‘I’ve met my fair share of divas’: Celebrity vocal coach Yvie Burnett on temper tantrums and music moguls

By Lucy Kenderdine

When you’re working with some of the most glamorous and pampered stars in the entire music industry, you can imagine that there will be just a bit of drama.

As a celebrity vocal coach, Yvie Burnett has helped train some of the biggest stars around the world including Katy Perry, Paloma Faith and JLS to name-drop a few.

She’s also whipped the voices of talent show stars into shape, including Leona Lewis, Alexandra Burke and Susan Boyle, travelling the world and creating mega-stars in the process.

However, Yvie told MM that the jet-set lifestyle and show-biz events come at a price – having to deal with temper tantrums from divas in the industry.

Yvie said: “I’ve met my fair share of divas in my time, so many that I should probably write a book about it!

“Some people can have terrible temper tantrums, particularly if they are nervous before a show. It just comes out suddenly and you’ve got to deal with it.”

However the Aberdeen-born singer is no pushover, simply refusing to tolerate the outbursts, especially if they are from contestants of televised talent searches including Britain’s got Talent and X Factor.

She added: “I just think, ‘I’m working hard here and you don’t know where you’re going to be next year, possibly back in Sainsbury’s on the tills’.”

The 44-year-old coach remained mute about which of her celebrity clientele has deserved the term ‘diva’ in the past.

“I can’t name any names obviously. I’d never work again if I did! But diva is certainly an apt term for some people in the industry now.”

Last night it was her turn in the spotlight for a Christmas themed sing-a-long at McArthurGlen’s Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet with Yvie taking centre stage.

The event, aiming to be the UK’s largest Christmas-singing celebration, also boasted the lighting of Britain’s tallest artificial Christmas tree and a spectacular fireworks display.

The 90ft tree contained over 100,000 twinkling fairy-lights whilst groups such as the Manchester Airport Choir, previously featured on BBC’s The Choir, helped to get the carolling started.

Children from Claire House Children’s Hospice were also on hand to launch the festive season by pushing the button, as the occasion, part of a series of planned charity events, aimed to raise funds for the local hospice.

Yvie said: “The organisers wanted to make it all about the singing and the crowd participation was amazing. It just made everyone feel really Christmassy.

“I haven’t been feeling in the spirit yet this year but the celebration changed all that. I’ve even asked my husband if we can get started on the decorations early.”

While Yvie begins to celebrate the festive period, she’s also busy working on the second season of The Voice, and hopefully avoiding the diva meltdowns that cause so much controversy.

The show fuelled speculation about the behaviour of contestants and judges alike with Jessie J being forced to deny ‘diva’ rumours after asking for a lava lamp in her dressing room.

After having previously spent several years on the X Factor, there could have been tension during Yvie’s move to the rival BBC show last year but Simon Cowell’s ratings juggernaut still holds a special place in her heart.

Yvie said: “I have such love for the X Factor as I was with the show for such a long time but I just think that the public were ready for a change and that is what The Voice has brought.

“The auditions are blind and the judges are so individual with different musical backgrounds. There’s room for both in the TV schedules”

However she remained tight-lipped about what the second series of the hit BBC show could bring next year, only giving out a few teasers.

“Some extra special people have come through the auditions and now it’s starting to get really exciting. The contestants have certainly upped their game this time”

Simon Cowell is not the only music mogul Yvie has worked with as she has just completed another search for unsung stars of the stage with Andrew Lloyd Webber in Canada.

She said: “Andrew is great, so down to earth and friendly. We go through everything together and he tells me exactly what he wants to see in the show.”

So what advice did she have for any budding young singers in Manchester who want to achieve the lofty heights of her stars?

“The charity event last night proved that singing is so much fun for everyone, regardless of natural talent or coaching. But anyone can train their vocal muscles, in much the same way an athlete trains.

“Ask for contributions towards singing lessons for Christmas and seriously have a go at using your vocal muscles. Take the first step or perhaps join a choir. You’re never going to get noticed just sitting at home.”

Yvie was speaking at McArthurGlen’s Cheshire Oaks. For more information on the designer outlet, visit here.

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