Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

It's Going to Be a Knight to Remember; ALAN NICHOL CHATS TO BEVERLEY KNIGHT AHEAD OF HER SAGE GIG

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

It's Going to Be a Knight to Remember; ALAN NICHOL CHATS TO BEVERLEY KNIGHT AHEAD OF HER SAGE GIG

Article excerpt

Byline: ALAN NICHOL

THE glorious voice of Beverley Knight will fill Sage Gateshead's Hall 1 tomorrow night when the "Queen of UK Soul" will showcase her brand-new album, Soulsville (East West Records), as part of her 13-date UK tour.

I spoke to Beverley recently to get the lowdown on the album, pre-tour news and a little more besides.

It was immediately apparent that the muchgarlanded singer/actress is every bit as warm as she appears, and it was easy to see how she made such a success of her role as BBC radio presenter/interviewer on her Radio 2 Gospel Nights series.

Beverley has won a host of awards - multiple MOBO, Brit, EMMA plus a Mercury Music Prize among them - and managed to straddle the quite different roles of recording/touring artist and stage musical actress/singer. As if that were not sufficient, she supports a number of charitable causes and her MBE in 2006 recognised her "services to music" and her broader community endeavours.

The obvious introduction had to be about her initial exposure to music and Beverley was quick off the mark to explain.

"My mother played Sam Cooke and he was the first voice I ever heard on record. His was the first voice that directly had a big impact on me, vocally. He still makes me cry.

"Aretha taught me my phrasing and the way I carry emotion. She makes me cry and then she brings me into the throes of musical ecstasy - with the same voice!" Were you a precocious child, then, I venture. "Oh, very definitely. Any chair, platform of any kind, any opportunity to perform, I was there ! "There was never any doubt in my mind that I was going to be a singer, and when it did happen it was no surprise to anyone in my family."

She released her first album, The B-Funk, when she was just 22 and despite rave reviews - some of which predicted international stardom even then - sales were relatively modest. The follow-up, Prodigal Sista, for Parlophone Records stepped things up with a top-50 chart entry and was subsequently declared "Gold" for 100,00 sales.

Knight moved through the gears again with her third album, Who I Am (2002), and it was also "Gold" this time, making the top 10.

She ultimately left Parlophone after 11 years to set up her own Hurricane Records (for the release of her 100% album) in 2009.

Fast-forward a few years and coming up to date, her new record, Soulsville - released to coincide with the tour - is in many ways back to her roots.

The record, featuring a cover-shot of Beverley on Beale Street, was made at the late producer/musician Willie Mitchell's Royal Studios in Memphis, scene of Mitchell's many Hi Records successes with Al Green. …

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