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Beverley Craven (born 28 July 1963 in Colombo, Sri Lanka) 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. Craven has sold over 4 million records in her career.
Although British, Craven was born in Colombo in July 1963 while her father was working for Kodak in Sri Lanka.
Two years later the family returned to Hertfordshire and 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, she 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 Craven 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 and, 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 #3 in the UK singles chart, becoming her biggest hit. This success helped her debut album also chart at #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.
Craven spent much of 1992 enjoying motherhood and recording her second album. Love Scenes, again produced by Paul Samwell-Smith, was eventually released in September 1993. It peaked at #4 on the United Kingdom charts, but overall was much less successful than her debut, spending only 13 weeks on the charts. It spawned three singles, "Love Scenes", "Mollie's Song" (written for her daughter), and a cover of Abba's "The Winner Takes It All". These singles only became minor hits, with only the title track reaching the UK top 40.
In 1993 she embarked on a twelve-date concert tour, and the following Christmas played a sell-out show at the Royal Albert Hall.
Craven took a five-year hiatus after giving birth to two more daughters, and it was not until 1999 that she released her third album, Mixed Emotions. Craven recorded the album in her home studio and for the first time produced the record herself. The album peaked at #46 in the UK, spending two weeks on the charts. The lead single "I Miss You" was only released as a promo single as the label refused to release it commercially. After promotion for this album ended, Craven left Epic Records and retired from the music industry to take care of her daughters.
Also in 1999, Craven contributed lead vocals on the song "The Very Last Time", included on the album The Time Machine, by Alan Parsons.
In 2004 The Very Best of Beverley Craven compilation album was released, and Craven embarked on a comeback to promote the record, making a handful of live concert appearances, but shortly after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Following treatment she was finally given the all-clear, and returned to the stage in 2006, doing more tours in subsequent years.
In March 2009, Craven released her first album in ten years, Close To Home, fully written and produced by herself. She released it on her own record label and sold it initially through her website and at concerts, although later in the year she made it available for purchase on online retailers and on digital outlets. The song "Rainbows", was released as a digital download single, and she filmed a videoclip of it.
Craven released a live DVD, titled Live in Concert in August 2010, as well as a songbook later in the year featuring songs from her four albums.
Craven published her autobiography, Truth Be Told, in 2012, selling it exclusively on her website.
Craven's fifth studio album, Change of Heart released on September 1st, 2014, followed by a tour through the UK in the Autumn.
After meeting backstage at a Tears for Fears concert, in 1994 Craven married singer-songwriter Colin Campsie. The couple have three daughters: Mollie, Brenna and Constance (Connie). After she was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer in 2006, the couple separated in 2010 and divorced in 2011.
When Mollie appeared on the third series of Take Me Out on 11 February 2012, Craven appeared on the accompanying ITV2 show Take Me Out, The Gossip, singing "Promise Me".