Looking back on her 35 years with 80s jazz-funk band Shakatak, Jill Saward finds it near impossible to pinpoint the highlight of their astonishing career.

Starting out in 1980, the band found fame with their first top 20 single Easier Said Than Done and then finding continuing radio coverage with other top hits like Nightbirds and Down on the Street.

Shakatak are planning to make every show they perform particularly special this year with new numbers they have not previously performed, and plan to revisit a lot of old material. 

Saward says their first album, Drivin’ Hard, will heavily feature across their tour which includes dates in the UK, Spain and Holland.

The band are also set to headline Purley Festival in July. 

Saward speaks highly of the area and what it means to her, calling it her "hometown", and speaks excitedly of playing at the family-friendly festival. 

"It’s my hometown and there’s tonnes of people that know me that’ll be there, it’ll be mad.

"Depending on the crowd, we’ll probably throw in a few cover hits at the end too."

After the band’s release of On the Corner last year and Once Upon a Time (The Acoustic Sessions) in 2013, the band already has another album on the horizon, set to be released in 2016. 

Although not letting slip the name of the hotly anticipated album, Jill is happy that despite the "really, really, busy" schedule of the band, they are able to continue making music regularly for their fans.

When asked about what the band is looking forward to aside from their album release, Jill eagerly tells of how they’re going to see Earth, Wind and Fire later on this year, and hopes that collaboration might be on the cards. 

"It’d be the next thing we want to do, it’d be fantastic," she says.

While touring around the world over the last 35 years the band has met some huge stars.

Reflecting on the time she met Stevie Wonder, Jill says: "We actually met him on the Tony Blackburn show in 1982 and it was a dream come true." 

Among other high flying celebs she had the pleasure to meet was jazz and soul singer, Al Jarreau.

"Going to South Africa was definitely a highlight, we’ve also seen some phenomenal shows so it’s really difficult to pinpoint just one."

Originally from Tooting, Jill now resides in Sardinia, where she has a small recording studio that she and some local musicians make use of. 

For the past few years she has been working hard on her solo album Endless Summer which will be released this summer.

Shakatak and Omar are headlining Purley Festival during the weekend finale from July 4 to 5; Rotary Fields, Purley;  £3 for adults and £1 for children (suggested donation); purleyfestival.co.uk