For one night only The Alexandra theatre in Birmingham hosted an incredible tribute to Gladys Knight, the Empress of Soul. 

The legendary singer’s music was brought to passionate life in a searing portrayal by East Midlands singer, Hayley-Ria Christian.

Born in Georgia in 1944, the legendary Gladys Knight began singing with her siblings at age 8, calling themselves “The Pips”. The group opened for many R&B legends in the 1950’s before heading to Motown and making a distinctive name for themselves.

The production included beautiful lighting, glittery costumes and soulful singingJonathon Cuff
The production included beautiful lighting, glittery costumes and soulful singing

The iconic singer is now listed on Rolling Stone’s list of the Greatest Singers of All Time, and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The Alexandra stage became the setting for a glorious tribute to Gladys Knight on Thursday evening. The production included beautiful lighting and sparkling outfits that really lit up the stage with dynamic energy.

Hayley-Ria Christian captured Knight’s charismatic persona and essence in a performance that evoked the style, grace and natural warmth of the Motown legend.

Hayley-Ria Christian is impeccable and charismatic as Gladys KnightJonathon Cuff
Hayley-Ria Christian is impeccable and charismatic as Gladys Knight

Christian is a gifted artist, and her performance was proof of her immense talent. Her strong vocals wove magic throughout the night, effortlessly riding the crest of the music provided by a thrilling live band and backing singers.

Featuring hit songs such as ‘Baby Don’t Change Your Mind’, ‘Help Me Make it Through the Night’, ‘Try to Remember / The Way We Were’, ‘Part Time Love’ and her signature tune ‘Midnight Train To Georgia’.

After the interval, when the band returned to the stage, Christian’s rendition of James Bond theme ‘License to Kill’ was so powerful and glittery that you expected 007 himself to come careering across the stage in an Aston Martin. Christian’s lyrical delivery was so palpable that it conjured up visual images in the mind.

The show includes many of Gladys Knight's bestselling songsJonathon Cuff
The show includes many of Gladys Knight’s bestselling songs

Christian not only paid a beautiful homage to Gladys Knight but also entertained the audience with songs by other musicians including Gloria Gaynor and Prince.

The rapport between singer and audience was so good that Christian soon had people singing and dancing along in the aisles.

This hip-shaking, toe-tapping, and finger-clicking experience was a joyous and unmissable celebration of a singer whose music remains timeless.

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