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Winchester’s Hannah Williams moves forward on The Voice UK with coach Sir Tom Jones

The Winchester University graduate has advanced to the next stage of the ITV singing competition, ‘the battle rounds’ which will be aired in weeks to come.

Hannah Williams appeared on the first episode of ITV’s The Voice earlier this month. Impressing judges Olly Murs and Sir Tom Jones with her rendition of Shirley Brown’s ‘Stay With Me Baby’.

The vocal coach told WINOL:

“When Olly turned obviously it was a massive relief and just so lovely to have someone to sing to. Because not having a physical presence there, it’s so detached. So, when he turned, I just absolutely loved it and I think it gave extra vigour to the end of the performance.”

“Genuinely, it was a tough call and Olly made some really excellent points but it’s Tom Jones. The man’s a knight!”

The soul singer graduated from Winchester University in 2006 with a first in Music Theatre; before becoming Creative Director of extra-curricular music at the university. 38-year-old Hannah has since set up her vocal coaching business but continues to work with the university as a kind of consultant and host to workshops such as “Performing like a Boss” which took place online earlier this month.

The coach’s vocal students praise her ability to “bring out the best in a performer”. One Hannah’s students Ella Singer, who studies at the University of Winchester, told WINOL:

“I would bring a song to Hannah each week that I’ve always loved but never thought I was capable of singing. “

“She would firstly teach me the origins of the song, why am I singing it? Who is it for? How am I feeling? And then use that to channel soul into my voice and go for it completely without fear. I always came away from lessons feeling so proud of myself and in shock that I was actually capable of achieving that sound.”

The third-year musical theatre student said she “felt so proud watching Hannah’s audition” and will be “supporting her all the way!”

The vocal coach is also lead singer of the band ‘Hannah and the Affirmations’. Her fellow band members were “supportive” of her decision to sign up for The Voice after their tour was cut short by the first lockdown, back in March. The restrictions encouraged the vocalist to try new things including livestreaming gigs, every Saturday, from her son’s bedroom.

Doing so prepared the singer for the online auditions before her televised performance in front of a virtual studio audience and the judges’ big red chairs. Hannah described the process as “strangely intimate” telling WINOL:

“It was an unusual experience which before 2020 I would have not been used to at all and would have found buttock clenchingly awkward!”

Hannah has since been able to “work with the live band, meet other contestants and talk music with them within same room- even if it is three metres difference”.

Although, “pumped” for the battle rounds the Winchester star said that it’s her “least favourite part so far”, telling WINOL:

“I am competitive, but I don’t like being so at the detriment of someone else”.

However, the Winchester local continued to say that:

 “it has been the most wonderful experience and a great opportunity for myself and my band”.

“To have a prime-time slot on ITV, even if it is just 90 seconds, is exponential for our statistics”.

The Voice UK continues Saturdays at 8:30pm on ITV.

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