Emma Bunton

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Emma Bunton – ‘Baby Spice’

The Spice Girls today – Part One: ‘Baby Spice’ – Emma Bunton

by Mark Keen

With the Spice Girls reforming and touring this year I thought this was a good opportunity to revisit the solo careers of the five members. I’m starting with my favourite Spice – Emma Bunton. To me she always came across as the most genuine one (I don’t remember her ever complaining about fame) and I think her solo career has some stellar and varied highlights!

Her solo career got off to a great start in 1999 with the track, “What I Am” with Tin Tin Out. This was a cover of the Edie Brickell classic and hit number 2 in the UK as well as hitting the European charts.

Emma would return in 2001 with the huge number one single “What Took You So Long?” which has aged remarkably well, with a great video filmed in the Mojave Desert. The writers and producers of this hit, Stannard & Gallagher, have written plenty of hits for a range of artists including Kylie (“In Your Eyes” and “Love At First Sight”) and Gabrielle (“When A Woman”). Emma has not had another number one single, but there were plenty more highlights.

The follow up single “Take My Breath Away” would hit the top 5, and features another great video filmed in Sardinia with a horse. Again the writers Hector & Mac are well known for writing hits, including many for Westlife, but perhaps more surprisingly Steve Mac has worked work Ed Sheeran co-writing “Shape Of You”.

The album “A Girl Like You” followed in 2001 peaking at number four in the UK album charts, included a cover of “Sunshine On A Rainy Day“, surely a single that never was. The final single would be the more popish “We’re Not Gonna Sleep Tonight” which hit the top 20. Again another well known writer Rhett Lawrence contributed, more well known for producing Marian Carey’s first single “Vision Of You”. The single has a lovely Spanish vibe, but perhaps got caught in the Christmas 2001 rush and underperformed.

It would be 2003 before Emma would return and a move to more sixties inspired pop which I loved. The first single “Free Me” would peak at number five and again Emma was off on her travels to Brazil to make the video. What a great song!

The follow up single in 2004 is the super “Maybe” continuing the 60s vibe in the video and sound. A really fun track with a bossa nova influence peaking at number six, with the video a real highlight. I loved this 60’s feel which is akin to Swing Out Sister in the “Kaleidoscope World” period.

The album “Free Me”‘ would go on to peak at number 7 in the UK, and received great reviews for taking a direction outside of the R&B of the time (‘one of the best solo Spice records ever’). The third single “I’ll Be There” took Emma off to Paris and continued the 60’s theme. The single would also peak at number six.

The final single “Crickets Sing For Anamaria” should take the prize for the best title ever for a single. This is an English language of a Brazilian song called “The Crickets”. What a great find! The single peaked at number 15, but is an undiscovered gem. Again another fun video!

Emma would take a bit of a break before returning with the “Life In Mono” album in 2007. Emma would continue the 60’s vibe with the release of her cover of Petula Clark’s “Downtown” in November 2006 for Children in Need. It peaked at number three.

The follow up single completely missed the charts, but is perhaps my favourite and has a lovely video with Emma as an angel roaming the streets of London, although peaked at number 60 due to a lack of promotion. I think Emma was pregnant at the time.

The album “Life In Mono” suffered again from lack of promotion and unfortunately only reached number 65, but deserved so much better. However, Emma was about to return to the Spice Girls for the reunion tour and greatest hits, and with a growing family I don’t think many tears were spilt. Alongside this, Emma had a burgeoning television career including stints in Dancing on Ice, a cameo in Neighbours, a recurring role in Absolutely Fabulous and more recently breakfast radio with Jamie Theakston.

More recently Emma recorded the duet, with her old band mate Mel C, “I Know Him So Well” from Mel’s “Stages” album.

So where are we now? There’s been some great news recently with Emma signing a new solo contract and back in the studio. I’m hoping she sticks to the 60s vibe which suits her so well. You can never have too much bossa nova! Obviously before then we have the Spice Girls tour.

Next time, we will focus on another Spice Girl’s solo career! I might need some strong medication to revisit Victoria’s!

For more about Emma, check out her WEBSITE and her FACEBOOK page

Take a look at all our other Where Are They Now posts and don’t forget to follow the playlist!

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Written by Christopher Smith

So perhaps you’ve read an article or two that I’ve written and wondered “just who is this character?”! Well I thought maybe it would be time to introduce myself and what I’m all about. Well it’s all about the music! Having been born in the late 1970’s I was heavily influenced by my parent’s love of ‘popular’ music and rock and roll of the 1950’s and 60’s. My Mother always said she should of married Elvis and my father was, and is still, in love with Sandie Shaw! But while my Dad’s tastes stopped in about 1967, my Mum carried on loving music throughout the 70’s, 80’s and beyond. My first memory was playing on the floor whilst my Mother was ironing one day with the radio on, and hearing ABBA’s “Super Trouper” dancing my nappy off to it! Maybe that’s where it all went wrong…?! Having been subjected to all and sundry in my infant years, I finally found my feet in the mid-1980’s and began ‘partying’ to the likes of Culture Club, Stevie Wonder(!), Elkie Brooks and Bananarama to name but a few! The year 1987 would have a profound effect on my listening tastes and from thereon in my life would be dominated with buying and listening to music. Any number of outstanding songs were released and listened to that year, most notably “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “La Isla Bonita”. That Summer my mind was completely taken over with music and sounds I’d never heard before and I was totally taken in by it all. My father would say “whaaar rubbish you got on naaaaao?” (I’m from Norfolk!) but I was hooked. And it continued so for the rest of the decade and the next. At the beginning of 1988 I ‘met’ my true love and the singer I’ve worshipped more than any other artist or group. You may know of her. She’s from Australia…! Aside from pop music, my tastes are many and varied and continues to grow and expand as I ‘mature’ in age. I’ve always been heavily interested in films and in particular the mechanics of film making and of course film music, so scores and subsequently orchestral music takes up a lot of my tastes and collection. 90’s dance and club tunes also takes up much of the space in my head and I’m surprised my brain has stopped shaking from the years of abuse it took being dragged to nightclubs, often three times a week in my 20’s! I find with each year that passes I regress back to my youth and of course the 1980’s. 80’s music dominates and the lust to see as many 80’s acts and singers play live now is insatiable. I’m still getting into the groove as much as every breath I take, but I’m never gonna give up listening to my heart and pumping up the volume, simply because I LOVE MUSIC…any kind of music!