On the 28th April I got the amazing opportunity to interview Beverley Knight and ask her questions about her upcoming Soulsville tour and about past experiences in the industry. I was so inspired after talking to her and I have to say I’m jealous of any one that has tickets to the shows!
Q. What can fans expect from the upcoming tour? Does it differ from previous tours that you have done?
A. It will be different in the fact that the material will be different. I will be showcasing the Soulville album that came out last year and of course the hit records that everyone knows. In that respect the show will be different but also I haven’t played Cardiff for a very long time. So I’m really, really excited to go back and see how it’s changed, because I absolutely love it there. Because of that I think it will feel like a completely new experience for me and the audience.
Q. The new album is absolutely amazing, my mum and I absolutely love it! Is there a favourite song on the album that you’re especially excited to perform?
A. Well I’m really excited to play Middle of Love, because the opening line ‘I’m a whole lot of lady’ goes down so well when it’s performed, the audiences absolutely love it! I’m also really excited for people to be singing along with the new songs but also the classics that they love so much. I’ll be interested in the quitter moments, the song ‘Gold’ is one that renovates with so many fans, people come up to me and tell me all of the tough things they are going through and that my music has helped them through. That’s all you want, for your music to help people.
Q. You must be excited for all of the dates but is there any one in particular that you are really excited for?
A. Well like I said I’m really excited for Cardiff! For some reason for years I have never been back even though I kept pushing and pushing to go back, but this time around the promoters said ‘We’re going to give you Cardiff’. So I’m really excited to perform there, but I’m also excited for the home gig in Birmingham with all of my family and friends there.
Q. All of your music is great but do you feel as if this album is your best work to date?
A. I’m proud of all of my music, this one in terms of the recording experience was by far the most amazing. Going into Royal Studios in Memphis, walking through those doors, knowing Al Green had been in there and other great singers, and then going in there and singing live with all of the musicians, that was just incredible. For me to be there, to be performing the way they did was just wonderful. There are no words to explain how amazing it was.
Q. What is it about American soul/gospel music that inspires you?
A. It was the music I listened to when I was a child. The gospel music that I heard was because of my religious mum and dad, it was joyous and uplifting and from there naturally my music began to cross over into the soul/gospel genre. There is a real integrity, passion and emotion that you can find in that genre of music, which now comes from across the world. It taps into something that is within all of us, and when you have experienced that you just keep going back to it.
Q. Are there any artists that you feel have really influenced your work, especially on this album?
A. In general terms I have followed Prince since I was nine years old. I did everything he did, every time I was producing new music I would always think back to him and think ‘what would he do here?’ He taught me how to write songs, and I was lucky enough to get to tell him that myself when he was still with us. But I grew up with Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin, the first voice I heard was Sam Cooke and then there is Whitney but I think she inspired everyone! I listened to a lot of Aretha before writing this album, so much of her music was from that southern atmosphere that was apparent during the recording process of Soulsville.
Q. Do you prefer performing your own music or being a part of big productions like the body guard?
A. The way I see my career is that I’m a singer first, I will always go back to music, it’s my love, it’s the way I see myself. I see theatre as a second string to the bow, I love it so much, but singing is my heartbeat.
Q. I know that you are a big supporter of charities such as Christian Aid and stop aids Campaign, what does it mean to you to be a part of the amazing work these charities are doing?
A. I’m trying to just make a difference in my own small way. I am very aware of the life I lead, it is a very privileged life, it’s a life that thousands if not millions would like to lead and here I am doing it. I had a very good education, and there are some girls out there that don’t have that opportunity. My parents being very religious but also very understanding taught me to accept all people from all walks of life. I’ve been very lucky. But not everyone is raised that way and some people really need help, emotionally and physically. If I can help, then that’s what I want to do.
Q. After the amazing career that you have had and continue to have, is there any advice that you would give to up and coming artists?
A. You have to love what you do. You cannot do this and not love it. If you’re trying to come into this industry but you don’t love it, I would say don’t do it.
Q. After this tour is finished, what do you think is next for you?
A. After this tour is finished I am going to be thinking about the next album, but of course if any theatre, musicals anything like that come my way I will jump at the opportunity! But we’ll see where life takes me!
I would like to thank Beverley Knight for agreeing to do this interview with me and I wish her nothing but happiness and success in the future.
By Aaliyah Buchanan
The Soulsville Tour is being held at St David’s Hall on the 22nd June.