Heather Small To Play City Hall Date

Taken from 'The Shields Gazette' (South Tyneside):

'Soul singer Heather Small spent much of last year appearing on our TV screens as a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing.

But the voice behind such hits as Moving On Up and One Night In Heaven is back to doing what she does best - singing.

She has teamed up with the Snake Davis Band to head out on the road this autumn, and will appear at Newcastle City Hall on November 26.

As part of M People, who sold 10 million albums around the world, she became one of the seminal British voices of the 1990s.

Named after the initials of their founder, DJ Mike Pickering, they emerged from the Manchester club scene, and enjoyed five years of success, racking up 20 Top 20 hits.

Small's distinctive voice was the group's major selling point, and they won the Mercury Music Prize in 1994 and were named best British dance act at the Brits in 1994 and 1995.

They enjoyed eight Top 10 singles in a row in a phenomenally-successful two years, culminating in Search For The Hero, which was later used in the TV advertising campaign for the Peugeot 406.

After touring and promoting the Bizarre Fruit II album for 18 months, the band took a break in 1996, but it didn't leave the chart until April 1997, becoming one of the biggest sellers of the decade. 

They made some live outdoor UK performances called the Summer M Parties at Crystal Palace, Alton Towers, and Old Trafford, the latter to a crowd of 60,000 at an event celebrating the Euro 96 football championships.

Small gave birth to her son, and, after the closure of their deConstruction label by BMG, the band founded their own label, M People Records, to release their next album, Fresco, in 1997.

It again peaked at No2, going on to sell 1.1 million copies and being certified platinum, and the following year's compilation The Best of M People did the same, despite outselling it.

The band then took a long break, with Small concentrating on raising her son, though she couldn't stay away from music for long, and released a solo album, Proud, in 2000, which reached a respectable No12 and achieved gold sales.

It seemed M People had split up, but they reconvened for a short UK tour in 2005 to promote a re-packaged Greatest Hits, and Small continued to pursue a solo career, releasing a second, less-successful album, in 2006.

Proud, which had become her signature tune, was used as the soundtrack to the successful London 2012 Olympic bid, and Small went all ballroom last year by appearing on the hit TV series Strictly Come Dancing.

Music was always her first love, however, and she appeared at Buckingham Palace for the 2012 Olympic Handover party, the Manchester Pride festival, and at Cardiff's Millenium Stadium for the Welsh 6 Nations Victory Celebration.

She also went back to basics, teaming up with the Snake Davis Band for three sell-out nights at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London at the end of last year.

Now she is hitting the road again with them, performing blues and jazz standards, along with some of M People's best-loved songs and her solo hits.

Tickets for the City Hall show, priced 22.50 and 25 pounds, are available now from 0191 2612606.'