The pop star got her start when she auditioned for The X Factor more than a decade ago, eventually being placed in the girl group Fifth Harmony and kick-starting her music career at age 15. So when the opportunity arrived to coach aspiring singers in the same position she was in 10 years ago — alongside returning coaches John Legend, Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton — she jumped at the chance.
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Earlier this week, Cabello called Billboard from South America, following her set for tens of thousands of fans at Rock in Rio on Saturday, to talk about her full-circle new job, being in an “inspired season” of her life and career, and bringing some of Beyoncé’s “ENERGY” to Brazil.
You’re about to make your debut as the newest coach on The Voice. How did the opportunity come up, and why was it a yes for you?
The Voice reached out, and it’s so fulfilling and full-circle for me to be coaching people because I started on a singing competition show. And I just love that it’s a very equal-opportunity show, you know? You don’t have to have money, you don’t have to have any connections in the music industry. If you have a lot of talent, things are possible for you. And I think that’s really cool.
You’ve already been through your first batch of blind auditions. What were you listening for to make you turn your chair?
There’s a few different ways that I feel like somebody can stand out. Somebody that has a really special unique tone of voice. Sometimes it’s somebody taking a song and doing something unexpected with it. Sometimes it’s just, you know, a really amazing voice. There’s different ways that I feel like somebody can stand out.
You’re obviously no stranger to reality singing competitions, since you got your start on The X Factor. And previous The Voice coaches have included Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson, who came from American Idol. Do you think that gives you a different perspective from the rest of the coaches, knowing what being a contestant is like?
Yeah, I definitely do, especially because I kind of know what it’s like to be in that setting, which is different than, I think, just a normal — not normal, because none of it is normal — but different than, for example, what my career has been like for the past eight, nine years. The behind-the-scenes of these shows are kind of like a boot camp. They’re very extreme. It’s like an extreme version of everything, like everything is really fast-paced, you have to be on TV a few days a week and feels so high-stakes, because you can be sent home or the experience can be cut short at any moment. So I think I know specifically what it’s like to deal with the stress of that situation, especially at a really young age, and especially with no…