Mica Paris is one of the UK’s finest and most respected singers with a long career of hit singles and albums and she is set to appear at the Apex next month.
The British Queen of Soul was born and raised in London and grew up singing in her grandparents’ church. At the age of 17, she became a backing vocalist with the UK band Hollywood Beyond, appearing on their album, “If” in 1985.
The range, power, soul and deep emotion in Mica’s singing voice made an immediate impact on the UK music scene in August 1988, when she released her debut album, the platinum selling “So Good”. The album included her first Top 10 hit “My One Temptation” which peaked at number seven in the UK charts, as well as a collaboration with jazz saxophonist Courtney Pine on “Like Dreamers Do” and “Breathe Life into Me”, both Top 30 hits.
Mica has since gone on to release six more albums, perform in several West End productions, and become a popular media personality, from hosting her own Radio 2 soul show to being a panellist on ITV’s “Loose Women” and more recently, an addition to the cast of Eastenders. Her work was recognised in the 2020 Birthday Honours when she was appointed an MBE for services to music, entertainment and charity.
In August 2020, BBC4 broadcast a special one-off documentary titled “Gospel According To Mica – The Story Of Gospel Music In Six Songs”. The programme traced gospel’s journey through six songs from the American south, all the way through to 2019 when Stormzy performed “Blinded By Your Grace Part II” in his Glastonbury headline set.
The documentary inspired Mica to record her first album in over 10 years. Recorded with the Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir, the album “Gospel” seamlessly weaves together new material, traditional gospel classics and contemporary covers.
Mica says: “My documentary the ‘Gospel According to Mica’ for the BBC was a game changer for me. I realised my voice had matured and the pain of my struggles added a new strength. I was so inspired to see artists like Stormzy make Gospel music current again. Today we all face challenges like we’ve never had before, and faith in the future will help us all through this, and I hope my album will inspire people to have hope.”
Reaching number one in the UK R&B Album charts, the album features two new original songs, “The Struggle”, which tells the story of Mica’s meeting with Gladys Knight and “Mamma Said”, inspired by Mica’s grandmother who first encouraged her to sing in church.
Beautiful classics like Labi Siffre’s “(Something Inside) So Strong” and John Newton’s hymn “Amazing Grace” sit alongside Mica’s powerful gospel rendition of Foreigner’s “I Want To Know What Love is” and spellbinding versions of Rag ‘N’ Bone Man’s “Human’”and U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”.
Mica adds: “Recording this album has been a watershed moment in my life. My life over the last 32 years has been one of triumphs and challenges. Going back to my gospel roots has given me hope and faith at a time when we all need it and I hope others will feel the same.
“In these uncertain times it’s the power of music that will get us through this. Some of the best songs in life have brought me through the toughest periods of isolation. This album has been my favourite to record. When I sing, I feel free. I hope people will be uplifted as I am from these songs.”
Mica Paris will perform at the Apex on Monday, December 13, at 7.30pm. Ring the box office on 01284 758000 or see the website, www.theapex.co.uk for more details.