The Voice: Interview with J Marie Cooper – battle rounds ‘could have been fairer’ but the opportunities have been great!

by Gerard McGarry

J Marie Cooper was controversially eliminated from The Voice last week and now Unreality TV have caught up with the talented vocalist to find out how it felt to be sent home by, how she enjoyed her time on the show and what’s next for her in her promising music career.

During our chat we were impressed by J Marie’s warm personality and engaging humour and though she admitted herself she was certainly ’emotional’ and slightly upset by the edit of her performance on Sunday’s night’s episode, she is adamant that the disappointment won’t hold her back from pursuing her dreams.

Unreality TV chats to J Marie:

You tweeted earlier on today about your frustration with the editing of The Voice this weekend and the fact that they constantly mentioned your age in comparison to Sophie Griffin

How can I put this? I’ve been quite emotional, obviously. I’m a human being and there are certain things that I wish were kept in and certain things that I wish were kept out. Well, not out, but portrayed in a more truthful light. But at the same time, they’ve got to make a TV show. I’ve calmed down from it all a bit now to be honest.

I just feel it could’ve been a bit fairer. But it’s all good.

One thing we noticed was that they kept referring to your time on Strictly Come Dancing. But that was only one appearance, wasn’t it?

I stood in for someone that was ill. Once.

The narrative on Sunday night seemed to be more about you being a seasoned pro while Sophie was a complete newbie.

Obviously I’ve had more experience because I’m older, and I’ve been doing this for a while. But a lot of the gigs I’ve been doing have been for no money, with my own band and out of my own pocket. So, of course it felt a little bit sad to lose out, because I’ve been going at it for so long. I’ve worked hard and sacrificed having higher paid gigs. I could have done backing vocals or other jobs, but because I’ve been investing into my music a lot of the time I haven’t been able to take those kind of things on. So I felt that wasn’t put across as well as it could have been.

I’ve also seen another side of the industry, and if I’m honest in the past 12 hours since the show aired, it makes me wonder if I want to be well known, because it comes at such a price.

What’s been going on – is it mainly the press reaction or something else?

Even just the way people tweet stuff. Some people think just because I have an opinion that it was based on my age, they’re kind of like “You’re a sore loser”, and actually that’s not the case. I think Sophie’s got a wonderful voice, I think she’s very very talented. And I’m actually okay with not going through. I just wish that the commentary had been more focused on the voice rather than anything to do with age. For the sake of the show being called The Voice, they could have focused more on the voice.

If Will didn’t like my voice, then I’m actually okay with that, because he might just have preferred Sophie’s voice. Everyone’s got a preference. I’m not egotistical enough to think that everyone’s going to like my voice.

Firework’s not the easiest song to sing.

It was a tough song. But I kind of feel as well that wouldn’t be the kind of song I would pick.

I’ve got loads of tracks ready to go now, which I’m really excited about. And hopefully the profile of the show can only help that. I do want to make it clear as well that I’m 100% grateful for the opportunity, because at the end of the day, there is some stuff I’ve had to deal with as a result of it, but they have to make a TV show at the end of the day. At the same time, I’ve got a platform now that I wouldn’t have had. I didn’t have that before – nobody knew who I was.

I am grateful for that. I’m just upset about the age thing, because that’s kind of irrelevant really.

Did Will give you any feedback afterward as to why he chose Sophie over you?

I’ve had contact with Will’s vocal advisor, Dante Santiago, and all he really said was “There’s a bigger picture, and it’s a TV show and we all still really believe in you.” I haven’t really had a direct reason, but at the same time, everybody’s different, and as much as I am frustrated, I do understand that people are coming from different things and people have other stuff going on. Maybe if I was in Will’s position and I was facing somebody who reminded me of something from my past – you know he was 17, he had no money, that kind of thing.

For example, I lost my mum four years ago. If I’d been facing somebody who’d gone through something similar, maybe my heart would’ve connected to that person more. It’s difficult, because it’s an intense situation, and he did go on that rather than the voice.

You mentioned that you’ve received some negative comments on Twitter – have you found that there’s been support from that area as well?

Oh my gosh, yes! I’ve now got a fanbase out of it. Before the show aired, I had 780 followers on Twitter, now I’ve got almost 7,000, so that’s pretty cool. And I am grateful to the BBC for that, because I wouldn’t have had that. You can’t buy that kind of platform.

Have you had any high profile tweets?

Yeah, Holly Valance, because I met her on Strictly. She’s been very supportive.

How did you find to work with?

I still really like Will. I can’t not like him. I just don’t get what the decision was based on.

I think Will is very inspiring. He’s very deep. I think he’s extremely emotional, but in a good way. I like him, he’s kind of quirky, cool and he’s quite a real guy. And the great thing about Will is that he sees the music business as a qider thing than just a TV show. Which, actually, could be another reason why he didn’t put me through, because he sees the bigger picture.

My initial tweets were quite angry to be honest, because I’m a human being and I’ve got feelings, but I like him. He’s cool, he’s a nice guy.

And are there any opportunities starting to come up as a result of The Voice?

Yeah! It’s only the week after and I’ve already had people ringing me up, asking me if I have an agent and who am I signed to and can I pass your number on to this person, that person… So, that’s priceless really, isn’t it? And I’ve got a gig tomorrow night at Ronnie Scotts and I’m hoping that’ll be nice and busy now!

I’m focusing on that because it’s going to be all my own material that I’ve been working on over the past couple of years. My own band, my own material, so I’m really excited about that!

You’re a songwriter too – do you want to talk us through how you start writing a song?

With me, I always get random melodies in my head when I’m waiting on a train or something. And I usually put them in my mobile phone and piece them together when I get in. But there are no rules. Sometimes I’ll just meet up with a bunch of musicians that I know and one of them might play a riff on the guitar or they’ll come up with a melody line and we’ll work from there. I do actually write with people, some really good people actually. I do write very much straight from the heart and about my life.

Very autobiographical. Did you ever attempt to write about your mother’s death?

You know what, I haven’t gone too much into that, because that is very personal to me. I have done in that I wrote a song called Warrior Woman. I was quite down and depressed. I suffered from depression for quite a while, and I wrote that song about getting out of that, in a more positive way in that I’m not going to be here forever and I’m going to survive it, I’m going to get through it.

It was very sudden. It was literally out of the blue, so it was a big shock to me as well. My mum died in her sleep. I actually found my own mum, and that was a couple of years ago. It’s fine, I’ve had a chance to absorb it all now. Holly said that to me on the show “Did you imagine that it would turn out like this?” But I don’t imagine anything, because life’s thrown me some curveballs and I’ve kind of just had to deal with them and move forward.

Luckily, I have faith in God and I go to church and that’s a really cool thing.

I’m just excited about the future. My heart’s a bit sore right now for not getting through, but things are gonna move forward, because they have done in the past.

My head’s full of ideas, but I’m also just a bit exhausted from all the attention. Honestly, I know I went on a TV show, but all I’ve ever really wanted to do is sing, and that really is my focus. I don’t think you’re ever really ready for the stuff that comes with going on to a show like that. I think I underestimated how much media attention there would be. It’s been an interesting experience, and it’ll definitely help me grow as a person.

Anything else?

Even though I’m a little bit overwhelmed by it all and I’m a little bit disappointed right now, I’m just kind of trying to accept it so I can move forward.

We were surprised about you and we were surprised about Ben Kelly

I was surprised about Ben, if I’m honest with you. I think he’s really talented. He’s definitely got something unique, and from what it appears, he seems to be a really hard worker and I really respect that.

Gerard McGarry is a jet-setting, world-renowned Reality TV critic. In real life, Gerard works with web and social media strategy. His personal blog is at or follow him on Twitter @gerrybot