One question I love to ask people is ‘what is your guilty pleasure?’ and for me it has definitely been ITV’s The Voice. So when contestant Craig Ward agreed to talk to me about his experiences as a father I was really excited.
Even if The Voice isn’t your cup of tea then I’d definitely recommend giving Craig’s Soundcloud playlist a listen, I have it on repeat constantly .
Can you tell us a little about your experience on The Voice?
Being on the show was nothing like what I expected. It went really quickly from seeming very akin to other talent competitions at the open call auditions, to being something far more collaborative and creative. I was fortunate to get far enough in the competition to be able to experience most of what the show has to offer, and it was all incredibly worthwhile and enjoyable. One thing I have to point out, is that the team behind the scenes, that’s from the production ‘runners’ to the stylists and right through to the live band, are consistently, and demonstrably exceptional at what they do, but all the while, have this clear understanding that the acts feeling as comfortable and at home amid the experience as possible, is absolutely key to getting the best out of them. So we were all treated with great care, kindness, and real respect. Sure, you never escape the reality that you’re in a competition, it’s televised, and millions are watching, but you are always encouraged, and indeed given every opportunity to thoroughly relish the experiences it all has to offer. I mean, among a million things, I got backed by one of the best bands in the business, in front of a packed studio audience, and had the Tom Jones there cheering me on; how can that not rank among my life’s greatest achievements!?
One thing that really comes across is that you’re a big family man, how do you find juggling parenthood and your singing career?
Juggling is the right word here. Every parent out there knows that even keeping an office job going while raising a kid throws any conception of a work/life balance straight out the window. We all just quickly accept that we can only do our best, and try to tip the scales in the right direction where we can. To that end, as I’d said on the show, I’d fully parked my singing career for several years, and didn’t see any space in my life for it any more. For the record, that was never a bad thing either, I’d trade all my individual pursuits for my marriage and my son every time if I had to. The key thing for me entering The Voice was, that my wife, and our families believed in me in a big way, and all threw themselves wholeheartedly into keeping the home-fires burning while I was off ‘chasing the dream.’ It’s in that way that not winning may actually work out well, because we can look better at how we can immerse our family in music, without ever risking putting it in front of anything/anyone. I owe everyone at home a great deal to be honest, and I’m actually quite sorry I didn’t go all the way as a result, but that’s all the more reason to make proper use of the platform I’ve been afforded, right?
What has surprised you most about being a dad?
All parenting clichés are clichés because they’re all true. It’s all the feelings you can’t describe that hit you nearest. Best I can muster is when you find those new energy reserves that you never thought you had before – when you’ve averaged on about 2 hours sleep a night for a full month and realise that anything you thought was hard, or any time you thought you were tired, all seem ridiculously easy in comparison, then you look over at your kid (preferably napping at this point) and instinctively know that it’s all worth every last second. You never expect that.
What piece of advice would you give to Isaac?
I worried for so long in my younger life about how other people saw me, and what they thought of me, and it was wasted worry. I’d tell him to always focus on how you see yourself – if you don’t like what you see, then change. You’ll feel better.