Beverley Knight is an English singer, songwriter, actress and radio personality. She released her first album, The B-Funk, in 1995. Heavily influenced by American soul music icons such as Sam Cooke and Aretha Franklin, Knight has released eight studio albums. Widely labelled as one of Britain's greatest soul singers, Knight is best known for her hit singles "Greatest Day", "Get Up!", "Shoulda Woulda Coulda", "Come as You Are" and "Keep This Fire Burning".
In 2006, Knight solidified her transition into the mainstream by starring in the BBC music TV series Just the Two of Us, a role she reprised in 2007. After releasing a platinum-selling compilation album in 2006, Knight went on to tour the UK with a reformed Take That. She has also hosted the BBC Radio 2 show, Beverley's Gospel Nights, which explored the origins and impact of gospel music. The show ran for six seasons until 2009 and included interviews with stars such as Michelle Williams and Shirley Caesar.
Knight is an ambassador for many charities such as Christian Aid and has travelled to areas affected by disease and poverty to help raise awareness. She is an active campaigner for anti-Aids organisations such as the Stop AIDS Campaign and The Terrence Higgins Trust and is also a vocal campaigner against homophobic lyrics in urban music. On Saturday, 15 August 2009, she performed live at the fourth annual UK Black Pride event in Regent's Park. On 4 December 2009, at the invitation of Sarah Jane Brown, wife of the then prime minister Gordon Brown, Knight performed the two songs "Shoulda Woulda Coulda" and "Gold" to an invited audience at 10 Downing Street in support of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood Million Mums charity.
After more than a decade in the music industry, Knight was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 2006 in recognition of her contribution to British music. In September 2005, Knight was made an honorary Doctor of Music by the University of Wolverhampton. After receiving a host of awards, including three MOBO Awards, Knight was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004 at the Urban Music Awards in London. Knight supported Prince during The Earth Tour: 21 Nights in London and also performed at the concert after parties.
In February 2008, Knight was flown to Los Angeles by Prince to perform at his prestigious post-Oscars party, at the singer's purple home, in front of and with A-list stars including Stevie Wonder, she received a standing ovation from stars that included Quincy Jones, particularly for her rendition of "Rock Steady".
Knight sang at the London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony. The performance was praised, and a recorded version by Knight reached No. 101 on iTunes, her first charting single since "Soul Survivor" and highest since "Beautiful Night" in 2010 and 2009, respectively. In 2016, Knight released her eighth studio album, Soulsville. In 2019, Knight celebrated 25 years in music with the release of the live album BK25 which was recorded with the Leo Green Orchestra. Knight's ninth studio album, The Fifth Chapter, was released in October 2023.
Knight has been nominated for two Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Actress in a Musical in 2015 and 2022 for her performances in Memphis and The Drifters Girl; she won in 2023, on her third nomination, the Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for Sylvia. Knight made her first foray into musical theatre in September 2013, replacing Heather Headley as Rachel Marron in The Bodyguard. In 2017, she made her pantomime debut at the Birmingham Hippodrome as the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella.