People and Personalities
Beverley's still got the X-Factor!
Luton teacher Beverley Trotman talks about life after X-Factor, her forthcoming concert and how she's still at school!
Beverley Trotman's Soul Kitchen
Gordon Craig Theatre
Saturday 2 August 2008
After performances in X-Factor 2007, including such highlights as Nina Simone’s “Feelin’ Good” and Chaka Khan's “I’m every woman”, Beverley (Mrs Trotman of Class 6T!) has burst onto the national scene. A member of the award winning Kingdom Choir, Beverley “shines her light” while delivering songs with soulful-passion.
Last year, Luton schoolteacher Beverley Trotman wowed X-Factor judges Simon Cowell, Sharon Osborne and Louis Walsh as she made it to the live programme stage of the popular reality TV show.
Since then life has been one big whirl of singing engagements and community projects PLUS, she's still teaching!
In a few weeks time she'll be performing in her own concert in Stevenage, so we caught up with her to find out more about that - and life since the X-Factor!
You’re doing a concert at the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage aren’t you?
Beverley: Yes, what an amazing opportunity it has been for me. I’m taking the whole studio so I’m really hoping that lots of people will come along and it will be completely full. It’s called Beverley Trotman’s Soul Kitchen so I’ll be singing a bit of gospel, a bit of jazz, and I’ll be taking songs from the show [the X-Factor] so that people can still identify with it, and mixing it all together so there’ll be something for everyone hopefully. Joining me on the day will be the Luton Community Gospel Choir as the support act so that will be brilliant. It will be a really good show with a full band, backing vocals, everything!
So what’s your set going to be like?
Beverley: Obviously we’ve got my “Feeling Good” in there, then we’ve got “I Have Nothing” and “I’m Every Woman” all the big songs from the X-Factor. Then I’ve also got a couple of songs by Kirk Franklin. One if them is called “Imagine Me”, which is a real American gospel type of song and an amazing song by a lady called Jill Scott who is a “neo soul” singer and is just amazing. There’s a song called “Living My Life Like It’s Golden” and that’s how I feel at the moment. I’m able to be living my life, working two days a week as a teacher and then singing the rest of the week – it’s amazing, it really is great. And that song kind of puts it all together for me!
It does sound like you’re living the dream! So is this concert just a one-off?
Beverley: At the moment I’ll say it’s a one-off but there will hopefully be another one in February which will be at the Grove Theatre in Dunstable. I’m really hoping that this one will be very successful and that people will come out and support me, but there’s a great possibility of another one.
It sounds like you’ve been very busy since leaving the X-Factor last November? You did the X-Factor live tour as well didn’t you?
Beverley: Yes, it was a six week tour and that was brilliant. Being able to sing at the 02, Wembley Arena, and all the other different places all over the country, was just phenomenal. Everybody really enjoyed it and got into it. The competition was over, we’d found the winner so everybody was just able to sing and have a really good time.
Singing at venues like that when you have been singing since you were very young must have been a real dream?
Beverley: It was just wonderful and if I’m honest I could have sat down and said, “I’ve done it now, I don’t need to do anything else”. But that never seems to happen, you just keep going. It was brilliant and I guess it spurs you on to do more.
Well, obviously you haven’t stopped and said “that’s it”, so can you tell us what you’ve been doing since you finished the X-Factor?!
Beverley: The wonderful thing for me is that because of my Christian background I’ve been singing at quite a few big Christian festivals, Spring Harvest being one of them. I also sang at a community event called Brighton Goes Gospel where anyone off the street can come along, take a 15 week course in gospel music and then at the end there’s a big concert and I was the special guest for that. Also I had the great privilege of singing in Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral with about 600 primary school children! That was just amazing. I also supported Lemar at Gleneagles in Scotland. That was something else! My room was the size of my house! Then I was also one of the judges for a competition held in Bedford. All the big schools in Bedford hold a concert where young musicians come together with their bands and just go for it. It was a brilliant competition, we chose a very worthy winner and the prize was to sing at the Bedford River Festival.
And then there’s other little things like I’m going to a couple of school fun days and opening the fete at the Hitchin hospital and starting off the Relay For Life for Cancer Research!
Your life is just a whirlwind!
Beverley: It has been really good but I’m keeping my feet on the ground because I’m working two days a week as a supply teacher and for me that’s brilliant. I can work and I can also do my teaching, because I trained pretty hard for that and I have no intention of just throwing it away right now! Two days a week for me works really, really well and the rest of the week I’m singing somewhere! It’s just brilliant! The opportunities have been really good for me.
It must be hard to fit the teaching in but is that what keeps it all real?
Beverley: I definitely think so. I left Icknield [Primary School] purely because I felt I’d joined them and then had to go and do the X-Factor. I thought if I do supply, then that way I wouldn’t feel as guilty if I have to say “I’m really sorry but I can’t be in that day”. And being a supply teacher gives me the opportunity to meet so many other kids and I go into different schools and that’s brilliant!
One of the other things I’m doing at the moment is that I’m in talks with the Luton Music Service. The intention is to provide a service for all the schools in Luton where they can have a gospel choir. I worked for them for four years running a gospel choir in Luton way before the X-Factor but now we’re just taking it that little step further. I’m around in the daytime now so I can go into the schools and build up the choir and then have a really fantastic event at the end of it. That for me is the thing that keeps me sane and real and happy. I just think it’s really important to feed back into the community, that’s just the way I live my life.
It must be great for the kids when you turn up as a supply teacher and they know who you are?!
Beverley: It is very exciting but we just calm it all down very, very quickly and then just get on with the day!
It sounds like the X-Factor has really changed your life, but you’ve been singing all your life so why did you decide to go for it at that particular time of your life?
Beverley: There were a couple of major things that happened for me. In 2006 on Mother’s Day my mum died. She was my grandmother really, but she was the one that brought me up. My natural mother died when I was four. So when my grandmother died I kind of took it quite hard, and it was quite a tough time for me.
I had also just started to get to know my natural father (who I wasn’t brought up with) during the previous two years on and off, but he died in June of the same year.
I know it sounds really simple but I just thought, “what can Simon [Cowell] say to me?” I’ve been through so much this year alone and pain and hurt.
[I didn’t do it before] because there was always the fear that actually they [the judges] won’t think you’re very good. It takes a lot of guts to stand up in front of those people, you’re open, and you’re vulnerable and they can say what they like to you, so I didn’t go for it before purely because of fear, and I guess with the death of those key people in my life, the fear just kind of went.
I suppose when you’ve been that low you feel that you couldn’t feel any worse, but, the judges were nice to you in the end weren’t they?!
Beverley: Well, absolutely! After the first audition I was in shock because you don’t know what they want. It’s a TV show so you’re never sure what they’re looking for. Being that little bit older I tried to analyse it and thought well I could get to the third stage and that will be it for me, and then I could go back to school and say, “Hey guys I tried it, you can try something!”. But it just kept going and kept going and I really appreciated the opportunity!
It sounds like that from going in with a “life’s too short” attitude, it was a very positive experience?
Beverley: Well, that was the experience for me, but there were a lot of elements to it. There were still times in there when you could get quite down and things would happen and you’d think “Oh my goodness, why did I do this?”! But, as a summary, I would say to anyone, “Do it” because you’re experience will not be mine. I’ve come out of it and I’ve held my head up very high and I’m very proud of myself. People stop me in the street even now. I was stopped yesterday in the Arndale Centre by an older lady and she said to me “You have made me feel so proud”. My grandmother hasn’t been around to see it, and she hasn’t been around to say that to me, so to have an older person say that to me in the town centre is just amazing.
Are you still in touch with Louis Walsh, your mentor in the show?
Beverley: No, they are what they are. They’re mentors, they’re TV stars, they’re with you and they help you and they are really lovely to you while you’re there but then when it’s over, it’s over. I’ve got no problem with that. In fairness to Louis though, I have spoken to him about three times since the show and he’s wished me all the best so I can’t be that harsh to him! For them it’s a job though, and they’ve given me a great opportunity and I’ve taken it and I’m running with it.
Do you look at it differently now that a bit of time has passed?
Beverley: Yes – although I knew this when I was in it - but it really is a TV show. You go on believing it’s a talent show but it’s a TV show and that’s fair enough. I didn’t know that before I went in it, but I realised that while I was in it, and because I realised that I can say that that was the part of my life that led to this, so it was great! I’m not bitter about any of it at all and I’m glad that I did it - but it’s a TV show!
So, when you say it’s a TV show, you mean that you’re there for the entertainment of other people and it’s not about developing you as a person. But I guess afterwards, if it gives you opportunities then it’s up to you to take them?
Beverley: Exactly, which is why I could never say it was a bad thing. I will always say it was a positive experience, I will always say I’m glad I did it and I will say to anyone that wants to do it, “do it”, because your experience will not be mine. Go and do it because you just never know!
It seems to be non-stop for you anyway! You’re doing all this stuff with Luton Music, but what are your hopes for the future? Is it to so more of that or would you like to make albums and stuff?!
Beverley: There are a few things I want to do. I want to make sure that I’m still feeding into my community. I trained in Luton as a teacher and so it’s my intention to make sure that I still play my part. There aren’t that many teachers of colour in Luton and I believe that it’s really important that there are role models for people – be they black, white, Asian, whatever – we need role models and I trained and I’m not going to throw that away.
The next thing I want to make sure that I do is in terms of music and working with the Luton Music Service, through my church, and also through the Luton Community Gospel Choir. I want to make sure that I’m feeding into the community on a music level as well.
And yes – I am going to be recording an album and hopefully I can come back and play it here! So there are quite a few things that I’m shooting at and they are all in the pipeline and all working at the moment.
You have a wonderful positive energy and are a great role model for Luton because it doesn’t always get a good press does it?
Beverley: Oh goodness me, it doesn’t. When I was in Scotland at Gleneagles somebody was saying something [bad] about Luton and I was saying “Oh no, Luton’s great! It’s about the people and the people are great!” We’ve got such a cultural mix and we’re working hard to make sure that we’re altogether and that’s really important, so wherever and whenever I can, I champion Luton.
What about your family – how have they dealt with all of this?
Beverley: My family are just wonderful. My husband is the one who is behind a lot of these things. He works full time and is a full time dad but he also manages me basically, although he says he doesn’t! But I don’t get away with much! But everything he does, I know that he’s doing it for our family so that things can go forward and be better. A lot of these things are down to him, he is just amazing on every level. And my children are just brilliant, they’re working really hard and doing well at school and they deal with it. They’ve got their own activities. My son plays football for Luton Town, he’s just been signed for another season, and again, Luton Town FC aren’t doing very well at the moment but we’re still there behind it and championing it and hoping that they will come up again. We’re Lutonians through and through and we’re doing all we can!
last updated: 26/06/2008 at 13:29
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