At dinner on Saturday night I sat next to soul star Beverley Knight MBE. The MSF and I were at the Cancer Research UK Charity Halloween Ball, a great and at times very moving event, and something with personal resonance for both of us.
Beverley’s a fascinating woman, and I really enjoyed chatting with her. When offered a big break early on, she put it on hold to finish her Theology degree. It’s a real juxtaposition with the speedy instant success that something like X-factor offers. And perhaps that’s what helps provide the longevity of her success, that and of course a seriously good voice.
Star sings Singstar…
Towards the end of the evening, the MSF had been dragged (in the best way) into a games room that was set up by Playstation. There we ended up with a group of about ten people, in a battle of the genders Abba songs Singstar contest (the men won!). For those who don’t know, it’s a karaoke game that maps how accurately you sing the song.
After that, on our way out we bumped into Beverley again and having had a couple of vodkas, I bravely asked if she’d come and sing on the Singstar game. She didn’t know what it was, but gamely agreed. For me this was a real test, not of her voice, which is self-evidentially a winner, but of the Singstar itself; is it really about quality of singing, or just knowing the game?
When she got in there I think she was a little taken aback, and I felt slightly guilty about having put her in such a position. But after finding an Abba song she knew, “The Winner Takes It All” (I think we’d done a few, and they’re merging in my memory), she sang against one of the Charity Ball’s committee.
Now the lady from the committee plays Singstar a lot and knows how to score on it, but without any offence meant, doesn’t have the talent, training and voice of someone like Beverley Knight. So it was an interesting contest.
And the winner is…
The final score was 4,500 points to 3,800…. to Beverley. It was a privilege to listen, and gradually as she sang, rather than the raucous event of singing beforehand, people ended up standing around and just listening. Interesting to watch how her vocal accuracy was measured by the Singstar, as it measured her as almost perfect throughout.