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Culture: Girl power

W2W (3031562)
W2W (3031562)

The Woman to Woman tour hits the road with three iconic ladies creating the ultimate supergroup. Peter Mann talks to the dynamic trio about the collaboration

A trio of iconic musicians, nearly a century of experience between them, will this autumn combine stunning beauty and immense talent across the United Kingdom.

In crossing great divides, those which see one having been born in Colombia, Sri Lanka, and another residing in Los Angeles, California, USA, then the trio of Beverley Craven, Julia Fordham and Judie Tzuke are about to embark on something special, something great, something which can only be described as a tour for the ages – it’s also a ‘Safe’ bet they’ll enjoy it as well.

The main crux of their impending tour, which begins with a special acoustic performance at the Aldeburgh Snape Maltings Concert Hall on August 19 before hitting the road in Milton Keynes, The Stables, on October 30, is the promotion of the stunning, multi-collaboration single, Safe.

The majority of the tour sold out so fast that the ladies three have added a second leg in March and April of 2019, the first part though taking in around twenty dates throughout November including the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, Edinburgh Queens Hall and The Apex, where they appear on November 3 (don’t worry if you missed out this time, they’re scheduled to be back at The Apex on March 29, 2019).

Having performed a world exclusive of Safe on Graham Norton’s BBC Radio 2 show on Easter Saturday – it’s co-written with the equally stunning Beth Nielsen Chapman – it went straight to number one on the iTunes vocal charts, leaving fans awaiting ever more so for the upcoming tour.

Speaking of the impending tour, Beverley said: “To be touring as a trio is quite simply a dream come true!

“We are all huge fans of each other’s work so to be able to come together is something special.

“Woman To Woman is a celebration of live music and sisterhood. The tour will be full of passion and performed from the heart. We cannot wait to share a stage together, create beautiful vocal harmonies with each other and collaborate on some exciting new material.”

Taking in each of the respective artists’ impressive back catalogues, some of which are still favourites to this day, each of the ladies on the Woman to Woman tour has enjoyed some amount of success.

With a deep sensing connection between them, all three are stars in their own right and are all happy working alongside each other.

“You can sense the camaraderie and see the magic right there,” stated Julia. “You can see both the strength within us, and the passion within us as well.

“We’ve been buoyed, lifted, by the palpable appreciation we’ve received, that we’re effortlessly receiving – people appreciate that we’re still here and they know all of

our songs.

“It’s a reaction, a feel good factor, which you can’t manufacture.”

Individually the trio have released more than 50 albums and countless singles with Judie’s first two offerings, Welcome to the Cruise (1979) and Sports Car (1980) achieving gold certification; Beverley would see her self-titled debut (1990) and follow-up, Love Scenes, peak in the top four of the UK albums chart; inbetween which, Julia, who began in the early eighties as a backing singer for Mari Wilson and Kim Wilde, would see her 1988 self-titled debut go platinum and the following year, Porcelain, achieve gold certification.

“It’s hard to think that it’s been 30 years since my first album,” admitted Julia. “It still feels like yesterday, timeless really.

“There’s actually a photo of me and mum in the garden (1988) when Happy Ever After was released and I’m experiencing similar now as I was then with my new music; I’m still able to bring something which is a natural fit.”

The late eighties, early nineties was when Beverley was gearing up for her own assault on the music industry. Although they never met, Beverley found herself in LA immediately prior to her debut release, it took time to take hold though.

It wasn’t until 1991, when she re-released her biggest hit, Promise Me, that the Craven name started to flow in the industry, peaking at number three in the singles chart and sending her towards achieving the Best British Newcomer Award at the 1992 Brits.

“My early success kind of washed over me,” admitted Beverley. “There was nothing to compare it to and, ultimately, motherhood took over (she was heavily pregnant with her first child when she collected her Brit Award, going on to have two more over the next four years).

“I had to keep juggling everything.” Releasing three albums and having three daughters during the nineties would be heady work.

“I’m happy that now I can just focus on the music, and very happy that they’ve moved out.”

As for the elder stateswoman, London-born Judie, who has released some 26 albums since her late-seventies debut release, it’s been an incredible four decade career to date.

It is from that early offering, Welcome to the Cruise for which Judie is best known, Stay with me till Dawn being the final song on the flip side of the 10-track release.

“I’ve loved my music, my band, we’re all such great friends,” admitted Judie of her own spell behind the mic.

“Although it would have been nice to have known these two (Beverley and Julia) for a lot longer than we have.

“I’ve always been a musical geek though and I love looking for, and listening to, new music.

“I just don’t know when it’ll all stop though. Why? Well I had my palms read when I was younger and my career line just goes on – I do it because I love it, I’d probably still be involved even if I wasn’t outing music out there.”

Introducing. . .

Judie Tzuke most certainly picked a ‘Safe’ option when she combined forced with Nashville’s own singer-songwriter, Beth Nielsen Chapman.

The multi-award winning, double grammy nominated Texan has collaborated with many a star from Sir Elton John to Joe McElderry, Faith Hill, Neil Diamond and Bette Midler among others, the collaboration for Safe with Tzuke et al is just as stunning.

“We’re really proud of it, the whole project is just magical,” glowed Tzuke.

“I met Beth (Nielsen Chapman) at a music workshop and I was lost as to what to write so, with her, and with us both having been through quite a bit in our respective lives, we both worked around what we wanted to be – Safe.”

The words resonate across a multitude of emotions and, with the addition of Fordham and Craven alongside Tzuke’s vocals (pedals by Melvin Duffy), this was meant to be.

Hearing it for the first time renders the same response with which Tzuke and Chapman had putting the masterpiece together, it’s emotional and thought-provoking.

“We were both crying when doing,” explained Judie.

“Whilst writing it we also thought it would work great in three-part harmonies and it’s amazing that Safe comes across as it does, like the three of us have known each other forever, but we actually haven’t, we’ve only really just met.

“It has had a life of its own and we’re very happy to run it.

“The song itself relates to both men and women, which is fantastic and we hope that people can feel safe even if just for that particular period.

“I’m loving all this though and we’re really excited by the snowball effect it’s having.

“After all, we’re just three singer-songwriters.”

The beautiful new single, Safe, by Judie Tzuke, Beverley Craven and Julia Fordham, co-written by Beth Nielsen Chapman, is available now via wtwlive.com with the Woman to Woman Tour scheduled for dates at The Apex on November 3 (SOLD OUT) and March 29, 2019