Q&A with The Three Degrees

This September we welcome The Three Degrees to the Corn Exchange stage. We talk with original members Helen Scott and Valerie Holiday, who are still part of the trio, as they tell us some of their favourite memories.

The Three Degrees have been touring for 50 years – What is the secret to your success? 

Helen: It's no secret! We enjoy every moment on stage and it shows. We are motivated and the audiences seem to appreciate that.

What was it like being signed to Philadelphia International Records and working alongside such artists as Billy Paul, The O’Jays, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes? 

Valerie: It was great working with (Kenny) Gamble and (Leon) Huff. They had great writers and great producers. But honestly the only time we really all worked together was when we did the Philadelphia International tour in the UK! We didn't get to intermingle that much because we were all working. Plus, in our case, we worked internationally far more and were seldom in the US. The other acts tended to work inside the US more.

The Three Degrees have many musical hits including, When Will I See You Again and Take Good Care of Yourself. Is there a favourite song that you share or have? 

Helen: Wow! Well, obviously When Will I See You Again because of what it means to us but also to so many people. It's allowed us to do so many things and visit so many places in our career. For us, it's become almost a standard. 

Valerie: Of course, yes, When Will I See You Again because it's allowed us to make so many friends all over the world. Without that song it may never have been possible. We have to sing that song every time we are on stage so that makes it special, people seem to really like and appreciate the lyrics too.

You will be flying over from the USA for your performances here in the UK – what do you particularly enjoy about coming to visit us? 

Valerie: Easy, the people! Oh and Marks & Spencer! Our fans in the UK are different from anywhere else in the world. They are very supportive and always have been... and very vocal! Like they are at a football game!

Helen: I agree! The audiences... and really people in general are so supportive. But not the weather! And I love fish & chips in England, like nowhere else in the world! I also appreciate the history and traditions of the country.

What do you love most about touring and performing live? 

Helen: We love performing! It allows us the flexibility because every night the audience is different. Never two shows the same! We never know from night to night what will happen. It's very unpredictable and keeps us on our toes but we love the reaction from the people, that's what makes us try harder and why we enjoy it. It's the highlight of our career, every night. Their interaction makes us work harder and try harder and we enjoy that challenge.

What can people expect when they come and see you perform? 

Valerie: Well, hopefully they will enjoy what they hear and see! We try to leave a lasting impression and I think that's why so many come back to see us year after year. Many people know what to expect and they keep coming back so that says something. If you haven't seen us before, we hope you will enjoy your first Three Degrees experience, and want to come back! Bring your dancing shoes!

The Three Degrees will be supported by Richie Sampson, a former member of The Drifters who will perform a 70's disco set including: Disco Inferno, Love Train, Hold Back The Night, Get Down On It, Never Too Much, You Sexy Thing and All Night Long. 

The Three Degrees will be at the Corn Exchange Newbury on Saturday 22 September, 7.45pm.