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Mo's still got more to give

TALENT: Mo Jamil won The Voice last year

THE REIGNING champion of popular ITV talent search programme The Voice Mo Jamil’s star is rising.

Mentored by Oscar-winning American Idol Jennifer Hudson last year, he soared to victory with more than 60 per cent of the final votes.

Born in London, Mo was moved to Warrington, Cheshire by his foster mother. Though banned from listening to chart music, his future life in music was ignited as a big part of journey was singing in church – like most great artists.

At the age of 17, Mo began to forge his own path and attended music college in Manchester.

From struggling with a turbulent childhood and close bereavements, Mo’s journey has been far from easy.

The 22-year-old’s debut single, That Feeling, dropped on March 2 – a dancefloor filler, written with Swedish singer-songwriter David Kjellstrand, boasts emotional depth. Mo says the song charts his own emotional development.

“For me, it was about the transition period from winning The Voice, and being rela- tively unknown, to sud- denly having to deal with everything that comes after the show,” he said.

“It was new for me and, at times, there were a lot of doubts.

“I was still learning to deal with being in the public (eye) and all the different changes to my life, in regards to friends and relationships around me.”

On that note, former The Voice judge Paloma Faith hit headlines earlier this year for criticising the show. She told the Radio Times that it doesn’t support its artists in the same way as The X Factor does and said: “There’s no system in place to support the artists. It’s just like, ‘Alright, we’ve finished filming, off you go’.”

Mo strongly disagreed: “I don’t know what happened in past years but I can say that since I’ve won everything’s been great for me. I think maybe she should check her facts, as I’ve had support from day one.”

He continued: “I’ve had a lot of support and a lot of people around me to try and prepare me for this moment.”

After conquering The Voice, he reconnected with his biological mother who resides in Gambia.

Since reuniting, he’s changed his surname from Adeniran to Jamil – and the talented crooner says this new-found joy has positively impacted upon his creativity and evoked greater confidence.

He said: “Because I spend so much time writing, it’s been really comforting, being able to speak to my mother about my feelings has made me my feelings has made me relaxed with opening up to people (about these kinds of things).

“I’ve got my mum’s support and, as a result, it has allowed me come out of m y
shell a lot more. I know that whatever happens and whatever is written, that support system is there.”

Having been predominantly raised in a Nigerian household, Mo is enjoying the process of gaining familiarity with his Gambian heritage from his mother – who was forced to put him up for adoption when he was three years-old.

“I’ve learned more about my family – I have a very large one,” he explained.

“My mum is teaching me more about the culture. I find it interesting, talking to her about it, because due to the way things were, it caused a lot of problems for me and her.

“She was not able to keep me because of the cultural and religious differences. For me, my main objective is to connect more with my family over the coming years.”

Moving forward, Mo Jamil is determined to turn to loved ones for support and grounding, as he pursues his dream in a cut-throat industry.

Mo, an avid basketball fan, said he likes to unwind and gets by with a little help from his friends adding: “As soon as I get home, I usually get my friends together and we just try and hang out. We do the things we always did growing up – watching films, going to the cinema, playing FIFA, or going bowling.

“I feel that regardless of where my career takes me, I’m always going to have time for them. I think that’s the best way to stay grounded and humble. The ones who love you the most are the ones who are going to keep you on the right path.”

Mo’s debut album, Evolve, has come after a year of working with some of the best producers and musicians and is a collection of heart-wrenching songs from the depths of an artist truly inspired by his own life experiences.

He said: “I’m always evolving. I went from being a bartender, to being on The Voice, winning it and suddenly being told I have my dream job and the opportunity to tell my story.

“Over the time that I started writing up until the point where I finished the album, there were so many different things that happened and so many changes in my life.

“For me, with all these chang- es and with so much uncer- tainty, the thing that I can always count on is that I was always developing as an artist and human being.”

“(I hope that it teaches listeners that) There’s always more to a person than meets the eye.”

Mo’s debut album, Evolve, is out next Thursday (March 29).

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