Beverley Craven

Beverley Craven (born 28 July 1963) is a British singer-songwriter best known for her 1991 UK Top 5 hit single “Promise Me”. Her most recent album, Change of Heart, was released in 2014. She has sold over four million records in her career.

Although British, Craven was born in Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in July 1963 while her father was working there for Kodak.

Two years later the family returned to Hertfordshire, Craven began taking piano lessons at the age of seven encouraged by her mother who was a classical violinist. Upon leaving school, she attended art college while performing with various bands in London pubs and writing songs. She was also an accomplished swimmer during her teens and competed in several local and national swimming competitions around the UK.

Craven did not buy her first pop record until she was 15 when she started buying records by singer-songwriters such as Elton John, Judi Tzuke, Stevie Wonder and, in particular, Kate Bush, all of whom influenced her music.

At 18, Craven left school and home and worked in a number of odd jobs. Having failed to find any sympathetic musicians with whom to play, at the age of 22 she decided to strike out on her own as a piano-playing singer and songwriter. Following a brief stint touring with soul singer Bobby Womack, who tried to sign her to his record label, she recorded her first set of demos and attracted the attention of Go West’s manager, John Glover. He quickly set about securing her a major music publishing deal with Warner Brothers and a development contract with Epic records followed.

In November 1988 she was sent to Los Angeles to work with some established songwriters and to ‘learn her craft’ playing in bars and restaurants. The experience was “unproductive” she confesses, preferring even now to write alone. Soon afterwards, again in Los Angeles, she made her first attempt to record her debut album with Stewart Levine of Simply Red fame. However she felt the professionalism of the recordings failed to capture the naivete of her work and was relieved when Epic agreed. She went on to record with Paul Samwell-Smith, whose other production credits included Cat Stevens, Carly Simon and All About Eve.

The album, Beverley Craven, was eventually released in July 1990. Although it initially failed to attract attention in the United Kingdom, it found acceptance in Europe.

It was not until April 1991 that she found success in her homeland. A re-released “Promise Me” was heavily promoted and eventually peaked at No. 3 in the UK singles chart, becoming her biggest hit. This success helped her debut album also chart at No. 3 in the UK, staying charted for over a year in the UK and eventually going double platinum in that country. The album sold in excess of 1.2 million copies worldwide. Other singles released to promote the album, including “Holding On” and “Woman To Woman” were less successful, but helped maintain the momentum.

In 1992 she released a videotape, titled Memories, recorded live at the Birmingham Symphony Hall.

In February 1992, Craven performed at the Brit Awards show (following her nomination in three categories), winning the Best British Newcomer Award. She was eight months pregnant when she sang at the Brits and she gave birth to her first child, Mollie, less than a month later.

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