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article imageChatting with Beverley Knight, MBE: The Queen of British Soul Special

By Markos Papadatos     Nov 13, 2020 in Music
Beverley Knight, MBE, the "Queen of British Soul," chatted with Digital Journal's Markos Papadatos about "A Christmas Wish" and being an artist in the digital age.
She sings "A Christmas Wish," which is the theme for the movie The Loss Adjuster. The lyrics are by Jayney Mackie, and the melody is by Tré Jean-Marie and Alex James Smith. It was subsequently distributed by Absolute Label Services. "The producers of the film asked me if I would consider singing the song. Once I heard it, I thought it was absolutely fabulous and I had never done a Christmas song before," she said.
"After I heard that, I thought it was fantastic so I jumped on board. I am thrilled with how it has turned out. It is so good and I am so happy with it," she said.
The music video was directed by Vincent Woods and produced by Jayney Mackie, with Michael Cowan as executive producer.
On her music and songwriting inspirations, she said, "In general, I am inspired by every single situation I find myself in life, no matter how large or how small, it's a song waiting to happen. Everyday life is full of songs just waiting to burst."
She described life in quarantine as "an interesting time." "I've been writing songs, I've been writing remotely with Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics, who is a friend of mine. We've been working together and that has been really cool," she said. "I've been busy learning scripts and getting to grips with business ideas and entertaining people online and streaming concerts in my kitchen just to keep everybody's morale going."
Knight shared that she sees a silver lining in this pandemic now that a vaccine has been announced to the world a couple of days ago. "It feels like we are coming out of this long, crazy, dark tunnel into some light. We need to since my professions in music and acting have been absolutely devastated worldwide by this pandemic. I'm a glass half full person, so I very much hope that life can get to some kind of normality by the time of spring of next year. That's my hope," she said.
On being an artist in the digital age, Knight said, "It's a different world that I have to adapt. There is an old saying that says 'adapt or die' and it's true. When I first started, I was recording on reel-to-reel and my albums were available on vinyl, CD, and cassette. It is a whole new world that I could have never foreseen. You learn to embrace these new technologies as they come."
"My own audience is starting to understand that streaming and downloading are the way forward. Honestly, it took me on while to get on board, but I am on board fully now, and I understand that the digital age is the future. You need to roll with it and you need to embrace it, otherwise, you are left behind," she said.
She has been one of the UK's most consistent artists for over 20 years, highlighted by gold and platinum-selling albums, 14 Top 40 hits, sold-out tours, three MOBO (Music of Black Origin,) Awards, several Brit Award nods, and Mercury Music Prize nominations, and even an Olivier Award nomination for her more recent formidable career in musical theatre.
Knight was awarded an MBE (Member of the British Empire) by the Queen in 2007 for her services to the British music industry and charity, and her outstanding live performances have seen her also collaborate on stage and on record with the likes of Prince, Chaka Khan, and Andrea Bocelli, among other artists. "That was wonderful," she recalled.
"My father came to Britain in 1959 and my mother came in 1964, and they got married and had the three of us. Never in their wildest dreams did they imagine that they would have a child that would not only go on to have a music career but end up with an MBE given to her by the queen," she added.
"The MBE is something that my parents could have never foreseen," she said. "This is as much as parents' legacy as it is mine. I accepted the MBE on those grounds. Honestly, I wouldn't have the life or the career that I've had, if it weren't for the sacrifices that my parents have made. That was the one and only time that I saw my dad cry in all my life, so it was such a special moment."
She acknowledged that Joan Armatrading was a musical influence on her. "Joan is a woman that has a similar background to mine, a West Indian heritage, and she was a huge influence on me," she said.
"To have a singer-songwriter, Joan Armatrading, that who just spoke to your very soul and who is British as well is such a big deal. I absolutely adore her. Joan is special because of her background. Growing up, she was someone that I aspired to be. I absolutely love that woman to this day. She is remarkable and a gift to the world."
For young and aspiring musicians, she said, "Above everything, you have to love your craft. When you love your craft, you will work hard every day to hone it. You need to believe in yourself and you need to love what you do. If the public sees that you are doing it just to be famous or to make money, they see right through it. They can tell if someone loves what they do and if it's coming from a genuine place. Above all else, love your craft. That to me is paramount, and everything else will fall into place."
On the title of the current chapter of her life, Knight said with a sweet laugh, "Return of the Jedi." "I've been here for a while and now the push to take on the whole world begins. I'm loving what I do, polishing it, and trying to perfect it," she said.
Regarding her definition of the word success, she said, "When I am walking down the street, and I see one of those lovely buskers playing my songs. Success means that my music —not me, not my name, and not my face — has resonated with the ordinary man and the ordinary woman. To me, that is a wonderful thing, when somebody who I don't know, who maybe doesn't even know what I look like or care about how I look like but can sing and enjoy my song enough to want to share it with other people."
"A Christmas Wish" is available on digital service providers by clicking here. "I hope that anyone who hears it enjoys it, and loves it as much as I love it," she said. "I also hope that it's something that they can enjoy not only for this year but for years to come, that would be my Christmas wish. I hope they take it to heart."
To learn more about Beverley Knight, MBE, and her music, check out her official website and her Facebook page.
Beverley Knight  MBE releases  A Christmas Wish
Beverley Knight, MBE releases 'A Christmas Wish'
'A Christmas Wish' official cover art
More about Beverley Knight, Mbe, Queen, British, Soul
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