Judah Kelly the winner of ‘The Voice’ talks with Ross Greenwood about his journey from a backup singer to winning $100,00 dollar and a Universal Music contract.
Introduction: Judah Kelly
Ross Greenwood: Welcome back to Work, Life, Money, just have a little listen to this. [music] Let’s hear it, they were the spectacular sounds of an incredible young man called Judah Kelly. I’m going to tell you, a week ago was that Judah Kelly won this year’s series of “The Voice“. Now, the young Queenslander coached by Delta Goodrem was named the winner of the series. Not only did he pick up a recording contract with Universal Music, $100,000 in prize money. This is how it changes your whole life. Now Judah’s fair to say a pretty shy sort of a bloke, he was in X-Factor in 2012 and 2014, and now he’s done a lot of backup singing, all this other stuff, but now he’s come absolutely to the forefront, at such a young age as well. And he’s with me in the studio, Judah Kelly, congratulations. This has been an incredible ride isn’t?
Interview: Judah Kelly, winner of the ‘The Voice’ 2017
Judah Kelly: Thank you. Yes, it’s been crazy.
Ross Greenwood: All right. Tell me about the career, that’s what I really want to know about on this program. I mean this is something that’s been coming for awhile, but you’ve kept putting yourself out there, but as people say, you are a relatively shy sort of a bloke, you’ve had to find things in yourself you didn’t know existed.
Judah Kelly: Yes, that’s right. I kind of go to a point where playing in the background wasn’t what I wanted to do anymore. And I just got so comfortable being there, but it got to a point where I wanted to sing more than I wanted to stay comfortable. I auditioned for “The Voice” and now I can say I’ve won it.
Ross Greenwood: Okay, you can. You can say it for the rest of your life, you can say it. So how old now? How old are you now?
Judah Kelly: I’m 20.
Ross Greenwood: That’s what I knew. 20 years old. It’s a hell of a time at 20 to be thinking about a career. You’re going to go for 40 years, you’re going to try and work that out as well, aren’t you? But even now, this last few of your time, how long have you been at this in a series professional manner?
Judah Kelly: That’s a good question. I graduated in 2013, so would mean 2012, that I started gigging professionally.
Ross Greenwood: It’s amazing isn’t it? Fifteen years old virtually when you started all this. You’re now 20. In some ways, you’ve seemed to have had a few miles under your belt. But when you start there, you put your head on the pillow at night, as you were going through the auditions, and then going through the finals, the knockout series, and so forth, and you start to dream about the future. Where did you think you could possibly be in the future?
Judah Kelly: That’s the great thing about it, is I didn’t know where I could go. There’s endless possibilities and we’re still trying to work that out as we go along. We’re aiming for the stars and hoping to get further.
Ross Greenwood: And that’s the idea isn’t it? Because it’s about still trying to work out your potential, where can go to, how you commercialize it? Do you actually have to think about those things or do the other people think about those for you?
Judah Kelly: A bit of both, really. It’s always good to have views from both sides, see where I want to take it, and also someone else has a better idea then why not use that idea?
Ross Greenwood: You said, occasionally you’ve had doubts at yourself, about where it goes, about your own talent, and so forth, just tell me about that.
Judah Kelly: Yes, I guess, I just got comfortable being in the background that I started to doubt that I had something special, and that I definitely doubted my own ability and talents. And it’s been really good. It was a long journey to overcome that, and it’s still something I’ve got to work on.
Ross Greenwood: But there must have always been somebody there saying to you, “Come on, you’re okay, you’re doing okay, listen to that voice.” All that type of stuff. I mean we heard at the register a short time ago, it’s there, everybody can see that it’s there. Perhaps in your own mind, you couldn’t quite hear it.
Judah Kelly: That’s right, that’s right. And it was always my parents. They always knew that I kind of always say that they have to say that because they are my parents, but they don’t have to at all. But I just can’t thank them enough for still believing in me, even when I didn’t a lot of the time.
Ross Greenwood: Tell me about them, their background and where they come from and where this gift that you’ve got, when did that ultimately come out?
Judah Kelly: Yes, well, mom and dad are just normal old people and they’ve always encouraged me.
Ross Greenwood: Hey, slow down with the old, slow down with the old, slow down with the old. Yes, right.
Judah Kelly: They’re just normal people. They’ve always just been encouraging of whatever I wanted to do, and I think just as the best bid is I’ve always had their support and they’ve helped me every way they could.
Ross Greenwood: And the other aspect of this is, Delta Goodrem helped you through basically, put this your own instrument even more. Put you with the right songs, put you with the right arrangements, helped you to set that all up, but of course, you’ve got that talent yourself. You play the instruments, you know how to do this yourself. There’s all sort of different avenues that you can go off to in the future, aren’t they?
Judah Kelly: That’s right, that’s right, and that’s the best part about of it. There’s no one way to do it. Everyone’s got different ways doing it. It might take three or four go’s but eventually, we’ll get there.
Ross Greenwood: It’s a nice thing. Tell me about the monies you’ve gone through, how’s that worked for you? Have there been lean times for that?
Judah Kelly: Of course, always, just about every week. I did just last year, I did 90 thousand k’s by myself just trying to find gigs to pay the rent and pay the bills and a lot of the time my bank account was in the negatives and that was a bit hairy trying to get to the next gig and having no money but we always manage to find a way.
Ross Greenwood: Jee it’s an incredible thing because in some ways, you have to be your own business manager. Without trying to look too far ahead into the future to make certain there are enough gigs to get you through.
Judah Kelly: That’s right.
Ross Greenwood: But you’ve survived. You got to this now.
Judah Kelly: Thankfully.
Ross Greenwood: That’s a good thing.
Judah Kelly: Oh my goodness. It is. It’s a great thing.
Ross Greenwood: So it takes the pressure off in some ways, but is there now a pressure on you again to perform, to actually start to find the next thing?
Judah Kelly: Well, this is just a great opportunity and I’ve got to capitalize on that opportunity and see where it goes from here.
Ross Greenwood: Well, I’ll tell you what, I’ll come and seek you out in five years time when you’re at the very, should I say, worldly age of 25. See just what happening, because I reckon it’s not a bad one to follow as well. The winner of The Voice this year. They call him, “King Judah” and for very good reason. Judah Kelly, congratulations again, and look we really will follow your career, and we’ll keep in touch and make certain we come back and find out how it’s going for you in the future.
Judah Kelly: Thank you.
Ross Greenwood: Great stuff. Could I say, let’s go now to Judah’s new song it’s called, “Count on me” that’s coming up now.