Derbyshire singer Rachel Modest defends her mentor Sir Tom Jones' choice for finalist on The Voice UK – Derbyshire Times

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A north Derbyshire singer has sprung to the defence of Sir Tom Jones after he failed to pick her as his finalist for TV talent show The Voice UK.
Rachel Modest, who lives in Bolsover, was mentored by the Sex Bomb hit-maker who sparked a backlash on social media when he choose Anthonia Edwards from his team of semi-finalists.
“Tom had a difficult decision…the person who was better on the night was chosen,” said Rachel. “I don’t feel bitter about it. I’m not downplaying my own performance which was the best I could have done.”
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Like the rest of the nation, Rachel is in the dark about who will win the pre-recorded final this weekend. She said: “I hope Anthonia wins it – she is a very talented singer and a lovely girl.”
What fans didn’t see in the edited broadcast of the semi-finals was Tom’s words of encouragement for Rachel and fellow Team Tom semi-finalist Jake of Diamonds. Rachel said: “The last thing he did say was ‘Jake and Rachel, you both have to carry on. The two of you are entirely saleable and entirely commercial enough and have what it takes to make it in the business’.
“Tom is a lovely man and so down to earth…. you wouldn’t believe he was a worldwide superstar if you talked to him. He taught me so much about how nerves are purely psychological, how nerves can have a physical effect on your voice, how they make you sing a certain way and how you have to learn the techniques behind being able to bypass them.”
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Nerves played a big part before mum of two Rachel competed in The Callbacks round. She said: “I woke up on the day of filming and had no voice and a really sore throat and thought that was it. I got to the venue where I was visibly upset and the vocal coaches told me ‘no, you don’t have a sore throat, you haven’t lost your voice, this is pure nerves; we’ll do some vocal exercises. Within 15 minutes my voice was back and I got through that round.
“The thing about The Voice is that I learned so much about singing, about communication and ensuring that the sentiments and words of the songs are communicated in such a way that you are believed.”
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She said one of the hardest parts was keeping quiet about how far she got in the contest for the best part of a year. “Anyone who knows me knows I am rubbish at keeping secrets!”
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Rachel was 45 and one of the oldest contestants on The Voice when it was filmed. However, she says that age is no barrier to following her dream. She said: “There are many musicians who are selling millions and millions of records worldwide who have not broken until later in life. As long as you know who your demographic is and who you’re writing and performing for, there is no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy success when you are older.”
The special educational needs teacher at Outwood Academy Kirkby said: “I’ve always wanted to make a career out of the things that I love to do. I love teaching, helping the children and the interaction between myself and them. However music has always been my first love since as long as I can remember. To be able to see if I could forge a career out of it is the thing I’ve taken away from The Voice. I’ve had the validation, I know I can sing. I’ve come away with possibility and hope that I can do something with it.
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“I’ve got three albums in the making. One is with The Bluefoot Project and I have two solo albums on the go. My music is very much rooted in soul music – I love listening to Stevie Wonder, he is a god. I was trained classically as a pianist as a child all the way up to early 20s and I’m hoping my love of classical will come through in my music.
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“I’ve been working on a live show called Show Me Love with Hamlet Luton and some of the best musicians in the country. We had our first gig at The Belgrave in Leeds in October and will be covering some house classic tracks in our show at the York Barbican on December 20.”
Rachel is musical director of Wakefield Community Gospel Choir. Originally from Sheffield, gained a degree in music at Bretton Hall College.
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She performed in the semi-final alongside Anthonia and Jake of Diamonds. Sir Tom, who admitted that he had a difficult choice to make, ended up sending Anthonia through to the final.
Host Emma Wills had to press him for an answer, saying: “It’s the final decision of The Voice 2022, how are you feeling?”, to which he replied: “I feel terrible because there is talent here. This is a hard decision for me to make. And I can only take one person through.”
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As the studio audience shouted at Sir Tom about who he should put through to the final, Emma continued: “It never gets any easier, but it is time for you to make a decision.” After hesitating for a moment, the Sex Bomb hitmaker said: “The person I am taking through to the final is, Anthonia.”
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Rachel had been Sir Tom’s favourite from the start of the show. He turned around on his red chair for her in the early rounds, and he chose her again in The Callbacks, taking her through to the semi-finals. After her last performance on Saturday, Sir Tom described her as a “tremendous singer”, saying: “I get emotional just listening to you.”
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