Music interview – Sir Tom Jones: ‘I always look to the future’

Sir Tom Jones
Sir Tom Jones
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Music legend Sir Tom Jones is heading for York Racecourse next week. He spoke to us about his enduring career.

Your popularity never seems to wane and your fanbase continues to attract new, younger generations, why do you think that is?  

It’s unavoidable and true that all performers and artists go through ups and downs.  The only thing you can do is have confidence in yourself and your abilities and hope that the work you do is well received.  It’s impossible to predict that moment in time when somebody who sees you will be the person who will offer the next opportunity. And who knows where that opportunity will lead? 

You’ve played at York Racecourse before (2015 was the last time), what is it about the racecourse shows that you enjoy playing as we know you have done a few around the UK before?  

The racecourses put on a great night out for everyone. Who wouldn’t want to come to see the world’s best horses and jockeys run, have excellent food and drink, have great fun with their friends, and see top-notch entertainment?  

What can people expect from a Tom Jones concert that wont have seen you before?  

If someone hasn’t seen me live before, then they will get more than they ever imagined. This is the same for all live performances (if they’re good) — and it’s the reason why people spend their hard-earned money and precious time to go out and experience a live show — they will get to know the performer much better and they’ll be taken to a wonderful place.  

If there was one show that you’ve done throughout your career that you could relive, can you tell us which one and why?  

You can never relive the past in the same way, so although I appreciate and enjoy the memories, I always look to the future. 

With such a catalogue and recent critically acclaimed albums, how do you keep your set lists interesting for you but also ensure your audience goes home happy?  

By mixing it all up and keeping things fresh. Actually, most people are delighted by surprises. They feel invigorated when they’ve experienced something unexpected. There are a few things I keep the same as well, simply because they are so good as they are.  

It’s fair to say you’ve recorded a lot of different musical styles throughout your career, have there been any genres that you haven’t done and would like to explore or genres that you just don’t want to touch?  

Although I’ve been pretty flexible over the years, of course there are genres that I just wouldn’t touch because it wouldn’t sound genuine coming from me. However, there are always elements of things that are worth having a crack at, as you never know if a contribution from me would work as a unique flavour for a producer or artist.

We’ve heard that you used to own some horses in the 60’s, how hands on were you and did you get enjoyment out of it? Would you consider ownership again, even as part of a syndicate? 

I love horses but never had the time to be very hands-on, I left that to the experts. I never thought about an investment, but perhaps I will! 

It’s great that you’re back with The Voice, was it an easy decision to make when ITV got in touch?  

Once I got the measure of things from the producers, it was an easy decision. I’m having such a great time with my fellow coaches this year, and the whole ITV production team is excellent to work with.  

Does the fact its on ITV rather than the BBC make any difference to how the show is working and the chances open to the acts coming through the series?  

Well, that depends on so many things. The fact that ITV is a commercial venture does help the record company integrate into the process, but ultimately there are so many factors at work that contribute to the success of an artist. Being on The Voice is just one opportunity, and it’s a helluva test of talent and personality. If the contestant can get through to any point in the show, then take away what they’ve learned, they’ll be better off for it.

Sir Tom Jones sings at York Racecourse on July 27. www.yorkracecourse.co.uk