Beverley Craven is an English singer/songwriter and pianist, specialising in orchestrated ballads that position her as a kind of easy-listening Kate Bush. Since 1990, she has recorded a handful of albums for Epic, and though each has sold less than its predecessor, she remains a popular live figure, her profile only dented by long lay-offs between recordings.
Craven (b. 28th July 1963, Colombo, Sri Lanka) grew up in Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire, England. Encouraged by her mother, a classical violinist, she took up piano at the age of seven. Upon leaving school, she attended art college, whilst performing with various bands in London pubs, and writing songs. When her compositions came to the attention of Bobby Womack, she was invited to tour Europe with him for several months as a backing vocalist. In the late 1980s she signed a publishing deal with Warner Chappell Music, followed by a recording contract with Epic. Sessions for her debut album were initially supervised by Simply Red producer Stewart Levine, but Craven considered the results too glibly commercial, and started from scratch with veteran Carly Simon producer Paul Samwell-Smith, a choice far more in keeping with her subdued, confessional songwriting. Following the astonishing success of her first single "Promise Me," now widely acclaimed as a contemporary standard, her self-titled debut album exploded throughout Europe. Intriguingly, when the Levine versions of such hits as "Holding On" and "Memories" appeared as b-sides, they were labelled, with obvious derision, as "west coast version". At the 1992 Brit awards, eight months pregnant with her first child, Craven took Best British Newcomer, performing to an enraptured audience. Since then, Craven's career has lost momentum. She has devoted time to her three daughters with songwriter husband Colin Campsie (whose work has appeared on albums by Natalie Imbruglia and Bewitched), and recorded only occasionally. Subsequent albums have not lived up to the commercial standard set by her debut, although she remains an intermittently active presence both on the lower reaches of the UK chart, and with the occasional concert hall gig. ~ Charles Donovan