June 28: "Promise Me" singer-songwriter Beverley Craven is 48-years-old today.

British singer-songwriter Beverley Craven is best known for her 1991 UK Top 5 hit single "Promise Me.” Her most recent album, Close To Home, was released in 2009. Craven has sold over 4 million records in her career.

Craven was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka. When she was two, her family returned to Hertfordshire. She began taking piano lessons at the age of seven encouraged by her mother who was a classical violinist. She was also an accomplished swimmer during her teens and competed in several local and national swimming competitions around the UK.

When she was a teenager, Craven started buying records by singer-songwriters such as Elton John, Judi Tzuke, Stevie Wonder and Kate Bush, all of whom influenced her music.

At 18 she left school and her home and worked in a number of odd jobs. When she was 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, she recorded her first set of demos and attracted the attention of Go West’s manager, John Glover. He secured a major music publishing deal for her with Warner Brothers. A development contract with Epic records followed.

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The Very Best Of Beverley Craven

In November 1988 she was sent to Los Angeles to work with established songwriters and played in bars and restaurants. She made her first attempt to record her debut album with Stewart Levine of Simply Red fame, but the record never materialized. 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 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 more than 1.2 million copies worldwide. Other singles released to promote the album, including "Holding On" and "Woman To Woman" were less successful.

In 1992 she released a videotape titled Memories, recorded live at the Birmingham Symphony Hall. Later 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 as a new mother and recorded 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 did contain 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 albums lead single, "I Miss You" was only released as a promo single as the label refused to release it commercially. Also in 1999, Craven contributed lead vocals on the song "The Very Last Time,” included on the album The Time Machine, by Alan Parsons. After promotion for her album ended, Craven left Epic Records and retired from the music industry.

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. Shortly after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Following treatment, she returned to the stage in 2006.

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 video clip of the song.

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 is now working on an autobiography.



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