Sheffield date for Beverley Knight singing songs of Stevie Wonder
Soul star Beverley Knight will perform the music of one of her heroes, Stevie Wonder, on stage in Sheffield.
The show is a rerun of a special concert that Beverley recorded for a special edition of BBC Radio 2’s Friday Night Is Music Night series at the London Palladium at the end of last year.
Beverley is now touring the show with the Leo Green Orchestra to pay tribute to one of the greatest songwriters of modern times.
Beverley said that when she was approached to do the special show, she replied: “’Oh my God, what a brilliant idea. I’m in’ and we completely smashed it. I was thrilled at the reaction.
“It’s a tall order to sing somebody else’s songs but also the songs of a living genius.
“And then they said we do want you to tour this and here I am, touring it for real.”
Beverley said she has always been a huge fan of Stevie’s and is certain that the overused word genius applies in his case.
“Here’s a man who has composed everything, who can play more or less everything himself and he’s not seen any of the instruments he can play. That blows my mind.
“His melodies seem very simple, but you try and sing them, and they are backed up by incredibly complex chord structures that sit behind them.”
Beverley had the tough job of looking through five decades of work to choose the songs to sing.
“Immediately you’re on a different footing because I am a woman singing songs you’ve heard with a male voice and from a male perspective.
“There’s a different resonance in the fact that I am a woman –for instance singing Lately as a woman is a whole different ball game.
“I can put all of the vulnerability in there which we as women still go through in relationships.
“Some things I’ve changed the key because I couldn’t get as low as he can and others I’ve kept exactly the same.”
She has met Stevie Wonder twice.
“The first time was on stage with Prince in LA! There was a big party he was throwing post-Oscars and he invited Stevie Wonder up on to the stage.
“I thought this cannot be happening, that I am in heaven. But it happened. I didn’t meet him so much face to face, more that we had a meeting of music on stage.
“The second time was at the BST festival in Hyde Park this year. I had the honour of a face-to-face meeting with him, gave him a cuddle and had a picture!
“I told him I was doing this tour and he said he wanted to hear it. That picture is going in a frame.”
Beverley celebrates 25 years in showbusiness this year and she said that the Prince concert was a huge highlight.
As a teenager she was obsessed with Prince, so was amazed to work with him: “That happened, then someone else I adored since I was tiny, whose song Sir Duke was the first song I heard on the radio, was there.
“At that moment – all the accolades and all the awards are wonderful, but that was everything.”
She’s not one to sit on her laurels and plans to continue her musical theatre career as well as singing. She has a new live album out in November.
So what’s the plan for the next 25 years? “World domination.”
See Beverley Knight and the Leo Green Orchestra on Saturday (October 5) at Sheffield City Hall.