Young Voices CEO Ben Lewis Speaks To Me About The Best Choir In The World


Good Morning Lovelies,

When I was younger, I took part in the incredible Young Voices choir shows. After catching the singing bug at primary school, I carried on in our secondary school choir. During this time, I was given the opportunity twice to take part in the events, held at The O2 in London.

Growing up, we didn’t have much money to go to events at places like this, so it was beyond special to me. The first time I ever saw the venue was when I would be singing in it. My heart still lights up when I think about it.

Wearing my Young Voices t-shirt, as we blasted out our favourite songs, which we had spent weeks learning is now a core memory. In fact, I still have that t-shirt in my drawer. Along with the DVD and programme I also brought.

Returning for a new season, with loads more venues and dates added, the choir has grown over the last few years. Allowing even more schools and children to build memories like mine.

Therefore, I wanted to speak to the man behind the largest singing event in the world, to find out what it was that inspired him to make Young Voices. CEO Ben Lewis was kind enough to talk to me and his answers are fantastic. See what he said below…

1. Firstly, congratulations on another amazing year for Young Voices! How does it feel to be back out on the road getting young people singing?

It feels incredible! Young Voices is 27 years old in 2023 and we’ve only missed one year due to COVID, which makes all of us even more grateful to be able to do what we love and see the joy on the children’s faces.

2. I took part in Young Voices twice, but am only now really learning about the history of the event. What memory remains your favourite, since the choir began?

I couldn’t give you a favourite memory, there have been so many, but the ones that really stand out are all regarding the impact of Young Voices on those who take part. We get lots of letters from parents, teachers and the children themselves and the thing that strikes me is just how many different ways YV impacts people. 

3. What is it about singing that makes people so happy? And do you have a favourite song to sing?

There’s a huge amount of research around this. From the scientific side there’s lots of evidence in terms of increased hormones that are released when you sing such as endorphins, dopamine and serotonin. For me though, it’s the communal element that matters so much and why choirs are so popular. Think about the different places where you see a lot of people singing together, it might be a sporting occasion, where everyone sings the national anthem or a festival where everyone is singing along with the headliner. Ultimately it’s that feeling of togetherness and being part of something bigger than yourself. With Young Voices every child knows they are part of the world’s largest children’s choir, they are with their friends so they feel safe and they are performing at a huge arena. All of this culminates in those feelings of pride, confidence and a sense of achievement, there’s nothing that compares to that.

4. You won the amazing Key to The O2 award. How does it feel to be honoured with such an achievement?

Yes it was very special since the key was awarded to those who surpassed Prince’s 21 nights at The O2, so it’s a pretty select club to be in, alongside Michael Buble, One Direction, Drake and Take That. But honestly, unlike those artists, the reason I got awarded the key was because of our schools and teachers that sign up every year, which is why I dedicated it to them.

5. How can those taking part in Young Voices this year prepare for the big day?

By this time of year the work is done and the rehearsals are finished, so it’s really about getting yourself concert ready. By that I mean simply focusing on enjoying the moment as it’s not everyday you will get to perform in a sold out arena and the day can fly by.

6. Young Voices also runs amazing workshops for teachers to take part in. What happens during these sessions? And why are they so valuable to the educational system?

Our teacher workshops are fundamental to the preparation for Young Voices. The teacher is the one who is engaging with their pupils week in week out so it’s vital we have given them all of the support that we can. Our creative team go through the entire music pack giving helpful tips and most importantly giving them confidence going back into school.

7. From Lee Ryan of Blue to Tom Jones, there have been some amazing stars who have helped the Young Voices choirs along the way. Who has been your favourite? What made them so special to you?

Although she’s not the most famous artist we’ve had on tour, I loved having Ruti with us. She won The Voice in 2018 but more importantly she was in our choir when she was 8 years old. Seeing her perform each night and hearing her talk about how YV was the first place she realised how important singing was to her…… that for me is everything.

8. Young Voices performs all over the UK. Which venue holds a special place in your heart? Why this one?

The best way to answer this is that every city has its own personality so each one has its own special vibe. The UK is so lucky to have so many cities with the kind of musical history that makes them unique.

9. As I mentioned before, I took part in the show and loved it. Have you had any Young Voices alumni come back as adults? Maybe teachers? And what experiences or memories have they shared with you that you hold dear?

Yes, without doubt the music teachers that have told me that they did YV as a child and how much it played a part in their journey to becoming a music teacher. Our teachers are the lifeblood of YV without whom it simply couldn’t exist.

10. Finally, what do you hope to see happen with Young Voices in the future? Have you got any secret plans you can tell us about?

Quite simple really, more concerts in more cities. It’s all about trying to get Young Voices to as many children as possible. We do shows across the pond on the East Coast of the US and I’d love to see more through Europe and further afield. The concept of Young Voices is a global one, so the more languages and cultures that we can embrace the better.

Young Voices is heading to The O2 again very soon, after some amazing nights in venues around the UK so far. Look out for more news soon!

Joey X

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