Born and raised in Sheffield, before moving to New York City in her late teens and then back to Britain, and London, where she now is now based, Savannah Knight has travelled widely and extensively. The experiences she has had - the people she has met and the loves she has lost and found – have shaped the songwriting of the 26 year old pop/soul singer, who will be releasing her debut album in the early summer.

“My songs are all based on experiences that have happened to me” Knight tells Pennyblackmusic with a laugh. “They are basically the soundtrack of my life. I do play heavily on my emotions and when I experience something that I feel deeply or if I feel let down or anything like that then I usually end up expressing it in my song writing.“

It was in the Pentecostal church which puts a strong emphasis on singing, and in her large family in which all her brothers and sisters also play an instrument or sing, that the young Savannah took her early musical roots.

“My Mum was a bishop, so I was brought up in the church” she says. “I would go three or four times a week sometimes. When I was about 9 or 10, I would form little groups with my friends so I could sing in church and then when I was about 12 or 13, as soon as I was old enough and allowed, I joined the choir there. I became familiar with being on stage and around music on a regular basis, and I got used to singing and talking in front of audiences from an early age.”

The ability of some of the other singers she came across through the church acted as a stimulus for Knight with her own singing and song writing.

“We would play a lot concerts and come to London quite often” she reflects. “I was exposed to all sorts of phenomenal singers, some of whom had come across from America. I was always in awe of real amazing talent, Even at a young age I would try to copy these people and to try to push myself as a singer. Having two brothers and two sisters gave me a bit of a competitive edge as well. Even at 12 or 13 I knew that I could sing, but I was always try to improve because the level of singers that were around me in church was very, very high. It is something that I really aspired to and then I fell in love with the art of music writing and started developing that craft too.”

After a brief initial period of living in London where she did nurse training, Knight moved to New York where she lived with an aunt who was based in Harlem. She would stay for three years, working as a hairdresser in the day, and singing, sometimes as a backing singer and more occasionally as a front woman, in its clubs at night. Her time in New York and meeting bestselling soul singer Blu Cantrell gave her singing and song writing further focus and the final push she needed to break out as a solo artist.

“I had already tried to do a bit of recording over in Britain with friends” she recollects. “But when I went to New York it solidified it. People were really serious about it. If you go to open stage gigs and things like that there, then the level of song writing and the form of it is very high. It really raises the bar of where you want to be and I think at that point I thought ‘I have got to do this. This is great.’ It made me get more serious about my song writing. I was more into the idea of performing before I went to New York instead of being an artist, but I think New York really pushed the level with getting me to write."

“Blu by that time was already doing her own thing” she says about Cantrell. “When I first met her she was just starting out, but by the time I had left New York she was becoming very successful. We used to hang out together a lot and she really encouraged me. She used to tell me that in this business you have to push yourself as hard as you can. She embedded me with the thought that to really pursue your dream is not always easy as it may seem, but if you've got determination that you should definitely keep going at it.”

Knight returned to Britain with an arsenal of songs in 2004. Signing to the soul label 2Seven Entertainment last year, she went into a studio to record 18 of these. While the album, which is as yet untitled, will come out in the summer, Knight’s debut four song EP, ‘Rock Your World’, was released at the beginning of March.

A slick combination of funk beats and upbeat pop and soul grooves, it features a succession of other singers and rappers around whom Knight weaves her honeyed vocals. In adopting a narrative approach, it finds her showcasing a rich volley of feelings and emotions.

The earthy, silken sexuality and initial optimism of the funky title track is replaced by hurt and anger on the beeping electronica and dark second song ‘Stop’ in which she realises her boyfriend has been cheating on her. The third song, the balladic ‘Every Time’, finds her starting to push aside her pain and realising that she can survive on her own, while on the jangling soul pop of the last track, ‘Shining Star’, things are brought to a happy conclusion with Savannah having found another and more reliable love.

“I have always loved pop music as well as gospel music” says Knight, who while no longer practicing regularly still goes to church occasionally.

“While I am glad I was brought up in the church because it has given me a spirituality I wouldn’t otherwise have, I think everybody should express their spirituality in their own way, and I like the idea of dealing with different issues in life and not necessarily within the environment in the church.”

“My songs are about every day life. I like to think that all the issues I have discussed or expressed myself with in my songs are day to day emotional things that anyone might go through.”

“As my songs are all based on things that have happened to me personally, I will always remember what I was going through at that time when I am singing or listening to them” she concludes. “As they are true to me, I hope that other people will relate to them. I would really like them to be true to them as well and that they will see them as being about real feelings and real emotions.”

Knight recently finished her first British tour and is looking forward to do more gig work in the future.

While it remains to be seen whether she will get the breakthrough she craves, Savannah Knight has put in the groundwork to do since a child and over nearly two decades. Her travels have lead to her development and emergence as both a singer and a songwriter.

Related Links:

Commenting On: Interview - Savannah Knight

ie London, England

tick box before submitting comment

First Previous Next Last