Singer and West End star Beverley Knight has told HELLO! how turning 50 has made her feel more powerful and confident than ever before.
In an exclusive interview and photoshoot, Beverley tells how she's celebrating her milestone birthday by embarking on her "50" UK tour and releasing her first album in seven years, aptly titled The Fifth Chapter.
Beverley Knight and the big 50
"When women turn 50 it can be a difficult time because society often tells them that they're done, but my answer to that is that I'm only just beginning," she says. "I had no fear of reaching 50. I wanted to celebrate the time in life where women really come into their power. And that for me is right now.
"When I was young, 50 seemed old but now it's not old at all. Kylie isn't old; JLo isn't old. We're in the median of our lives. People used to say that life begins at 40 and that's when I think the motor takes over, but you really get into sixth gear in your fifties. I feel like I'm at an age now where I'll say what the hell I want, and that's liberating.
"I've shed the kind of neurosis that we have in our twenties, thirties and sometimes into our forties. While I always had supreme confidence in my abilities as a musician, I didn't always like what I saw in the mirror. I wasn't comfortable in my own skin, and I would find fault. Now, the faults are still there but I'm like, whatever."
Beverley Knight and menopause challenges
However, she finds the menopause "challenging".
"The heat, the flushes and the brain fog, which is the worst bit for me. I forget everyday words, which is so frustrating. Before I consider HRT, I am working with a functional practitioner, who is helping me to understand what these symptoms are and checking my bloodwork to see where I'm deficient."
Beverley Knight's husband
Beverley, whose recording career goes back to the 1990s, has appeared on stage in The Bodyguard, Cats, Sister Act and Sylvia, for which she recently won an Olivier Award. Her new album is a mix of disco, funk, gospel and ballads and among the tracks is one called Not Prepared For You, which reminds her of how she fell for husband James O'Keefe, 47, back in 2007.
"It's about a relationship where you weren't ready to meet someone, but they've knocked you out, and that is kind of how I see my husband," she says. "When I met him, I had just come out of a relationship and I was very happily single. I was a woman who had no intention of getting married or having children, but on our first date I knew something deep was happening that I can't quite put into words. All I can say is that I just knew."
Beverley Knight's new studio album The Fifth Chapter is out now. For tickets for the "50" tour visit beverleyknight.com/live-events.
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