Sir Elton John says he wouldn't have succeeded if he'd started on a reality show.

The 'Rocket Man' hitmaker is grateful TV talent contests like 'The X Factor' and 'The Voice' weren't ''around back'' when he was trying to make a name for himself because it would have robbed him of a chance to gain valuable experience.

Speaking to The Independent newspaper's Radar Magazine, he said: ''I probably wouldn't have done it. I mean, thank God there weren't those things around back then.

''You had to get in the back of a Transit van and go up and down the motorway and earn your living that way and get all the experience.''

The 66-year-old music icon - who co-founded Rocket Music Entertainment Group in 2011 - encourages every act he manages to learn the craft of performing in live in front of small crowds to ensure their longevity.

He said: ''I have a management company, and every single artist we sign, I say, 'unless you can play live, I don't want to sign you, you need to go out and play to 20 or 30 people at the start of your career, because it's the only way you're going to have a lasting career, and the only way you're going to improve as a musician and a songwriter.' ''

Elton John is interviewed in this week's Radar Magazine, out on 14th September, available with The Independent