Beverley Is Queen of The Knight

Beverley Knight Bodyguard

Feast your eyes upon the promo pic for the musical The Bodyguard which now has a new leading lady in the form of our very own Beverley Knight. The singer recently made her West End debut in the role of Rachel Marron, popularised by the late great Whitney Houston. Bev took the reigns from the supremely talented Heather Headley who has now headed back to the US to start preparations for the Broadway version of the musical. When asked if she was nervous about the role Beverley told Blackhair magazine:

“Yeah! And I think I should’ve been. If I hadn’t been nervous, something wouldn’ve have been right. It’s such a switch of gear for me. If it had just been a case of ‘can I sing these 10 songs?’ it would’ve been no problem. But it’s not – it’s much more  than that.” 

Beverley Knight LEAD

I saw The Bodyguard musical last year and was blown away by the production (read my recap here). I’m a huge fan of Bev and I’m confident that with her vocal ability, stage presence and charisma she’ll do a sterling job.

Visit www.thebodyguardmusical.com for further details.

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Chic and Janelle Storm the iTunes Festival

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How ya doing folks? It’s been a while right? I had such a fun, relaxing summer hence my lack of posts.  How was yours? I’m interrupting my online absence to post pics from the iTunes Festival which took place tonight featuring Nile Rodgers & Chic supported by Janelle Monae. I’ve been trying to see Chic all summer, they’ve been touring the UK extensively performing at Glastonbury, Heart In The Park and at indigO2 to name but a few. But for one reason or another I kept missing them, but this week managed to get lucky (see what I did there?) and scored tickets to the fest which is currently taking place at the stunning Roundhouse in Camden. Chic didn’t disappoint, they were magical, funky, energetic and one of the tightest bands I’ve ever seen. Miss Monae was awesome too. I was quite surprised at what a firecracker of a performer she is and quite sassy too (I swear I saw one or two MJ style crotch grabs). Check out a few snaps courtesy of Rich’s HTC.

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The Return of Don-E

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While Nile Rodgers and friends were bringing the funk to Camden at the iTunes Festival on Saturday night, a mile or so down the road veteran UK soul singer Don-E was gracing the stage at the Jazz Cafe to celebrate the release of  his new album Little Star. The London based singer is back after a seven year absence with a solid album which features his trademark mellow grooves alongside collabos with the likes of Ty and an awesome ensemble track with some of the forefathers of UK soul including Omar, Leee John of Imagination, Carl McIntosh from Loose Ends and Junior Giscombe. I caught up with the man himself to discuss what he has been up to during his absence as well as his hopes for his new album. Read what he had to say.

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Hot Cocoa: Alexandra Set To Sing The Blues

Alexandra Burke Lady Sings Promo

YES, this is exactly the career boost that Alexandra Burke needed! The opportunity to display her vocal skills and rid herself of the drama, controversy and unfortunate song and image choices that have been plagued her since her 2008 X Factor(y) win. For those who haven’t got a clue what I’m harping on about, well it was recently announced that Ms Burke will be taking residency at the iconic Royal Albert Hall in June to perform the songs from Lady Sings The Blues, the classic 1972 biopic about troubled jazz chanteuse Billie Holiday,  portrayed brilliantly by Diana Ross. Performing with a full jazz band, Alex will sing her own interpretations of Billie’s classic jazz/blues standards like Good Morning Heartache, God Bless The Child and Strange Fruit. I love Alex’s voice and have always said that her raspy alto would be better suited to traditional adult/contemporary R&B as opposed to saccharine pop and disposable dance music. It will be interesting to see where her career will head after this show, but it looks like it’s finally moving in the right direction.

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For details of tickets visit here

The trailer to the 1972 biopic Lady Sings The Blues – maaan, I loved that film

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Will.iam and 4 other African Americans who are bigger over ‘ere, than over there

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If you tuned into The Voice UK this evening you would’ve witnessed the appearance of US songstress Kym Mazelle, who auditioned for the show but sadly missed out on a place for the next round because the judges failed to select her. Kym was a musical titan in the late 80s/early 90s, releasing her own material as well as lending her soul charged vocals to hits by Soul II Soul and The Blow Monkeys.  What was interesting about Kym’s appearance on tonight’s show was the awkward exchange between her and Will.iam.  He was obviously unaware of who she was which was surprising given their similar experiences as African American musicians forging careers in the UK.

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Now Booking: Dwele At The Jazz Cafe

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Neo-soul heavyweight, Dwele embarks on a European tour this month performing at London’s Jazz Cafe on the 17th, 18th and 19th of April. Famed for his tender romantic ballads, the singer has steadily built up a solid fan base in the UK who will no doubt be out in full force to support the cool, charismatic singer. Tickets are priced from £25.75, visit www.ticketmaster.co.uk for details.

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Cocoa TV: Does Kyla Frye Have The Key?

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This Saturday be sure to tune into the Community Channel at midnight (SKY channel 539, Virgin Media 233) to see a much-anticipated documentary called The Key, produced and directed by actress Kyla  Frye.  Featuring interviews with British actors like Jimmy Akingbola, Aml Ameen and Sheila Nortley, to name a few, Kyla gains from them an understanding on what it takes to progress in an industry where opportunities are few and far between for black and minority actors. Produced under the company she founded, Fryeday Entertainment LTD, the young actress decided to develop her own production company to provide a platform for talent that is often ignored by the mainstream. Good on her. See a clip from the documentary below.

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