Michelle Gayle

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Michelle Gayle

Her sweetness was her weakness. Look up, it’s Michelle Gayle!

British actress Michelle Gayle (b.1971) made her name as Fiona Wilson in the long running children’s TV drama, Grange Hill. Aged sixteen, she spent two years in the show before crossing to adult drama as Hattie Tavernier in Eastenders, spending three years with the soap. She left in 1993 to pursue a music career and in June that year, released her debut recording, “Looking Up”. The song was a hit, just missing out on the UK top ten, stopping at No.11, but spending two months on the chart.

The song was a one off recording to ‘test the water’ and following it’s success, Michelle and her record company spent time with writers recording her debut album, which saw the light of day in the Summer of 1994. With no lead single to work off, initial reaction was lukewarm, but following the release of the single, “Sweetness”, in September, sales began to flow in. “Sweetness” would peak at No.4 in the UK as well as being a sizeable hit across Europe. The song became the 36th biggest seller of the year back home, while the album surpassed sales of 100,000 copies there.

Her ballad, “I’ll Find You”, was released in time for Christmas but collapsed under the weight of more traditional festive songs and could only reach No.26. Two further top twenty hits came from the album in 1995, “Freedom” (No.16) and “Happy Just To Be With You”, which not only peaked in the same place as her first single, but also gave Michelle a fourth consecutive top three hit on the UK R&B chart. Michelle won two Brit Award nominations that year, one for Best Female Artist and one for “Sweetness” as Best Single, although she missed a win on both counts.

Michelle appeared on the charity single, “A Gift Of Christmas” at the end of 1995 with a multitude of other chart acts including EYC, Dannii Minogue and East 17. The song peaked at No.9 in the UK and No.10 in Ireland. After time out and time to begin preparing her second album, Michelle was back on the scene in mid-1997 with “Do You Know?”. The song gave her a second solo top ten hit in the UK and a No.2 hit on the R&B chart, while her album, “Sensational”, would out perform her debut in terms of chart position, it did not match the sales and remains uncertified.

Following the title track’s release as a single later in 1997 (UK No.14), Michelle parted ways with RCA and signed with EMI. This would not prove to be a savvy move as just two years later and with nothing in the pipeline, EMI cancelled her contract. Michelle returned to acting at this time and took to the stage in Disney’s Beauty And The Beast, while early into the 00’s, she popped up in guest roles in TV drama series Doctors and Holby City. Michelle returned to music in 2003 when she joined the line up of Reborn In The USA, a reality show for forgotten pop stars, based in the US. Spandau Ballet’s Tony Hadley won the contest, but Michelle came a close second and following interest in her once more, she signed to the small independent label, N2.

Michelle co-wrote and recorded the song “Gotta Be Me” in 2004, but just before it’s release, N2 folded and it seemed Michelle’s career was all over again. Michelle was back in the game in 2008, when she co-wrote “Woo (U Make Me)” for that years Eurovision Song Contest. Michelle performed the song herself for the selection programme but came second to Andy Abraham’s “Even If”, which same 25th in the final! Would Michelle’s song have done better…?

Michelle married ex-footballer Mark Bright, whom she divorced the year of her attempted entry into Eurovision but has since remarried and gave birth to a son in 2011. After some years out of sight, Michelle returned to the stage in 2018 playing Alison in the musical Son Of A Preacher Man, based on the life of Dusty Springfield. She also recorded and released the hit single “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me” that same year and now it seems she is back in focus once more, combining acting and music, her two strongest talents and clearly very happy with her life now.

Michelle gayle 2020

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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!