There can’t be a more fitting track to be performed at one of the region’s biggest LGBT events than Heather Small’s Proud.
The lady herself will be performing the anthemic track next weekend at Newcastle Pride as part of a weekend of live music at the city’s Town Moor.
Famed for her powerful vocals, Heather stormed the charts as the voice of M People with hits such as Moving On Up, One Night in Heaven and Search for the Hero, before enjoying success as a solo artist.
Her solo track Proud has been used as the theme song for a host of top sporting events and it’s a song that Newcastle Pride has taken to its heart.
“It’s a celebration of saying, not in an arrogant way, how deeply proud you are of being yourself, and there’s nothing wrong with that kind of self acceptance,” said Heather. “It’s a very positive thing in life when you have that self confidence to be yourself.
“I grew up as a black girl and it was hard to know your place, it’s different today, but I can still relate to the gay community.
“They even use it in school assemblies and it shows how that theme of self acceptance is something we all want, we all want the same of things. It’s a way of moving forward with your sense of self that doesn’t alienate others.”
Heather, who will headline as part of a day of entertainment, says people can expect tracks from her former band too.
She said: “There’ll be M People hits too, I always sing what I’m known for. It’s great to get to a point in your career where you sing a few bars and people start cheering and joining in. I never tire of those songs, they’re intrinsic to me. People can expect a lot of energy from my set, a lot of love and fervour.”
Over the years, Heather’s had many highlights. “Glastonbury was amazing,” she recalls “We were this pop dance act and we weren’t sure how we’d go down, but the sun was shining and there was a real feeling of togetherness.
“Playing Old Trafford with Simply Red was amazing too, the crowd was huge. It really helped me with learning how to really perform for a crowd.”
While Heather will be headlining on July 17, with performances on the day running from 2pm until 8pm, 5ive, now featuring original members Scott Robinson, Ritchie Neville and Sean Conlon, will be headlining Newcastle Pride’s Main Stage on July 16, with music running from noon until 8pm.
As well as Heather, Sunday’s line up will also include appearances by former Brother Beyond star, Nathan Moore and 90s favourite, Sonia.
•We’ve teamed up with Newcastle Pride to give away a pair of VIP weekend tickets. Although the festival is free. the VIP experience is worth £45 each.
The VIP area has its own marquee and bar and garden area with tables and chairs. The VIP area will be situated next to the stage this year plus ticket holders will have full access to the Gold Circle. You may also get to mingle with the performers as the VIP bar is where they can go to chill and have a drink (no guarantees).
To be in with a chance of winning a pair of VIP tickets, answer this question: which band did Heather Small used to perform with?
A) M People
B) B Side
C) X Men
Fill in your answer and contact details on a postcard and return it to Pride Competition, Katy Wheeler, Johnston Press North East, 2nd Floor, Alexander House, 1 Mandarin Road, Rainton Bridge Business Park, Houghton.
Alternatively, email your answer and contact details to Katy.Wheeler@jpress.co.uk
Closing date: July 15.