In the latest in our WISE WORDS interview series - where stars from a whole range of fields share the important life lessons they’ve learned along the way - we’re posing some of the big questions to BEVERLEY KNIGHT.
With a new album out today, and her role in 'The Bodyguard' on stage keeping her busy, Beverley talks to HuffPostUK about some of the biggest lessons she's learned along the way...
What do you do to switch off from the world?
I like to read, I like to kinda disappear into my own thoughts and reading really helps me to do that. Of course being a musician, music is paramount so, as well as making music I like to listen to music in order to switch off. The other thing I like to do is hit the gym. Working out is a brilliant way to switch off your mind off from other things that can come in and cloud it.
How do you deal with negativity?
Gotta rise above it. I have had negativity in the past. You have to be the bigger person; you cannot always respond or it sometimes is not appropriate to confront the source of negativity. Sometimes you have to literally let it wash over your head and be noble and rise above it. And it is the hardest thing in the world to do, believe you me.
When and where are you happiest?
I’m happiest when I’m home, when I’m in Wolverhampton, that’s where I can truly switch off completely. At my mum’s house where I’m just Bev. Nothing else but just Bev. Second daughter of Eddie and Deloris, the end. And when I can get to do that say, during Christmas times, surrounded by family, it is the most wonderful and fantastic thing. And obviously with my husband with me, it’s just perfect!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Wow.. I’ve had so many people advise me over the years… I guess “keep striving, because you will get there in the end” that was my Dad’s motto, that was what my Dad was all about. He believed that no matter what else is going on around you, the ‘nay-sayers’ the ‘non-believers’ keep on your own path and eventually everybody else will come round to your way of thinking. And that certainly worked and is still working for me right now. I’ve just tried to stick to the path that I’ve chosen for myself musically and career wise and at times I’ve faced ridicule for it. But I believe that this is the right thing for me and bit by bit people come round to the way you think. So yeah, I guess that’s the best advice I’ve been given from my Dad.
What has been the hardest lesson you’ve learned?
The minute you start to listen to everyone else and not follow your own gut feeling. You really do mess up and you can make big mistakes. Making songs which you’re not sure about, allowing people to pressure you into decisions you’re not sure about. And not only musically but in my own life. Going along with every relationship that were not right for me and only see it to crash and burn when I knew it was going to crash and burn in the first place! Those are hard lessons, however you have to have them so that you can learn, grow and know not to do those things again.
What would you tell your 13-year-old self?
That everything is going to be fine and that you don’t have to be the prettiest to succeed. I was a self-conscious 13-year-old. I was something of an anorak, I was music obsessed, I still am. I looked as bookish as I was with my glasses on and everything and I always thought that I knew I was going to sing for the rest of my life and I knew that my voice is exceptional but who will listen to someone who looks like me? But they did listen so I should’ve told myself to chill a bit.
What 3 things are at the top of your to-do list?
When I get home, I need to tidy my house. Oh my god, I’m not a tidy person my nature and I really do need to tidy up because we are in the middle of building work and if I don’t keep on top of that it’s not going to be good.
Get my head around learning the choreography for 'The Bodyguard' that is pretty urgent seeing that it’s happening in July and I’m a reluctant dancer shall we say…
Maybe just to take some time out for myself from this tour I’m currently on and ahead of going into The Bodyguard because I’m not very good at saying stop, so a nice spa day or something.”
What do you think happens when we die?
I think energy is eternal, I think energy lives on. Church calls it a ‘soul’ but I call it energy. My Dad’s no longer with us but my God, sometimes I look into the mirror and I say things and it’s like I’m looking at him and hear his voice through me. Energies never die, that’s why we have such great legacies when great women and men leave us. They leave behind such a huge print and other people pick up the baton from when they left it. My dear friend Tyrone died in 2003, but the sassiness that I have on stage and the confidence, a lot of it came from him and our friendship and him seeing someone in me that I didn’t necessarily see in myself. Energy never dies, bodies die, energies don’t.
When do you feel a sense that we live in the presence of something bigger than ourselves?
I went to the Griffith Observatory in LA and was able to look through the telescopes and look at all the stuff about the universe and stars and I felt very very small, I felt like I was nothing compared to the vastness that is out there. And just standing at the top of that hill and looking out at LA and thinking about the millions of people out there that has done this before me, I felt very insignificant. The other place I felt like that was looking up at the stars on a beach in Tulum, and just thinking of the millions of people that have looked up at the stars for guidance, for reassurance over the millennia and here I am just another one, and I felt tiny.
What do you try to bring to your relationships?
I try to edify anyone around me, I try to lift them up. There is an old saying about ‘move on up a little higher’ that’s what I try to do. I’m an upbeat kinda person anyways, I always bring a smile to a relationship, to a stranger or to someone I’ve known for years. To encourage and to elevate someone beyond where they are I think is a very important part of being in a relationship with some. So that’s what I try to do all the time, I try to do that in my music and when I’m offstage too.
What keeps you grounded?
Family. I’ve got one of them Mum’s who is not impressed about anything, apart from the Queen, she was very impressed by the Queen. But I come from Wolverhampton, it is, despite what people say, a fantastic place in terms of its people. Economically, yes it has had its hardships, and so it may not be the most beautiful looking place, but it’s people are earthy as you like. So I go home, I sometimes accompany my mum to the market and help her buy fruit and veg, and I will be among the very same people that watched me grow and watched my career over the years. These are the people who remind me of who I am, where I’ve come from and what I’m all about.
What was the last good deed or act of kindness you received?
Everyday people are kind to me, I’m so lucky. Every day. I wasn’t well yesterday, my friend who is also one of my backing singers Brian, went out of his way to make sure I got a good clean green juice. Got my lunch for me, rallied around me, came round and gave me a cuddle. And those things mean the world, when you’re really not well and feel like you can’t get out of bed. Those things mean everything, and that was literally yesterday, so that was the last beautiful thing that someone did for me. But every single day I’m blessed with people who do kind deeds for me, I’m very very lucky Bev!
Beverley's album 'Soulsville' is on sale today. Click here to order and for more info. She will also be back in The Bodyguard from July 2016.
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