Throughout her long career, Jaki Graham has scored six UK top 20 singles and two top five singles in the US dance charts.
In 1994, she had an international number one smash with Ain’t Nobody and has since had huge success in countries like Australia and South Africa.
And at a ceremony held at the University’s School of Sport, Performing Arts and Leisure, on Monday, September 9, she was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music, in recognition of her outstanding international contribution to music, especially to R&B, soul and dance music
Jaki said: “What can I say, I’m overwhelmed. I never thought that through the gift of my voice, it could one day lead to receiving an academic degree.
“The fact I have been recognised for my international contribution also, not only for what I have achieved in the UK, speaks volumes. Due to my childhood and upbringing, my education is something that unfortunately suffered heavily and I’ve always been conscious of this, which is why it makes receiving this degree that extra special.
“This truly is one of my biggest ever lifetime achievements that I will treasure dearly. I hope it inspires others to realise that no matter what background you come from or what walk of life, as long as you believe in your talent and have people around you who believe in you too, the sky’s the limit.”
Born in Birmingham, Jaki’s singing career began as a member of bands, One Night Affair, SRO,Ferrari, and Medium Wave.
In 1983, she signed with EMI as a solo artist, releasing her first single What’s the Name of Your Game in 1984.
Following the release of her first album Heaven Knows, hits in the soul charts and her first UK Top 5 hit with Could It Be I’m Falling In Love, Jaki was brought in as a special guest vocalist for UB40 on a couple of their album tracks.
Since then, Jaki has released more than 20 singles and numerous albums worldwide, achieving a Guinness World Record as the first black British female solo artist to have six consecutive top 20 hits – unheard of by a black British female at that time.
Her Gershwin and Soul concert with the BBC Big Band for Radio 2 in 2009 received worldwide acclaim, with a second concert being confirmed only two weeks after the first was aired.
The summer of 2010 also saw Jaki accompany Michael McDonald and Al Green on their UK Legends Arena Tour.
In 2011, Jaki was invited to join Sir Cliff Richard on his successful Soulicious Arena Tour as his only British special guest.
Jaki released her latest studio album, For Sentimental Reasons, last year and her forthcoming autobiography Heaven Knows is due early next year.
For more information please contact Chris Jones in the Media Relations Office on 01902 322736
Date Issued: Tuesday 10 September 2013