News article from the South African 'Tonight':
Heather Small may have gone solo, but she’s still moving on up...
With several million records, numerous awards and invitations to perform across the globe, Heather Small is one of the most successful female recording artists of our time. But she humbly shares that it wasn't all smooth sailing in her career. In an interview with Tonight after her performance at the 80's Rewind Festival in Johannesburg at the weekend, Small revealed how her career got off to a rocky.
We asked if she ever thought she’d become an iconic artist whose songs are part of a defining era in music. “I think not, because when I had signed my first (record) deal I was 21 and I was dropped. And then I didn’t re-sign a deal until I was in my late 20's with M People. So there was a stage when I thought that I was not going to be able to sing as a full-time opportunity.”
Small said the music industry can be very difficult, but that having a sense of self-belief is important: “You have to believe that there is something that you have that is unique to you and that nobody else can provide what you have. For any musician, you have to know your craft. So take any opportunity you have to play or to sing, especially to an audience, because that’s how you really cut your teeth and how you know how to gauge your whole stage performance.”
As part of M People, hits such as Moving On Up, One Night in Heaven and Search For the Hero led to Small becoming one of the seminal British voices of the 90's. She has since had great successes with two solo albums and the title track of her Proud album became the soundtrack for special events including London’s successful 2012 Olympic bid. And when the queen of chat, Oprah Winfrey, was looking for a song to sum up the work she’d been striving to achieve over her 20-year career, she got in touch with Small.
While at the moment Small doesn’t have plans for any new releases, she said she is thinking about it.
“I am thinking about it because it’s my 50th year and I think that maybe I should get something out there to mark this momentous occasion,” she chuckled.
Small has toured with the 80's Rewind Festival for the past two or three years. The event stops next in Cape Town and then Durban.
“I always say ‘yes’ to the festival because it is always great fun. I think it’s the music that keeps people coming back in numbers. It’s timeless and ageless and it’s the performers giving their best and sounding as good as ever. There’s a pride in their endeavours and I think the audience appreciates that.”
Known for always giving a spirited performance on stage, we asked Small what it is about performing that she enjoys so passionately: “It’s the interaction with a live audience, this synergy and energy that is quite difficult to describe. But I love it, I absolutely love it.”
The 80's Rewind Festival stops in Cape Town tomorrow at the Grand Arena, GrandWest. It then wraps up in Durban on Saturday at the Growthpoint Kings Park Stadium. Booking through Computicket.