The British soul and R&B singer Beverley Knight has sung with the likes of Prince, supported Take That on their 2006 comeback tour and now is preparing for her first performance in Abu Dhabi next week as part of the Formula One weekend. Born into a gospel-singing family from Jamaica, Knight, who grew up in Wolverhampton in the UK's West Midlands, began writing songs at the age of 13 and signed her first record deal at 21. She has released six albums, with the most successful, Who I Am, reaching No 7 in the British album charts. Hit singles such as Shoulda Woulda Coulda have earned her three Mobo (Music of Black Origin) awards. She received an MBE, Member of the Order of the British Empire, from the Queen three years ago for her charity work and contribution to the music scene. Now she is scheduled to sing at the glamorous black tie Abu Dhabi Chequered Flag Ball in the run-up to the grand prix. She will be joined at the event on Friday at the InterContinental hotel in the capital by the host Eddie Jordan, the founder of Jordan Grand Prix. "I have been to Dubai many times but this is my first time to Abu Dhabi so I am very excited," Knight, 37, said.
To book tickets for the Chequered Flag Ball, call 04 445 6842 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
MY ROLE MODEL... My mother is a titan of strength and grace. She came to England in 1962 with nothing apart from a huge ambition to do well for her future children.
MY DREAM COME TRUE... I was nine years old when I heard Little Red Corvette on TV and the magnetism hit me from the screen. I opened for Prince at his London concert in 2007 and the next year when he invited me to his home to sing at his post-Oscars party I kept thinking, is this really happening?
MY FIRST ALBUM... was Michael Jackson's Off The Wall. I begged my sister to get it for me because I wasn't old enough. I now have in excess of 10,000 albums.
MY LOVE OF MUSIC… began when I first sang in church at the age of four. MY INSPIRATION... I am inspired by the vocals of Sam Cooke and Aretha Franklin but there are many people in my life who give me inspiration.
MY WORK ETHOS... Dedication, discipline and ambition.
There is a picture of me and my family from when I was little and because I lost my dad so recently, I have realised the value of a photo. Suddenly I want to gather every photo that has my dad in it. This one has me, my dad, my sister Cynthia and my younger brother Adrian in it. I am wearing this blue check dress and socks with sandals. I must have been 10 at the time and look completely happy. It was taken on an old leather settee in my mum's house in Wolverhampton, where she still lives. It is the only house I have ever known as my parents moved there after they got married in 1968. If I could pack up the house and take it with me wherever I go, I would. It is a treasured possession with 42 years of precious memories.
Black Audi S5 convertible
It is fast and gorgeous. Whenever I'm driving it, guys look and then look again when they realise there's a woman behind the wheel. I bought it four months ago but I have always had Audis. It has all the trimmings, from black-and-red leather bucket seats to satellite navigation. I am definitely a car person - I buy a new one every year and always watch Top Gear.
I am obsessed with shoes and own in excess of 450 pairs. I signed my first deal while I was at university at the age of 21 and the second I had some money, the first thing I did to celebrate was buy a pair of Jimmy Choos. They were simple pointed black court shoes with a four-inch heel but I was shaking as I handed over the money - that £300 [Dh1,725] was the most I had ever spent on a pair at that time. That was 16 years ago and I've had a lot more pairs since - I buy one pair a week. I have a room full to the brim, they are under my bed, in the basement - I don't have enough space for them. My favourites are my Yves Saint Laurent brown mules with enamel lips on them and a pair of glittery platform Louboutins with three straps.
Philippe Starck spectacles
The minute I am out of view of the public, I live in my glasses. The contact lenses come out and when the glasses go on, I am just Beverley at home with her parents, Doris and Edward. I have been wearing glasses since I was six years old as I am Mrs Myopic and they are part of my personality now. They keep me down-to-earth and grounded.
I tend to go back to Topshop as their Jamie jeans are really good and comfy. I own lots of pairs in different colours. Everything I do, I do to excess. I don't always wear designer brands and love the British high street.
These have got to have a separate mention - I wore these when I performed with Prince. Every time I look at them, I think of that night.
Long Walk To Freedom by Nelson Mandela and the Bible
I am struck by the grace this man had to go from prison to presidency and put in a law that forgave those who imprisoned him. He was fallible but a wonderful man and we can all learn from his example. I go back to it time and again. My copy is getting very dog-eared. The other book I revert to is the Bible. I was raised in a strong and loving Christian home and there are a lot of tenets of the faith that bring me comfort. It is on my iPhone and I look at it every other day for inspiration.
Phillips Pro Juicer
I went to a retreat in Turkey which involved living on juices for a week and I have been juicing ever since. The difference it has made to my skin and energy levels is incredible. I have at least two a day and make my own vegetable drinks from spinach, celery, beetroot and carrot.