Sat | Nov 27, 2021

Hutton men share their dream - Using ‘The Voice UK’ to touch hearts around the world

Published:Sunday | March 29, 2020 | 12:00 AMStephanie Lyew - Sunday Gleaner Writer
TOP PHOTO: Gevanni Hutton, 17-year-old contestant on ‘The Voice UK’.
Ian Hutton (right) stands with sons, (from left) Giovanni, the eldest, Jevon, the youngest and Gevanni, The Voice UK semi-finalist at a wax museum. Behind them is a wax figure of James Bond actor Daniel Craig.

Ian Hutton is moved to tears every time he sees Gevanni, his 17-year-old son, sing a tune, and now that the he has made it on to one of the biggest televised talent platforms in Britain, The Voice UK, the emotions are heightened.

“It is because I am able to watch my son do what he loves to do. That feeling is good enough for me,” Hutton said.

The father and son have ridden on several emotional rollercoasters. Hutton said that the first would be leaving Jamaica on February 9, 2002, before Gevanni was actually born, then finding out at only two years old that he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and maintaining that bond like none other.

“When I got to finally see him, it was one of those surreal, emotional moments. It has always been a struggle, but he does not give up. Gevanni is one that always tries really hard in every challenge life hands to him,” he told The Sunday Gleaner.

Hutton also shared that even though he is a singer himself, he did not necessarily steer his son towards music.

“I was a wedding singer – a side job – hired for private functions mostly, and his mother is a pretty good singer, too. I realised my son has a lovely voice and started to think how I could channel his talent, but it was never forced upon him,” he said.

It has only been two years since Gevanni migrated to the United Kingdom to live with his father, but as soon as he arrived, he embarked on the journey to hone a talent he always knew existed. He entered UK TeenStar 2018 and made it to the finals.

“Once he made it to those finals, I recognised more had to be done. We are going to put Cypress Hall, Red Hills, on the map. We’re little, but we’re tallawah, and throughout all this, I am not overprotective. I want him to live and enjoy life. He’s at an age where he is in control,” he said.

Gevanni, a very outspoken 17-year-old, said that he understands how to take care of himself.

“When I was younger, I would have probably had that thought, ‘Oh, it’s going to be a struggle’, but I learnt how to handle things such as the emotions, knowing that I needed to take care of myself physically and mentally. I even give myself insulin,” he told The Sunday Gleaner.

The move was not a hard one for the self-assured teenager, who says that the only thing he is not used to is the weather.

“Sure, I miss my family in Jamaica. I miss my mom a lot and things like the educational system – the schools, they were more developed and different, but I adapted well. It’s just cold. I am not used to that,” said the former Calabar High School student who, ironically, now attends the Kingston College (which is the name of the rival school here), located in the south-west boroughs of London.

On his musical journey, which actually started in church and school, performing in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission talent showcase, The Voice UK semi-finalist said, “It has always been the main vision even though growing up I used to aspire to be a medical doctor. I was hospitalised a lot because the diabetes wasn’t being managed properly, and the doctors helped with getting it under control. I still study science, but I see where investing in my talent can be good business for me.”

After a nail-biting blind audition, he and his father (who ran on to the platform crying) realised the dream of not only becoming a singer, but that winning was possible. Gevanni performed Everybody’s Free from the 1996 film William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, with full support from the audience, waving and giving a standing ovation. He finally got the one and only ‘yes’ out of four from Black Eyed Peas founder and judge Will.I.Am.

“I used to watch The Voice UK when I was back home, and to be participating in something I dreamt of doing is mind-blowing. It is a big opportunity ,and I know it will change our lives forever, (so) I am not going to let it go,” he said. “The greatest lesson learnt from participating in the competition is to dream big – I wanted to be on Will.I.Am’s team, and I am. Everyone has the same goal - to do their best - and it has been a fun, educational experience. As my coach, he gives me a chance to choose.”

In the knockout round, he sang People Help The People by Cherry Ghost, and in Week Three of The Battles, which he won against Shauna Bryne, a 16-year-old from Dublin, they performed Imagine by John Lennon together.

The semi-finals and finals have been officially postponed until further notice, but the Hutton men are not focused on the fact that the global pandemic has placed the competition on pause. Instead, they have said that their concerns are for the world.

“The worry is for the people and the families losing relatives,” they said in unison.

“He still gets coached every other week. The producers are on top of things, very professional, and we are all keeping abreast with what’s happening globally,” said the father.

“In a time like this, in light of all the uncertainties and pandemic, people just need love. Like the song People Help The People, the lyrics struck accordingly. Not many are fortunate, and I grew up seeing that all people need is someone to reach out,” said Gevanni.