Beverley Craven’s back on the road with a date at the Chichester Inn

Beverley Craven. Picture by Jonathan Knowles
Beverley Craven. Picture by Jonathan Knowles

BRIT-Award winning singer Beverley Craven became a household name in the early ’90s.

Her self-titled debut album sold more than two million copies; her 1991 single ‘Promise Me’ was massive across Europe; and she followed up with a string of chart successes including ‘Memories’, ‘Holding On’, ‘Woman to Woman’ and ‘Love Scenes’.

After a career break and plenty of trauma in her life, she’s back on the road with a date at Chichester’s Chichester Inn on Saturday, November 14, at 8.30pm (doors 8pm). Gigs are selling well.

“It has taken a little while! I had a long break, and it was quite difficult to get back on the road again without big record-company backing, without a big push. If you go away for a few years, people forget you ever were! It’s a fickle old business. But this is very small scale. It’s me and one or maybe two other musicians. It’s all very pared down and intimate.

“My youngest daughter is 19 now, but I was away from music between about 2000 and 2009. That was the gap between the albums three and four. There was motherhood. Partly it was that. Motherhood is bound to dominate. But also I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, which I am clear of now. And I was divorced in 2011. I have given everything a go!

“But I am very content now, very happy. When you have had a brush with cancer, it just puts everything in focus. It changes your life. It changes your attitudes. It makes you less blasé. It makes you much more urgent about doing stuff. You realise that our time here is not open-ended. You realise you need to get on with things. You realise we are not going to be around forever… and in a way that all sounds quite dark, but actually it is very freeing as well. You realise you have got to get on and do things and do the things you enjoy.”

Namely music.

“I did my fifth studio album, and I am really, really proud of it. I am getting better at producing. I think that’s the main reason. When I go into a studio now, it doesn’t flummox me. When I started out, I was very much a songwriter and needed a lot of input from other people in the studio to make the track come to life. Now I start with a blank piece of paper and I can go the whole way through myself.”

And inevitably her own experiences filter through.

“I lost my sister at the beginning of last year to breast cancer. She was only 44. It has been tough… very, very tough. Breast cancer seems like almost in epidemic proportions at the moment. I am going to be doing a show for somebody in a couple of weeks who is dying of breast cancer, which is going to be very difficult for me to do given my experience. It’s just horrible, but that’s why I balance my singing with things that make me happy. You get the whole gamut in life. You can’t go through life thinking things are unfair because that is what life is like. You have just got to go out there and do stuff that brings you joy.”

Which is how she started in music. Remarkably her debut album is a quarter of a century ago this year.

“And Promise Me still gets played.”

Not that she can quite work out why Promise Me, of all her songs, became the special one: “I remember being in a bedsit in south-east London and tinkering with it, and I thought it had a nice little intro. I thought ‘That’s the sort of thing Elton John would play for an intro’, and then I wrote it from beginning to end chronologically. It just ran through from start to finish. It wasn’t about anyone in particular.

“But I do think I have written better songs than that. But I suppose it is partly down to timing. It was my first single, and anything I released subsequently people thought ‘I quite like this girl.’

“And then in ’92 I had my first daughter and then in ’95 and ’96 two close together. Life doesn’t always happen the way you plan. Stuff comes along and you cope. But really, I see myself as a writer. It was difficult for me initially to be seen as a performer. But that’s the way it happens!”

Tickets on 01243 783185.

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