Attitude’s Jason Reid chats to The Voice UK‘s Vangelis Polydorou about what the show was really like, how important his sexuality is to him as an artist, and his upcoming show at London’s Royal Vauxhall Tavern…
How have things been going since The Voice?
Really well. Singing is now my full time job, which has always been my dream, and I’ve been working all over the country for the last few months. One of my highlights of the summer was closing the British LGBT Awards. That was so much fun and quite a big deal for me. More recently I’ve started working on my debut album. I already have a major sponsor and there’s a pledge music page for my fans (who are just amazing).
So I guess you’re glad you applied for The Voice?
Definitely. These types of shows are really good platforms, but people need to be realistic in their expectations. When you come out of them you’re not guaranteed instant record deals or gigs. You’ve got to really work at it yourself. As soon as I left I immediately started emailing and networking because it’s not going to come to you.
How did you feel when it was over? And all of a sudden you were back to normality after appearing on one of the country’s biggest TV shows week after week?
I did find it slightly strange. I also thought it was odd that throughout the process there was access to a psychotherapist but not after the show? I imagine it can be a depressing time for some people, thankfully I’m at an age where I feel I have my head screwed on. I’m still fairly young but I’m mature in my thinking. I was prepared for what was to come. I think that’s important.
Throughout the whole process, what were you most surprised by?
Okay, to be honest, the show has favourites. And I think I was portrayed as being one of those favourites – as in progressing to the final twelve. Then when it got to the live shows it became clear who they were focussing on more, and I felt like they didn’t want me in the mix. That surprised me.
Is it fixed?
I don’t think it’s fixed, but it’s really easy to manipulate the public into voting a certain way. There were sob stories galore and all you saw me doing was going home to clean my room. Hardly going to tug at the heart strings is it?
Moving on [both laugh], over the summer you’ve been performing at various pride events and you’re passionate about performing specifically as an LGBT artist. Why is that so important to you?
When I was growing up there were hardly any openly gay people in the public eye, and I think LGBT artists should be open and honest about their sexuality because as well as being artists they’re also role models. A lot of people don’t want to be known as a ‘gay artist’ because they don’t want their sexuality to overshadow their music. I don’t think it does, it’s a part of who you are and you should embrace it. If you’re gay and comfortable with it you should express that in your music.
What’s your opinion of artists who are not open about their sexuality?
Artists who are not open about their sexuality are doing a disservice to the fans. What they’re saying is: they’re ashamed of being gay. Your sexuality shouldn’t need to be a big deal, but hiding it makes it into a huge deal.
Your first full show, Through the Decades, is coming up at The Royal Vauxhall Tavern, and in it you’ll be performing some of your favourite numbers from the past six decades. Where did your varied taste for music come from?
Oh boy, my taste in music has always been so varied because of what I listened to when I was growing up: everything from Elvis to Boy George, Petula Clark to Christina Aguilera. There’s never been one artist I’ve aspired to be or sound like, and that has helped me to be more creative with my own vocals and style of performing. From each era there are so many great artists and that’s why I’ve picked a few songs each decade to perform at the RVT show. Of course I’ll be changing some of them around too, adding my own twist. I’m so excited that I have an opportunity to perform at the RVT, it’s an iconic LGBT venue and we need to make sure it remains as such, especially in light of the recent threat of closure. Long may she reign!
Vangelis is at The Royal Vauxhall Tavern on Friday 22nd July. Grab your tickets here.
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Interview: Jason Reid