Mel B

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Mel B – ‘Scary Spice’

The Spice Girls today – Part Four: ‘Scary Spice’ – Mel B

by Mark Keen

We’ve already revisited the solo careers of Emma, Geri and Posh, but it’s now time to look at ‘Scary’ Spice’s solo career just as the Spice Girls start their tour and Mel B appears on Piers Morgan’s revealing Life Stories.

Mel B was the first of the Spice’s to get off the starting blocks releasing her first solo single, with a little help from Missy Elliott (including production duties) at the peak of the Spice Girls’ career in September 1998. “I Want You Back” was a huge number 1 hit in the UK and a hit across Europe introducing a more R&B vibe than the Spice Girls singles of the time. The video directed by Hype Williams certainly showed Mel’s intentions and heavily featured her then husband Jimmy Gulzar. Mel even became Mel G for a brief period.

Mel was slow to follow up her breakthrough solo hit, primarily due to her pregnancy at the time I suspect. However, by the time she followed up with the ill-chosen Cameo cover of “Word Up” it felt like she had already lost a bit of momentum. The Spice Girls were now beyond their commercial peak, already saying ‘goodbye’ to Geri and were about to enter the R&B wilderness with “Holler”. “Word up” struggled to number 13 in the UK and didn’t perform any better in other territories. The single had an expensive video and also was on the soundtrack to ‘Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me’.

However, things did pick up greatly with “Tell Me” the first proper single from her debut album in September 2000 hitting number 4 in the UK. The single was a well documented account of her marriage to Jimmy G.

Further hits would follow with “Feels So Good” hitting number 5 in the UK and “Lullaby” hitting number 13. “Feels So Good” was written with Jam and Lewis and was released in February 2001.

“Lullaby” was released in July 2001 and was the final single from her debut album “Hot”. Mel did receive some bad publicity at the time for the inclusion of her young daughter in the video filmed in Morocco.

The aforementioned debut album “Hot” released in October 2000 received a cold reception peaking at number 28 in the UK despite the considerable talents used in its production, including Jam and Lewis, Missy Elliott, Teddy Riley, Rodney Jerkins and Max Beesley (well known at the time for his friendship with Robbie Williams and his acting work in ‘Glitter’, an underrated film, with Mariah).

Things would go quiet for Mel B for a few years in terms of music before a rather understated return in 2005 with the more acoustic self-released “L.A. State Of Mind” album which completely missed the UK charts, although to be fair it was not really intended as a commercial venture. Only one single was released, “Today” would struggle to number 41 in the UK. The album has been described as one of the worst albums of the decade.

It would be a long eight years before another solo single. “For Once In My Life” was released in 2013. Although not a success on the UK charts it nevertheless did well on the US face charts and the video is well worth checking out as it was filmed on the same back lot as Desperate Housewives.

With a colourful personal life and many television appearances Mel is now back in the public eye with the Spice Girls. No new solo music appears to be on the cards for now. Perhaps that ship has now passed?

Stay in touch with Mel B through 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!