The Voice presenter Marvin Humes has insisted he wants to keep presenting the show when it moves to ITV next year – but admits he and co-host Emma Willis haven’t heard anything about whether they’ll keep their jobs.
The laidback host believes ITV are using The Voice’s live rounds, which start this week, as an audition for him and Willis.
And Humes insists he won’t mind if ITV bosses decide to go with a different presenting team.
“I love doing The Voice. But if I don’t get to do it anymore, I’d totally get that. Change is part of the game”
Speaking to Loaded on our exclusive video filmed at the studio where he makes his music with his dance collective LuvBug, Humes said: “I’d love to carry on doing The Voice, 100%. But genuinely, no-one knows what’s going on yet.
“ITV probably want to see how the live shows go as far as keeping me, Emma – and the coaches – go. Once they see how everyone does, they’ll have conversations with us.
“I understand that. It’d be great to carry on working with the show, as I love doing it. It feels like home to me. But if I don’t get to do it, I’d totally get that. You see change happen on other shows all the time. It’s part of the game.”
“The political correctness criticism around Jordan is bullshit”
Humes joked that he sees himself as the “headmaster” on the BBC1 show, keeping unruly coaches Boy George, Paloma Faith, Will.i.am and Ricky Wilson in order with Willis.
The singer, who releases new single Best Is Yet To Come with LuvBug next month, revealed: “The other day, I had to tell Will to sit in his seat. While I was trying to do a link, he was climbing on everyone’s chair and making funny faces at the camera.
“And trying to keep some semblance of order with George and Paloma is a challenge. They’ll keep everyone on their toes when we go live! The rows they had in the blind auditions had to be heavily edited. If The Voice went out in a later time slot, you’d have seen a lot more.
“Obviously we can’t edit the live shows, so that’s going to be pretty exciting.”
The usually mild-mannered Humes is livid about claims that transgender contestant Jordan Gray has been voted through to the live rounds because of political correctness.
“The criticism around Jordan is bullshit,” fumed Humes. “She’s a great singer, a great performer and her version of Kate Bush’s This Woman’s Work was one of the best moments of the show this year. The problem is, people are quick to have a pop at The Voice. Any excuse, people will take it. Come on! Jordan definitely deserves a place in the live rounds.”
As well as The Voice and promoting LuvBug’s storming new single with a string of DJ sets, Humes is a presenter on Capital FM and a dad with his Saturdays wife Rochelle to two-year-old daughter Alaia-Mai.
But, like his new single says, the former JLS singer still feels his best is yet to come. “I’ve got a few people who I trust, and they’ll tell me if something is shit,” he laughs. He names Nick Raphael and Jo Charrington, the pair who signed JLS to Sony and have since gone on to shape the careers of Sam Smith, 5 Seconds Of Summer and Voice coach Paloma Faith.
“JLS’ mentor threw our second album in the bin and said ‘This is terrible'”
Humes, who celebrated his 31st birthday clubbing last Friday, enthused: “Jo texted me to say ‘Your song is a smash.’ That was the equivalent of Jose Mourinho saying ‘This kid is going to be as good as Cristiano Ronaldo.’”
Raphael has also praised house group LuvBug, whose other core members are producers JKAY and The White N3rd. “When JLS first played our second album to Nick, he said ‘Alright, stop,’” recalls Humes. “Our first album had sold 1.5m copies and we thought we were really big. But Nick took the CD out of his player, and literally walked over to the other corner of his office and dropped our new album in the bin and said ‘This is terrible, boys.’” So Nick will give you the brutal truth!”
“Rochelle will tell me ‘Nah babe, I don’t like it’ about my songs”
And the other person Humes trusts to tell him if he’s on the right track? His missus. “I’ve definitely played songs to Rochelle which I’ve thought are great and she’s gone ‘Nah babe, that’s not happening. I don’t like it.’ She can be brutally honest. I’ll have a mad idea for a sample and Rochelle will say ‘No, that’s too classic’ or it’s too out there.
“But, because I hear hit songs every minute on my radio show, I think I’ve got pretty good ears too.”
Humes is helped further by his initially unpromising studio neighbourhood. The Music Groove complex where LuvBug record is on an industrial estate 20 minutes’ walk from the nearest tube station, King’s Cross.
“There are a hundred studios here,” says Humes. “The Prodigy are here, so are Chase & Status. Mark Ronson has got the biggest suite. You can’t go to lunch in the café without seeing someone like John Newman or Ella Eyre.”
As unlikely as the idea of Marvin Humes and The Prodigy sharing a warm beer seems, the studio has a monthly drinks party. “One of them ended up with six of us songwriters in this little room at midnight, all of us merry, finishing off the beers in my fridge.” He gestures at a beer fridge now empty bar three forlorn cans of Coke. “The song we came up with was… OK.”
Best Is Yet To Come was co-written with Scouting For Girls singer Roy Stride, who sings its infectious vocal, and is a deliberate attempt to make LuvBug more commercial. After establishing his house music credentials on previous Top 20 hits Revive and Resonance following JLS’ split, the new single is after the mainstream market of Kygo and Avicii.
“I’ve got drunk and told Craig David how much of a fan I am”
Following that, Humes is working with his hero, Craig David. “I massively have to play it cool when I’m in the studio with Craig,” he smiles. “Although I’ve probably got drunk with him before now and said how much of a fan I am. Craig, Usher, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye – they’re my all-time five go-to guys.”
Talk of Marvin Gaye leads Humes to enthuse about the soul great’s political album What’s Going On? Initially being released against Motown’s wishes. Does that mean Humes has a political record up his sleeve?
“Nah, political music isn’t for me,” he admits. “Marvin Gaye was around at the time of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King – I’m very, very lucky that those guys existed in the past so that someone like me can be in the position I’m in. There are singers with a great message to share, but LuvBug is about tracks that’ll make you feel good in a club.”
And he’s doing such a good job that he was recently in a West London club where a DJ played three of LuvBug’s remixes for the likes of David Zowie and Little Mix while Humes was dying of embarrassment.
“I’m so conscious of not dancing to my own music,” he cringes. “It’s a bit vain, isn’t it? When your own tune comes on? That’s time to go to the bar.”
And if Humes does get to keep his Voice job, he’ll be hitting the bar pretty hard.
LuvBug’s single Best Is Yet To Come is out on April 15 and can be pre-ordered now. Marvin Humes also plays at Soccer Aid on June 5.
Loaded’s deputy editor John Earls has covered entertainment and sport across a range of national newspapers, plus several football and music magazines, since 1990. Follow him on Twitter at @EarlsJohn