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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > Issue 272 > Big Gay Following

Big Gay Following

SHE'S THE QUEEN OF UK SOUL, APPEARED IN HIT WEST END MUSICALS AND WON A HOST OF AWARDS — ALL THE WHILE REMAINING A TRUE HERO TO THE LGBT COMMUNITY

BEVERLEY KNIGHT

I n a career spanning more than 20 years and at the age of 43, Beverley Knight has pretty much done it all. From singing in dive bars for three men and a dog to performing for the Queen, the 10-times MOBO award-winning UK queen of soul has gone from strength to strength — without ever forgetting her roots.

With her new album, Soulsville, out now, we caught up with the Prodigal Sista to talk about the Memphis sound that influences her songs, LGBT and HIV-activism, her musical theatre work and a guest-starring role in next year’s ITV period drama,

The Halcyon.

Your new album, Soulsville, was recorded in the Royal Studios, Memphis. How did it feel to record in the same place as soul legends such as Al Green?

That was their home studio. The Mitchell family have run it for years. They still run it now. Boo Mitchell is the engineer, Lorraine and Yvonne, the Mitchell sisters, were in the building taking care of the cooking. There’s a real homely atmosphere but at the same time you walk in the door and you’re like, “this is seriously iconic”. And everything is as it was in Al Green’s heyday. That’s why I wanted to go back because I went to Memphis [to prepare for her role in Memphis, the musical] in 2014. I knew it was going to be amazing but I wasn’t prepared for walking into Royal Studios and going, “Oh, shit!” [laughs]. It was like a pilgrimage. And then going to Beale Street [famous for its blues and live music] was just... God. A whole street that was just bars and clubs. And every one of them was playing live music. We don’t have that in London. Where’s our Beale Street? Developers have taken over everything.

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About Attitude

This month, HRH Duke of Cambridge Prince William meets Attitude magazine. In an historic world exclusive, the future King of England poses for the cover of a gay magazine and meets people from the LGBT+ community to discuss the issue of bullying and mental health. Also in this issue: 30 British LGBT people, places and things to be happy about in 2016; soul queen Beverley Knight; and the super-talented Bright Light Bright Light.
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