The second series of hit CBBC show, Got What It Takes, aired earlier this year and fifteen-year-old Jorja Douglas ended up winning, gaining her a main-stage set at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend. She was introduced to the stage by Radio 1 DJ, Nick Grimshaw and was on the line-up with a huge list of chart-toppers. Since the show, she has been uploading covers on YouTube and building up a strong social media following. Less than a month after her performance at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend, we speak to Jorja about the festival, her experience of winning Got What It Takes and what her plans are for being successful in the music industry.
You recently won Series 2 of Got What It Takes on CBBC, how did you find the experience being part of the series and how do you think being on the show has helped your career as an artist?
I think the Got What It Takes experience was very eye-opening to the career path I want to take, but I came out on top and that made me realise this was definitely what I want to do. Being on Got What It Takes has helped me get my name out there and break into the industry. I have also made some great connections.
How did you feel finding out your audition had been successful and you were going to be a contestant?
I was so grateful and surprised when I found out I was a contestant because this was my first time applying for anything like this.
What was it like performing in the Final and how different was it performing in front of an audience opposed to in the sing-offs?
Performing in the Final of Got What It Takes was really nerve-racking just because I knew what a massive opportunity the prize was. Singing in the sing-offs was better because I used them as a way to improve my performance and get feedback from the mums.
Having performed in a lot of sing-offs, did this make your time on the show more exciting or challenging?
There were a few downsides of being in so many sing-offs because it worried me that what I thought was my best wasn’t good enough, but I tried to use it as a learning curve and find out what I needed to do in order to improve.
Did you have a favourite aspect of filming Got What It Takes and how was it fitting in with the other contestants and meeting the presenter, Lauren Platt?
My favourite part of filming was all the industry challenges because it really pushed me out of my comfort zone and has 100% improved the way I perform now. I found it easy fitting in with the other contestants simply because we all have a love for music and, as I basically lived with them for three weeks, we all formed a strong bond. It was really useful that Lauren had competed in The X Factor because, although Got What It Takes is on a smaller scale, she knew what we were going through and shared her knowledge with us.
How did your friends and family react to you being on TV every week and were you allowed to tell anyone that you’d won?
I got a lot of laughs from my friends, especially after the dance challenge just because they’re used to seeing me in a different light but, overall, everyone was very supportive and never missed an episode.
Although I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone that I’d won, I couldn’t help but tell a couple of my closest friends so they could share my excitement!
What advice would you give young performers auditioning for Series 3?
My advice to people auditioning would be to go for it and to be yourself because you want to come across genuine and likeable.
Your prize for winning Got What It Takes was a place on the line-up of BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend, what was it like performing at the festival?
BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend was absolutely incredible. It was so cool meeting a lot of the performers I was singing alongside, and the atmosphere was great. It was my first time attending a festival and I still can’t believe I opened it!
Do you remember how you felt before going on stage at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend?
Surprisingly, before going on stage I was really chilled, which is a massive contrast to what I would’ve felt like a year ago. I just remembered that I was up there for a reason and I had nothing to fear.
Who was your favourite act on the line-up and can you tell us about meeting some of the other performers?
My favourite on the line-up was definitely Stormzy. He brought so much energy and got the whole audience hyped, even my mum! I got to meet many of the other performers like James Arthur and You Me at Six, but my favourite was meeting Imagine Dragons because they gave me some advice and seemed very humble.
We understand MNEK tweeted about your performance, what was this like?
MNEK tweeting about my performance was literally one of the best feelings ever because I love him as an artist and he was so kind to take the time to read my message AND respond!
Having been asked for fan photos and with your social medias suddenly gaining popularity, how is this?
I wouldn’t call it sudden popularity but it was really cool having people say positive things to me like how I’m their role model and I have given them confidence. It’s crazy knowing that people want to take pictures with me because I’m still like a normal person!
If you could duet or tour with another music artist, who would you choose?
I would love to duet with Shawn Mendes because he has a really smooth voice that I think would sound nice with mine. Hands down I would choose to tour with Justin Bieber because I would get to sing with him, spend time with him and hear him sing.
Do you feel like there’s more pressure now you’ve won Got What It Takes and performed at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend and what are your plans for the rest of 2017?
I feel pressure to keep myself out there and posting things on my YouTube and Instagram but it’s something I enjoy doing. For the rest of 2017, I plan on spending time in the studio and going gigging at any opportunity.
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