Beverley Knight







Beverley Knight

SOUL UK BIOGRAPHY

“Welcome to Soul UK, my celebration of some of the home grown artists and soulful tracks that have inspired me. Some of these artists have had enormously successful careers, others have had glimpses of success, and others have never really been given due attention and respect. All these songs, artists and writers have in various ways contributed to my own career in music, and deserve to be recognised for cutting a path that enabled me and every other British Soul/Urban act without exception to walk more easily. This is why I have made this album, it is a labour of love, and my tribute to heroes both celebrated and unsung.”

Fairplay
Originally released by Soul II Soul 1988 - UK #63 from album 'Club Classics Vol One' - UK #1 / US #14

This was absolutely rinsed in all the clubs and on pirate radio. This track made me wish I looked old enough to sneak past the doormen! I didn't want to touch Soul II Soul's biggest hits as they are sacred in my mind, but this was just as brilliant and deserved to be as well known.

Southern Freeez
Originally released by Freeez 1982 - UK #8 from album 'Southern Freeez' - UK #17

I have loved this since hearing it as a child. I always thought it sounded so sophisticated, with its uplifting chords. It's a summer drive with the top down, fabulous song.

Mama Used To Say
Originally released by Junior 1982 - UK #7 / US #30 / US R&B #2 from album 'Ji' - UK #28

I think this was everyone's favourite track at the time and is still played on every "club classics" radio show in the country. It’s still so fresh and just brings a smile whenever I sing it.  It was an obvious choice for the album and a no-brainer for the choice of first single.

Say I'm Your Number One
Originally released by Princess 1985 - UK #7 from album 'Princess' - UK #15

So few people would make the connection from the men behind Jason, Kylie and Rick Astley, to this seriously soulful song! I saw Princess on Top of the Pops doing this, and loved it straight away. I had no idea it was British, or written/produced by Pete Waterman and crew until later.

When You Gonna Learn
Originally released by Jamiroquai 1992 - UK #28 from album 'Emergency On Planet Earth' - UK #1

I remember hunting this record down while I was doing my degree and on finding it, I was shocked to find it was not a rare groove, or from the States but new and British. The lyrics were so far ahead of their time, and Jay's words still ring true today. This was their first single, it gave them acclaim and set them on the path to global success.

Apparently Nothin
Originally released by Young Disciples 1991 - UK #13 from album 'The Road To Freedom' - UK #21

This was one of those moments when the clubs successfully educated radio on what they should be championing, and the public "got" it, and it was a smash. I was one of that buying public. Lyrically this is sheer brilliance and relevant for every generation. Roots Manuva's additional verse just adds even more weight to the message of the song.

There's Nothing Like This
Originally released by Omar 1991- UK #14 from album 'There's Nothing Like This' - UK #19

If you ask anyone involved in the soul genre, they will mention Omar as an influence. Seriously underrated, massively influential worldwide, he pioneered the neo-soul that made Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, D'Angelo and Common successful.

Don't Be A Fool
Originally released by Loose Ends 1990 - UK #12 / US R&B #10
from the album 'Look How Long' - UK #19 / US R&B #28

Like Soul II Soul, Loose Ends’ massive influence on the sound of Britain cannot be ignored. This was another pirate radio smash, played to death in my bedroom with a punchy direct message. I especially loved the line "sort your life out", spoken in the original version. I sang it in mine, it would have sound daft if I had tried to do the same!

Always And Forever
Originally released by Heatwave 1977 - UK #9 / US #18 / US R&B #2 from album 'Too Hot To Handle' - UK #46 / US #11

One of the greatest love songs ever written, by one of the greatest and most successful songwriters of all time. Rod Temperton is a British phenomenon. It has been done before, but I really wanted to sing this.

Round And Around
Originally released by Jaki Graham 1985 - UK #9
from album 'Heaven Knows' - UK #48

Jaki Graham is from my hometown. I once got her autograph in Wolverhampton's department store! Whenever I saw or heard her, I felt so proud. I followed every move she made in her career and thought to myself if she can make it happen, so can I. This song was so ripe for a new version to give it a classic sound.

Cuddly Toy
Originally released by Roachford 1988 - UK #4 / US #25
from album 'Roachford' - UK #11

Roachford showed a cynical British media that British soul could also be fused with a rockier sound and not only work, but be a global hit. This, as well as many of his songs, influenced my own writing style.

Damn
Originally released by Lewis Taylor 1996
from album 'Lewis Taylor' - uncharted

The overwhelming majority of music lovers won't have heard of Lewis Taylor which is a desperate shame as he is touched by genius. I want everyone to know and love his work. My favourite track from his debut album.

One More Try
Originally released by George Michael 1988 - UK #8 / US #1 / US R&B #1
from album 'Faith' - UK #1 / US #1 /US R&B #1

Everyone knew who George Michael was, but this song is when he became the real thing in my mind. He channelled a gospel sound, black America, ate it up, Britain followed and then the whole world. I took that sound, and going back to my own church roots, I ran with it.

Beverley Knight May 2011

 

Soul UK: Sleeve Notes by Trevor Nelson

When I was a teenager working in record shops we were so obsessed with US soul that, truth be told, sometimes we let the brilliance of what we had on our own home turf pass us by. Record companies knew it too, so when the latest batch of 12 inch singles came in, you’d often find some of the UK acts’ tracks cleverly shrink-wrapped to trick punters into thinking they were hot US imports.

But even if the cooler-than-school soul crowd and snobbish soul DJS dismissed these records, Joe Public always knew a great tune when it heard one. So when people caught onto those early records by the likes of Junior Giscombe and Jaki Graham, they liked what they heard and made them into massive pop hits. The ground had already been laid in the late 70s with Brit Funk bands like Hi Tension and Light Of The World, so by the early 80s you would get a jazz-funk track like ‘Southern Freeez’ getting so massive in the clubs that it would cross over into the pop charts.

Of course everything would change a few years later with Soul II Soul. Their sound was a uniquely British blend of hip hop, soul and reggae that you really couldn’t nail down. And it became massive. Not just in Britain, but all over the world. They kick-started a rebirth of British Soul that carried on into the 90s with the whole Acid Jazz scene, labels like Talkin’ Loud and Cooltempo, and hugely influential acts like Omar, The Young Disciples and Jamiroquai.

It wasn’t much later that Beverley Knight first appeared. She gave the UK swingbeat scene an anthem with ‘Flavour Of The Old School’, but went on to prove there was so much more to her than that. I remember the first time I saw her live with a band. Oh my god. I had no idea she could blow like that! When she sings live she has the spirit, there’s no two ways about it. That’s why she’s sustained her career so long in a scene that’s so fickle.

And now she’s paying homage to all those who came before her with ‘Soul UK’. No one has ever shined a light on British soul music like this before. What I love about it, and what I love about Beverley, is how passionate and honest she always is. You can tell in her choice of songs here. There’s a massive temptation to just go for what people thought the coolest tunes were and avoid crossover records like ‘Always And Forever’ and ‘Round And Around’. But a good song is a good song. Beverley knows that. Listen to what she does to George Michael’s ‘One More Try.’ George has always been a soulboy at heart, and Bev takes it to church like only she can.

Then on the other hand, she’ll go and choose a track like ‘Fairplay’. That was the track that made Soul II Soul at street level, the one that got everyone wearing the Funki Dred t-shirts, way before ‘Keep On Movin’ and ‘Back To Life.’ It was a bonafide London underground urban anthem. It’s a clever choice, and Beverley’s vocal takes it to a whole other level. Same thing with ‘When You Gonna Learn’. Beverley tells a funny story about when she first heard that record and thought it was an old rare groove tune she must have missed out on. I was the same. I remember meeting Jay Kay for the first time and my jaw virtually dropping that this skinny white boy was the person making this record. Incredible.

So this album is a salute to some, is Beverley putting her own unique spin on some, and is her unearthing some – artists most people haven’t heard of like Lewis Taylor. He’s this Jewish North London guy who made an album that sounded like the missing link between Marvin Gaye and Brian Wilson. Only Beverley would pick up on a song like ‘Damn’. That’s cause as well as being a singer, she’s a fan first. You can hear it on every song on this record. And it’s all from the heart.

Trevor Nelson, May 2011

Beverley Knight Biog Summary 2011

  • Beverley’s 7th studio album ‘Soul UK’, Produced by Grammy Award winner Martin Terefe (KT Tunstall, Jason Mraz) and Future Cut (Beyonce, Lily Allen), is due for release July 4th 2011 on her own label Hurricane Records. It will include her first ever Live DVD.

  • Her ‘Voice’ greatest hits compilation went platinum in 2006.

  • She has had 4 gold selling albums.

  • Acknowledged by many as the Queen Of UK Soul, she has sold over a million albums in her career so far and has been the UK’s most consistently successful Soul artist since her debut in 1995.

  • Her critically acclaimed 6th studio album, 100%, was released on hurricane Records in September 2009 and entered the UK Top 20 album chart.

  • 2007’s 5th studio album Music City Soul was recorded in Nashville in 3 days it features the guitar playing of Rolling Stones legend Ronnie Wood.

  • She supported Prince in his O2 shows summer 2007 and was invited on stage with him at his aftershow jams where the two sang together in two blistering 2 hour sets. Beverley’s performance features on a live cd released by Prince in 2009.

  • Beverley was flown to LA in February ‘08 by Prince to perform with him at his post Oscars party where they were joined on stage by Stevie Wonder.

  • Sang at the 2008 Montreux Jazz Festival with Chaka Khan at Quincy Jones 75th Birthday concert and was given a standing ovation by Quincy.

  • 2007 she collected an MBE for services to music and charity.

  • Winner of three MOBO Awards- including best R&B artist twice

  • Nominated for two Mercury Music Awards and nominated Best Female at the Brits 3 times.

  • Winner Outstanding Achievement Award at 2005 Urban Music Awards.

  • Beverley has presented four series of Radio 2 show Beverley’s Gospel Nights

and appeared in two series of hit BBC1 show Just the Two of Us. She’s a semi-regular on Loose Women and recently won BBCI Celebrity Mastermind- specialist subject-Prince.

Beverley has performed live & collaborated with legendary artists including: Prince, Santana, Jamiroquai, Courtney Pine, Roni Size, Jools Holland, Redman, Musiq Soulchild, Wyclef Jean, Bryan Adams, Lionel Richie, Take That, Ronnie Wood, Chaka Khan. She has had several sell out headline tours of the UK including shows at London’s Royal Albert Hall, most recently in 2009.

Beverley plays the following dates in November: -

Monday 14th NovemberLiverpool Philharmonic
Tuesday 15th NovembeLeamington Spa Assembly
Wednesday 16th NovemberLondon Royal Albert Hall
Friday 18th NovemberYork Barbican
Saturday 19th NovemberPreston Guildhall
Sunday 20th NovemberManchester Bridgewater Hall
Tuesday 22nd NovemberWolverhampton Civic Hall
Wednesday 23rd NovemberNottingham Royal Centre
Thursday 24th NovemberSalisbury City Hall
Saturday 26th NovemberGateshead Sage
Sunday 27th NovemberBristol Colston Hall

Tickets go on general sale at 10am on Friday 27th May from www.ticketmaster.co.uk and www.gigsandtours.com. There will be a presale for people signed up to Bev’s mailing list at www.gigsandtours.com from 10am on Thursday 26th May. Tickets are priced at £19.50 / £25.00 for all shows except London, which are £22.50, £25, £27.50 and £35

A limited amount of VIP tickets will also be available for all dates (excluding Leamington Spa). Tickets will be priced at £75 for all shows except London which will be £85. VIP tickets ensure seats on front 4 rows, a meet and greet with Beverley, a VIP laminate and a tour program.



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