The Voice winner Jermain Jackman on wanting to be the first black Prime Minister (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Former Sir George Monoux College, Walthamstow student Jermain Jackman, Hackney, wins The Voice for team Will.I.Am. and is now aiming for Downing Street
The record deal has been secured. Legions of fans have declared their undying love. Recognition from peers has been earned.
For most winners of television talent shows, these are some of the numerous incentives to battle through weeks of gruelling competition against other, talented hopefuls.
But that’s not the case for Jermain Jackman, 19, who was crowned winner of The Voice on Saturday night.
"I wanted to do The Voice, to win the show, for a much bigger cause," the former Sir George Monoux College, Walthamstow, student explains.
"And what is that cause? To use my success and give back to my community, not just to sell millions of records and to tour the world with loads of money in my bank account, but to inspire young people to feel that there’s much more to life.
"There’s a lot of negativity surrounding inner city children, we’re seen as troublemakers, but we need to break down those barriers, to break down those limitations that stop people from achieving their full potential. People need to be encouraged to achieve.
"So I hope people will find my story, my hard work, inspirational."
Jermain, who lives in Hackney, wowed pop sensation Will.I.Am in the initial blind audition several weeks ago and was selected for his team.
It wasn’t the first time they’d met. In fact, Will met Jermain backstage at a concert and the Black Eyed Peas star encouraged him to audition for the show.
Fast forward and Jermain is now riding high having pipped his singing rivals to the winning post.
He’s captured the heart of the viewing nation, is being mentioned on Twitter by the likes of Cheryl Cole and Ed Miliband, secured a record deal and £100,000 prize, and is now working hard towards achieving that elusive number one single. Not bad, he admits, for a teenager who grew up in a "tone deaf" family. (Although his mum’s cousin is Eddy Grant).
"I’m actually the first black male to win a television talent show," he says. "The fact I’ve won, I think, says, we’re getting somewhere in 2014. I think this could be very interesting.
"There are a lot of limitations and barriers that need to be broken down in order for there to be an equal and fair society for all.
"I’ve experienced those barriers myself, there have been many times when I’ve had my hood up when it’s raining and people will cross the road to avoid me.
"I want to break down those barriers, get rid of those stereotypes, change those perceptions.
"I hope I did change that by showing a young man from Hackney can achieve great things, you can win The Voice."
Just as with music, Jermain is passionate about politics. A former member of Hackney Youth Parliament, he has progressed to his current role as Labour Party Youth Co-ordinator for Hackney. His plan, he reveals, is to juggle music, politics and philanthropy, just like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Wyclef Jean and his mentor Will.I.Am. Ultimately, his goal, he says, is to become the first singing black Prime Minister.
Acknowledging he still has a long road ahead of him to achieve his dreams, he is adamant fame will not change him.
"It’s been crazy since I’ve won, but I like to think I am a respectable young man," he laughs. " I’m prepared to work as hard as possible to make my dreams come true. JLS and One Direction were reality show winners and they’ve broken records. Maybe I can do the same for The Voice.
"Fame won’t change me. I’m going to be the same Jermain Jackman who goes to McDonalds for his Big Mac medium meal.
"I’ll take it all in my stride...but I’m going to use my success to change the world."
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