Marking 10 years since Adele’s debut album 19 was released, X Factor finalist Katie Markham brings an incredible performance to Lighthouse, Poole’s centre for the arts, on 18 January. The immaculate concert production recreates the magic of Adele’s music from her three hit albums, 19, 21 and 25, in a timely reminder of why audiences fell love with the Adele songbook.
When Katie was selected by Adele to appear in the BBC Adele Special presented by Graham Norton, she never dreamed she would sing live with her idol on stage in London and launch a brand-new UK touring show all within a year. Here, she takes a moment to answer some questions especially for us…
Q: It’s quite unusual for an artist to sing alongside their own tribute, let alone one they handpicked, how did it feel to perform with Adele and did you pick up any tips?
A: At the time I first appeared on the “Jenny” sketch we did not know Adele was watching. I was sent on first because I was quite suspicious about what was happening. Later, when I got to sing with Adele, I was just completely blown away to be singing with a musical hero of mine.
Q: How do you approach the role – do you go for a faithful recreation of Adele’s delivery or is there something of Katie in your performance as well?
A: I’ve always been an Adele fan and her songs naturally fell into my set whenever I was performing. I was singing at an event one day and was told that I sounded like Adele. I think I started performing her songs properly as a full show around 2011. I remember falling in love with the 21 album and adding more and more of the tracks to my gigs that eventually it just made sense to do a tribute to her.
Q: You must know the songs as well as Adele, they are as popular as ever, but why do you think they are standing the test of time so well?
A: For me, she has the incredible ability to take you back how you felt at a particular moment in your life. The 21 album is the fourth biggest album ever in the UK and is truly the definition of a timeless record. It is a very emotional album.
Q: You were at the centre of a life-changing experience in The X Factor, what advice would you give to talented young singers who are looking for a break into the professional world?
A: I think I would tell them to get out there and actually sing in whatever venue was available as often as possible. There are always opportunities for those with talent who keep working hard and pushing themselves. I think the key point is to get out of your comfort zone and do things that put you under pressure as it is the best way to grow. If you are too comfortable you will find yourself stuck in a rut. There will be many heartbreaks and setbacks along the way but eventually it will pay off.
Q: Besides Adele, what music inspires you and do you write any of your own material?
A: I have many musical inspirations but the ones I always return to are the big divas such as Whitney Houston, Adele, Celine Dion, Etta James, Barbara Streisand etc. I think that they all have made music that will be remembered long after we are all gone.
Q: What would you like to be doing in your career a year from now?
A: I take life as it comes and feel blessed to be doing something I love. I am completely happy at the moment with this show. We are constantly changing things up to keep things exciting and hopefully we can continue for many years to come. I would love to perform in a big West End show at some point down the line but for now I am happy to enjoy this journey and see where it takes me.