Singer Heather Small says happiness if the best revenge

The one lesson I’ve learned from life: Singer Heather Small says happiness if the best revenge

  • The 57-year-old is more confident in my 50s then I was in my 20s 
  • Her life’s motto is that if you’re happy then success will follow
  • She doesn’t need alcohol to dance the night away because it’s about the music
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Heather Small, 57, found fame in the 1990s as the lead singer of M People, with iconic dance tracks including Moving On Up, before going on to release a solo album, Proud, in 2000. She lives in West London and has a son, James, 25.

Happiness is the Best Revenge

I’m more confident in my 50s then I was in my 20s, because I understand myself far better. It’s a privilege to get older — what’s the alternative?

Other people’s opinions have become less important as I’ve grown older. At first, some people thought I wasn’t singing on M People’s tracks and that it wasn’t my voice while we were performing on tour. But being happy and successful was the best revenge.

Heather Small, 57, found fame in the 1990s as the lead singer of M People, with iconic dance tracks including Moving On Up, before going on to release a solo album, Proud, in 2000. She lives in West London and has a son, James, 25

If you’re happy, success will follow. That’s my life motto. For any working mother, a successful career is one thing, but successful parenting is another, and combining the two has made me feel a great sense of achievement. Singing was my absolute love, and I wanted nothing more than to perform and travel the world, but when I had my son, my priorities changed. I thought to myself I still want to do both and be the best mother I can be — that would make me happy, that would make me feel like a success.

I didn’t take any time off from singing when I had James — when he was six weeks old I went back on tour and that was the toughest thing I’ve ever done.

My best friend and my mother both came with us, and we just got on with it. I kept touring because when you’re in a band, you make commitments and I didn’t want to let anyone down. It also provided security for my son.

I’m more confident in my 50s, says Heather Small, then I was in my 20s, because I understand myself far better. It’s a privilege to get older — what’s the alternative?

I’m always nervous before I go on stage but being prepared is most important. So I do my vocal exercises and have certain drinks, such as herbal tea — nothing alcoholic because I’m teetotal.

It’s all about keeping fit and healthy and practising mindfulness. I was committed to this lifestyle before it became popular. I was disciplined because it was a dream come true for a black, working-class girl from a council estate, and I wasn’t going to throw it way. Anyway, I don’t need alcohol to dance the night away. For me, it’s all about the music.

  • Heather Small is on tour with Young Voices, the largest children’s choir concerts in the world (youngvoices.co.uk).

Interview by STEPHANIE TAKYI

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