British soul singer Beverley Knight expected to cause a stir when she headed to America's Deep South because she is in a mixed-race marriage.

The Shoulda Woulda Coulda hitmaker is currently starring in the West End production of the musical Memphis, so she headed to Tennessee to research the role ahead of rehearsals.

The singer, who is of Jamaican descent, flew to Memphis with her husband James O'Keefe, who is white, and the couple agonised over the reaction they might face in the notoriously conservative Bible Belt, but they were stunned by the friendly welcome they received.

Knight tells U.K. Tv show Loose Women, "James is anglo-Irish. I'm Caribbean background - Jamaican parents. And we were both expecting (problems) - 'Okay, right, steel yourselves for the stares and the disapproving looks', and thankfully we didn't get that.

"People were just more fascinated and so when we talked to people and we explained that this is commonplace where we are from, no one bats an eyelid."