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A Whole Lotta Soul

British soul queen Beverly Knight has officially made her return to music with the release of her brand new album ‘Soul UK’. In her latest album she pays tribute to the British soul artists who inspired her, including Soul II Soul, Omar and Roachford. Here, Ryan Houston speaks to her about her influences behind the new album and her luck in the music industry.

What first got you interested in music?

There was no single incident that got me into music. It has just always seemed to be in my life. I come from generations of musicians, and we had the piano in our house which we all played so, from there, I just developed a passion for the creation of music and performing it.

Who influences you and your music?

My writing is based on everyday life, in turn influencing my singing and power to emote.  You have to feel that to put pen to paper or really sing (as opposed to just recording a series of notes strung together as a melody, there is a huge difference!). I am a Prince fan and his work has influenced me greatly.

How would you describe your new album?

My new album is a labour of love. I wanted to celebrate the work of British soul/R&B artists and songs; the very people who are mostly forgotten heroes who created the climate of success that I and every artist in this area has since enjoyed. I don’t believe it gets the respect it deserves. It is the first time in my career that I have put together an album without writing it.

You’re about to embark on tour do you enjoy the buzz from meeting your fans?

I always have enjoyed the thrill of meeting those people who support me. Without my fans I don’t exist and I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today, so it’s great to actually have the chance to be able to interact with them on a tour.

In your opinion, what was it that made you a success: hard work or good luck?

I was lucky to have been spotted almost 19 years ago singing in a Wolverhampton club. After that everything I have has been down to old fashioned hard work. It’s important to remember that British R&B/soul was an anathema to British radio when I came on the scene. That has changed in the past 6-7 years but not radically. I have swum upstream against the tide my entire career but I wouldn’t alter a note of what I do musically. It is who I am.

What can fans expect from you in the future?

I will continue to make music until my body says no more!!! In heels! And a smile! I will tour until the end. Nothing makes me happier and my fans love it so I have to keep doing it.

Album: Soul UK out now