Liberty X's Kevin Simm 'put off' music business after solo career flop

The Voice contestant Kevin Simm who has said he was "put off" the music business after the failure of his solo pop career (Guy Levy/PA Wire)
The Voice contestant Kevin Simm who has said he was "put off" the music business after the failure of his solo pop career (Guy Levy/PA Wire)
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The Voice contestant Kevin Simm has said he was 'put off' the music business after the failure of his solo pop career.

On tonight's episode viewers will see the Chorley-born singer have a second stab at fame when he auditions before the all-star panel of coaches will.i.am, Boy George, Paloma Faith and Ricky Wilson.

Simm was a member of Liberty X, a pop group consisting of the runners-up from 2001 ITV talent show Popstars.

Alongside Michelle Heaton, Tony Lundon, Jessica Taylor and Kelli Young, he failed to make it into winning group Hear'Say, whose members included Myleene Klass and a pre-Coronation Street Kym Marsh.

Liberty X were signed by V2, the record label founded by Richard Branson, and topped the UK Singles Chart with Just A Little in 2002.

A year later, the song won a Brit award for best British single.

They went on to enjoy several more hits and even out-lasted Hear'Say, who had split in 2002.

"It was amazing," he said. "We just had the time of our lives for a couple of years, really. We had a couple of hits and then it started going a little bit downhill, chart positions weren't great so we got dropped."

Liberty X called it a day in 2007.

Simm focused on his own material and Brand New, his solo album, was released in Japan in 2008.

"At that point, I was like, this is going to be awesome, I'm going to be massive! Then I got shelved pretty much. What can you do? It puts you off music a little bit. It did knock my confidence a lot," he admitted.

"I was put off for a couple of years. Probably one of my biggest regrets."

The highs of life as a pop star followed by the crashing low of commercial flops meant a good deal was riding on the audition for the BBC singing series.

"Very nervous taking part in The Voice, I can't lie about that," Simm said. "I've had nightmares about not having any turns."

However, Simm's audition hit the headlines following an explosive on-air argument between coaches Faith and Boy George.

The Culture Club singer reportedly made Faith cry after she pretended to fall asleep during his pitch for the former Liberty X singer.

"There are a lot of big voices in the show. You sit and you think no one can be better than that, then suddenly someone sings. It's just constant surprise.

"One thing that I do know is that I understand singers. That's my forte," he told Simm as Faith pretended to be asleep.

An irritated Boy George snapped, "Excuse me, Palaver!"

He then admonished his fellow panellist. "That's extremely rude. Very rude. Anyway, you're amazing Kevin."

Harsh words were exchanged during the recording, which took place in 2015, but Boy George later tweeted a selfie with Faith accompanied by the message: "Ha. Love you @Palomafaith it's just 'banter-mime!"

A source said BBC bosses had to tone down the episode to make it more family friendly following the row.

::The Voice is broadcast at 7.45pm on BBC One.