Talking Music: Beth Hart Discusses Live Shows - Part 1
GRAMMY Award-nominated blues-rock star Beth Hart brings her remarkable voice to Cardiff’s St David’s Hall on Saturday 21 April.
When Beth sings, clocks stop, hearts dance and neck-hair tingles – and when she tells her rollercoaster story in a West Coast drawl that could distil whisky at 50 paces, it’s every bit as compelling!
In the first part of an interview with Beth, she discusses her new tour and playing for live audiences in the UK.
What’s the best gig that you’ve been to, or has inspired you the most?
Oh my god, I don’t go to many gigs. I remember going to a Patti Labelle concert when I was 16. That was amazing. I was with my best friend, who was a massive fan of hers, and she was just so genius and amazing and how she talked to the crowd and got the crowd going.
I remember at some point she started peeling off her eye lashes and giving them away to people (laughs). She took off like her fur coat and gave that to somebody. She took off her pantyhose and gave that to somebody too. I don’t know what she did, but she did some cool stuff and it was pretty inspirational and that voice, she’s from another planet.
What is your favourite part of touring and what is your least favourite part of it?
That’s so funny, I was just talking to my husband about it, sometimes I adore it and the things I adore are to get to play to people, change up the set – we change it up every night. It’s that challenge of that, remembering something that you pull out that you haven’t played for a couple of years, or however many years. Even though we take it through in soundcheck, it’s still like ‘Oh my god, how badly am I going to screw this up?’ but I like that, I like that challenge of that.
I love getting to have different food and getting to be around different people and different cultures and different ways people look at life. It’s really kind of helped me open up my mind and see the world from different perspectives. So, I think that’s a really cool thing, a humbling and cool thing for me. And then my band and crew, they are like family, so, and I don’t have children or anything, so it’s like I get to have that feeling of family, when we’re out here.
So, things I don’t like, sometimes I can get lonely. Everybody comes early to set up and to do everything at the gig and then I usually stay at the hotel until around 2:30 – 3:30 until I get picked up, there’s only so many things that I can do, so I go like swimming, I go to a local pool or gym or something like that but I am alone a lot and that can get a little depressing – kind of like I’m in my own head and that kind of thing. I don’t like that so much and if I ever have like vocal problems or I over sing, you know, and if I have vocal problems, I get really stressed out with that. So those are some of the thing I don’t like.
What’s your favourite UK venue so far, and why do you like it so much?
God, I wouldn’t be able to tell you the name of the venues. I’m not very good at remembering that kind of thing but I remember being at the Royal Albert Hall that one time and I thought that that was beautiful.
Oh, and there was another place that was a theatre, it was kind of like a big theatre, but not as large as there [the Royal Albert Hall]. God, I wish I could remember the name of that because that was a great place, I loved that place. I’m so sorry my memory is not great with the names of stuff but we have played quite a few places that I really enjoy in the UK. I find them all cool, nice and great sound, usually really great sound.
Do you have a favourite sound check song?
No, because we are always working on new stuff. So, we don’t really do the same stuff too much but yeah, not really.
Do you have a pre-show ritual? If so what is it?
Just, you know, the boring stuff like, like vocalising and making sure I do some yoga. Meditation is really good, I do that a lot with my bass player Bob and we do TM, transcendental meditation, very relaxing. I think I like it because you really can’t do it wrong, you know, it’s a pretty easy way to meditate. Then I do my make-up and getting my outfit out or whatever I am going to wear and then really working on the set list. I do a little rehearsing backstage as well, I set up the piano backstage and stuff.
What is your favourite part about playing live?
Trying to make that soul connection with people and I can’t really describe it other than I just know when it’s connecting. I feel this real sense of connection like human connection with people and it’s a beautiful feeling and when that feeling is not there it is scary and hard (laughs). So, it’s just because I’m so insecure, I read into everything way too much and all that but when I do feel that connection it’s such a beautiful feeling, I love it so much – I just feel close with everybody, it’s really nice.
How do like to relax on a day off during a tour?
Scotty and I like to go shopping or we love to go to the zoo and we love to go to museums. So, we’ve always done that together, I just adore that. Sometimes I get a massage but really, I am the happiest when I get to go to the zoo or when I get to go to the museum. It’s just so wonderfully inspirational, so beautiful.
- To book seats, visit www.stdavidshallcardiff.co.uk or call the Box Office on 029 2087 8444.
- Read part 2 of this interview with Beth Hart tomorrow.