Interview: Kris Berry
Graham Clark, Features Writer
Worldwide jazz superstar and two times Grammy award winner Gregory Porter has personally invited Kris Berry to support him on his 14 date UK tour which visits Leeds Arena on Friday 13 April and Sheffield City Hall on Sunday 15 April.
With inspiration from The likes of Billie Holiday, the Nat King Cole Trio and Erykah Brady her music displays a maturity and deep understanding beyond her years. She has 276k monthly listeners on Spotify and has just released her new single, Perfect Storm.
I had a chat with her just after the first few dates of the tour.
HOW DID THE GREGORY PORTER TOUR COME ABOUT?
Gregory phoned me and asked me if I wanted to do it. Of course I was delighted and said yes. I have actually known Gregory for quite a few years now, we have met too at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam and our paths have crossed many times.
THE TOUR BRINGS YOU TO YORKSHIRE AND THE LEEDS ARENA
I am looking forward to coming back to Yorkshire. I have been to Leeds before when I supported Caro Emerald on tour, it is such a big venue to play. I am so excited, it is going to be be great. The tour started at the Royal Albert Hall in London, such a sacred place. I tried to give it my best and enjoy every minute of it. I tried not to over think too much and not to try to analyse everything but to try to take in the moment, I felt so humble.
The Leeds gig is one of the biggest venues on the tour, of course I get nervous beforehand. I have several rituals I have before I go on stage so I can deliver and do my best.
WHO ARE YOUR INFLUENCES?
There are so many, all from different phases in my life so far. I grew up in a Caribbean island. Music my grandma influenced me a lot, mostly old school music like Chuck Berry, Nina Simone, Billie Holliday and then later on artists like Erykah Badu. I moved to the Netherlands when I was 20 years old. I first met Gregory in 2011 and around that time I was able to quit my day job.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT THE NEW ALBUM, BERRY STREET
Sure, Berry Street is very autobiographical. A lot of the songs are about empowerment, trying to be happy with all that you have. I will be performing tracks off the album on the tour and a few jazz standards such as The Very Thought of You that Sara Vaughan did a version of and Nat King Cole recorded too, it was actually a pop song back in the day, though the song was written in the early thirties by Ray Noble.
WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO RECORD A DUET WITH?
Gregory Porter of course! I support him a lot in all he does. His set varies a lot each night of the tour. My set lasts for thirty minutes and I would say to the people coming to the Leeds concert that I would like to see them and welcome them all. I promise to do my best. I meet the audience members at the interval at the merchandise desk and the people I have met so far have been brilliant and the reactions they have fed back to me have been great.
Kris Berry supports Gregory Porter at Leeds Arena on Friday 13 April and Sheffield City Hall on Sunday 15 April.
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Interview: Kris Berry, 9th April 2018, 22:29 PM