From Wales Online:
'Fans of Heather Small will be introduced to her jazzier side when she performs in Cardiff this weekend. But she tells Karen Price they can expect the old favourites too
Heather Small is preparing to take her Cardiff fans on a journey through her music.
The lead singer of M People, who was introduced to a whole new audience when she took part in Strictly Come Dancing last year, is performing a solo gig in the Welsh capital this weekend.
And as well as singing the hits she’s renowned for with her group, such as Moving On Up and Search For The Hero, she will be revealing her jazzier side.
Last October the soul star performed at the famous Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London and she’s now introducing a jazz element to her tour.
But there will still be the old favourites too.
“I will be doing an amalgamation of what I think charts my musical journey,” she says.
“There will be things I really like, things that inspire me – from jazz, to blues, to pop. I’ve handpicked every song.”
Small has spent months pulling her repertoire together.
“I started listening to songs I really like and wrote down what I thought would make a good set.”
Small – who has a 12-year-old son, James, with her former partner, Welsh rugby coach Shaun Edwards – is joined on tour by the Snake Davis Band, who performed with her at Ronnie Scott’s.
“They are people I feel very comfortable with,” she admits.
“If it’s not broken don’t fix it. We have a lovely rapport on stage and we have such a great time. It’s always interesting, always fun and never boring.”
With 16 dates in her diary, Small admits the tour is “quite big for me”. But she’s clearly eager to get back on the road.
“Once you get into the swing of it, it never leaves your blood,” she says of touring.
“I’ve not toured as much recently as I’ve been at home with my son but he is older now and this isn’t a huge tour. I’m still going to be able to get home as much as possible, so it’s the best of both worlds.”
While Small is touring there won’t be much time for her to enjoy her latest passion – for dance.
The singer was among the contestants in the last series of the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing and she admits that, despite the nerves, she enjoyed her time on the show, which was won by Tom Chambers.
“I had a great time. Having to dance live to the nation takes you out of your comfort zone but my mother is a huge fan (of the series) and we still like to please our mums,” she laughs.
“The judges were harsh but I had real fun.”
She’s now a member of a dance school run by Karen Hardy, one of Strictly’s professional dancers.
“I’ve not been because I’m busy but I will return,” she promises.
“I love dance and learning a new skill.”
Heather Small is at St David’s Hall on Sunday. The box office number is 029 2087 8444'