
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Kagan, who lives in Hoxton, told The Gazette: “When Ricky picked me, it was wow this is actually happening to me, it was like a dream.
“It’s amazing being mentored by Ricky, he is so down to earth, he’s just a cool guy.
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“He gives a lot of feedback, he understands singers, he knew where our voices were and how we can improve, I was shocked how he came to know all of it.”
He found Saturday night “nerve wracking”, despite having done the blind auditions and rehearsals.
“Getting up there you are still on The Voice, it’s a big deal and a huge opportunity,” he explained.
“A lot of things are going through your head, where you are walking, your choreography, you just have to overcome it, I did that by going out there and enjoying myself.”
Another Hackney singer is still in the running to win the show - 26-year-old Theo Llewellyn, a Sainsbury’s supermarket night shift worker who DJs at Troy’s Bar in Hoxton Street.
Kagan and Theo already know each other after he was mentored by Theo at an arts development programme at the Hackney Empire.
Hackney boy Jermain Jackman won the singing competition two years ago aged just 18, and went on to release his self-titled debut album last March.