Norwich singer tipped as wildcard for The Voice after Disney performance

Chris James appeared on ITV's The Voice (Image: ITV)

Chris James appeared on ITV's The Voice (Image: ITV) - Credit: Archant

He is usually found belting out hard rock in Norfolk pubs with his band Powerhouse, or touring bars in Norwich as a solo singer.

Chris James performing at the Walnut Tree Shades in 2016. Picture: Alyssa Riggs - Ace of Hearts phot

Chris James performing at the Walnut Tree Shades in 2016. Picture: Alyssa Riggs - Ace of Hearts photography - Credit: Archant

Now Christopher Preece, aka Chris James, has been tipped as the wildcard for this season of The Voice after a brave Disney performance.

The 28-year-old audiobook narrator from Poringland stunned judges on Saturday night's show with his own rendition of Prince Ali from Aladdin.

From a musical family - his dad played guitar and his mum played piano and violin - Chris got involved in musical theatre as a child and learned guitar in secondary school.

'We always sang together as a family in the car and it has always been a part of my life,' he said. 'My dad was in a punk band that played one gig and got paid to never come back. He always did keep on playing the guitar but not in public.'

Chris applied for The Voice 'as a joke' when auditions came to Mr Postle's Apothecary in Norwich last year, and was soon invited to London.

'The number floating around is that 24,000 people auditioned for this season and they narrowed it down to 100 to be seen on TV,' he said. 'To even get to this stage was insane.'

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Chris surprised coaches and viewers alike with his choice of a Disney song, which he picked to 'show a little variety'.

'I have a really extensive musical catalogue with about 200 songs I perform regularly which span everything from country and rock to Disney,' he said. 'When I went backstage I tried to show that variety and they really responded well to it.

'I knew they were going to see hundreds and hundreds of singers who are going to do pop songs and rock songs. What we have never seen on The Voice is a Disney song.'

Worried he might have been dismissed as 'a novelty act', Chris said the response has been heartening.

'It has been a very positive outpouring of public opinion so far. I really appreciate that,' he said.

On his chances, Chris said: 'I am hopeful. There is very stiff competition but I always try my best on stage.'

As a solo act he performs the Norwich circuit at venues including Frank's, Platform 12, the Walnut Tree Shades and The Brickmakers. For the last three years he has also been performing with his band - Powerhouse.

'The Voice has been really good at letting me keep to my gig schedule,' he added. 'It is a show where you take it one week at a time.

'There is no way to predict how the public will react or whether I will get through. I will take each bridge as it comes.'

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