Why Barnsey Knocked Back ‘The Voice’ & As For ‘The Masked Singer’: "Ridiculous!"

6 October 2020 | 2:18 pm | Neil GriffithsDan Cribb

‘You'd have to pay me $10 million and I'd have to be able to say anything I fucking wanted because I’m not going to pull punches.'

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Aussie legend Jimmy Barnes has spent the better part of 40 years singing, and although he’s one of the country’s most well-known artists, he doesn’t consider himself to be a celebrity.

Appearing on the latest episode of The Green Room with Neil Griffiths to discuss his new book Killing Time, the Cold Chisel frontman said those pursuing a career in music purely for fame or the hype associated with reality singing shows like The Masked Singer and The Voice aren’t likely to have a fulfilling career.

“I’m a singer who’s not a celebrity, so I’m not going to do [The Masked Singer],” Barnes said.

“Jane and I flicked past it, we watched it one night to just see what it was and it was ridiculous. There are some good singers on there, but I mean look at what they’re fucking wearing, you know, I didn’t wear that in the ‘80s.

“Good luck to everybody who does it, but I don’t want to be on The Masked Singer or Dancing With The Stars.”

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Barnes revealed to Griffiths that he had been approached to be a judge on The Voice years ago, but he refused to take part.

“They asked me to be a judge on The Voice [a while ago] and I just said music is not a competition,” he said.

“I was saying, ‘You'd have to pay me $10 million and I'd have to be able to say anything I fucking wanted because I’m not going to pull punches – this is a serious fucking business.’

“And they were like, ‘Oh, I didn’t know about this.’ I couldn’t sit there and give people bad advice and say, ‘Yeah, yeah, wear the stupid outfit and you’ll be famous.’ I’d have to be honest with them and say, ‘Look, you might not make it guys, but I hope you’ve had a good time doing it. Enjoy singing, get the fuck out of here.”

For those looking to embark on a career as an artist, Barnes had other advice.

“I try to talk to young kids when they ask me about music and stuff and they want, ‘Oh yeah, I want to do this and I just want to be so famous.’ And I’m going, ‘Well, that’s not really the idea.’ You can do that and be famous, but it’s not going to make you happy unless you’re being fulfilled as well.

“Go out there and make music you love, go out there and make music that means something to you, go out there and connect with people on an emotional level and if you can make money doing it as well great, but if you don’t, at least you’re still connecting and that’s going to give you more joy in the long run than trying to be [famous].

“TV and fame sort of comes and goes too quick and people give up too much to be famous."

Listen to the full The Green Room episode with Barnes on Spotify (below), Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts.

Jimmy Barnes new book, Killing Time, is out tomorrow, October 7.