|This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2011)|
|Years active||1997–2002, 2012–present|
|Labels||Mercury, First Avenue Records, Def Jam|
|Past members||Naima Belkhiati|
The Honeyz are an English R&B girl group consisting of Célena Cherry, Heavenli Denton (née Abdi and Roberts) and Mariama Goodman. The group formed in 1997 and the original line-up was Cherry, Denton and Naima Belkhiati. The Honeyz signed to Mercury Records, who intended to promote them as a direct rival to Destiny's Child, but they were dropped in 1999 after Denton left in the midst of promoting their third single "Love of a Lifetime" and Goodman was introduced as her replacement. After three singles, Goodman left the group in 2000 due to infighting with Belkhiati and was replaced by original member Denton. The group were dropped by their new label Def Jam Records in 2001 before splitting up in 2002. Throughout their career, the group released only one studio album, Wonder No. 8, which was released on 23 November 1998 with the original line-up before being re-released on 1 November 1999 with the second line-up. A second studio album, Harmony, was planned for release in 2001 but was cancelled due to the Honeyz being dropped by their label.
The group reformed briefly in 2005 for the ITV show Hit Me, Baby, One More Time, although Denton yet again left the group due to her pregnancy, with Belkhiati also leaving. They were replaced by Goodman and Cherry's sister Candace, and Honeyz continued to perform gigs on and off until 2009. Later in 2009, Cherry insisted that there was "zero chance" of the group ever making another comeback.
However on 18 October 2012, it was announced that Honeyz—along with B*Witched, Five, Liberty X, Atomic Kitten and 911—would reunite for the ITV2 reality-documentary series The Big Reunion. Original member Belkhiati was unable to take part due to other commitments, so the line-up now consists of Cherry, Denton and Goodman; the first time Denton and Goodman would ever feature in the group together. The show began airing on 31 January 2013 and followed the six bands meeting for the first time since they split, and rehearsing ahead of a comeback performance at Hammersmith Apollo. In May 2013, Honeyz began touring for the first time in over ten years in May 2013, with a new song, "Price You Pay", being previewed prior to each show.
- 1 History
- 2 Members
- 3 Discography
- 4 Tours
- 5 References
- 6 External links
In 1997, Mercury Records cultivated the girl group Essence, made up of Heavenli Denton and Célena Cherry. The duo were hailed as an R&B alternative to the Spice Girls and intended as a direct rival to American girl group Destiny's Child. According to Heavenli, "We felt that there was a place for a younger, vibey kind of 'pop R&B' group. We were looking at En Vogue as someone that we would like to aspire to." Célena admitted that Essence was "an OK name, but it wasn't really hitting it". One night, when Heavenli and Célena were departing from the nightclub Subterranea, a man exclaimed at them, "Mm mm, check out those honeys over there!" The two girls thought that name sounded better and they became Honeyz. A third member, Naima Belkhiati, was later added to the mix and the Honeyz became a trio.
1998–2000: Wonder No. 8 and Abdi's departure
Their debut single, "Finally Found" was released in August 1998 and peaked at number four in the UK Singles Chart and remains their biggest hit. "Finally Found" introduced the trio to the British public and went on to sell more than 350,000 copies. The follow-up, "End of the Line" notched up similar sales figures, peaking at number five. Their debut album Wonder No. 8 went Gold in the UK with sales of over 200,000 copies. Aside from their success in the United Kingdom, they performed with a full live orchestra in the Netherlands and 8,000 people at ChildLine in Dublin, duetted with Lionel Richie in Italy, and saw their first two singles, "Finally Found" and "End of the Line", go 2× Platinum in Australia. In the United States, they signed to Def Jam/Island, providing backing vocals to a Foxy Brown track and also worked with producer Stevie J (Toni Braxton, Deborah Cox, Puff Daddy).
During their second promotional trip to Australia in March 1999, Naima and Celena heard that Heavenli had decided to quit the group for personal reasons, including spending more time with her boyfriend, Matthew Marsden. Naima remarked: "Of course, it was a big shock. But we respect her decision, and we wish her a lot of luck in whatever she decides to do." There were various reasons why Heavenli left the group – these included being unhappy with touring internationally and the fact that Naima could not sing.
Heavenli departed the group in the middle of promotion for the group's third single "Love of a Lifetime" which reached number 9 in the UK charts. The gap left by Heavenli's departure opened an opportunity for former Solid HarmoniE vocalist Mariama Goodman. Her arrival was announced exclusively on BBC One's Live & Kicking on 10 April 1999. The new line up performed over the Summer of 1999, at venues including London's Mardi Gras and Capital Radio's Party in the Park concert in Hyde Park in July. At the radio extravaganza, performing in front of 100,000 people, the Honeyz sang their hits "Finally Found" and "End of the Line", before duetting with Another Level on the Help A London Child single "Holding Back The Years". This was followed later in the month by a performance at the 'Wicked Women' concert in Hyde Park, in aid of Breast Cancer Research. In September, the Honeyz supported Five at London's Brixton Academy and Manchester Apollo, in special one-off events organised in conjunction with Cadburys and MTV.
October 1999 saw the release of their fourth single, "Never Let You Down", a new track recorded for inclusion on a repackaged version of Wonder No. 8, and the first single to feature the vocals of Mariama. The single entered into the UK Singles Chart at number 7, making it a fourth consecutive Top 10 hit for the group.
The Honeyz performed another newly recorded album track, "Won't Take It Lying Down", at the prestigious MOBO Awards, held on 6 October 1999 in the Royal Albert Hall, where they had picked up two nominations in the 'Best Newcomer' and 'Best R&B Act' categories. "Won't Take It Lying Down" went on to be released at the end of February 2000, reaching number 7. It became the last Top 10 single the Honeyz would achieve. At the 2000, Maxim awards, they picked up the award for The Best British Girl Band, beating the Spice Girls, Hepburn, Thunderbugs and Eternal to the title. They were also nominated for Best British Breakthrough Act at the 2000 BRIT Awards.
2000–02: Goodman's departure, Abdi's return and split
By Summer 2000, a new song had been recorded, which was confirmed as not only the first single to be taken from a planned forthcoming new album, but also a chosen single from the Nutty Professor II: The Klumps original soundtrack, with the Honeyz featuring on the UK version alongside Sisqó and Janet Jackson. The single was called "Not Even Gonna Trip" and was initially scheduled for release in late September 2000.
It was during the run up to the single release, in August, that Mariama Goodman announced her departure from the Honeyz. Célena and Naima were faced with an uncertain future, and their management took the decision to bring Abdi back into the group. Heavenli's vocals for the new single "Not Even Gonna Trip" were recorded and the official announcement of the renewed line-up was made on ITV's flagship children's programmes SMTV Live and CD:UK, on Saturday 19 August 2000, along with a performance of "Finally Found", poignant in that it was the first ever performance by a band on CD:UK on its launch almost two years earlier to the day, on 20 August 1998. "Not Even Gonna Trip" failed to reach Top 20 by the time it was released in late October, peaking at number 24. After this, the Honeyz worked hard on their second album.
Almost a year after the return of Heavenli, the group released new single "I Don't Know" on 5 August 2001, but with minimal exposure and promotion, the track did not chart as high as their previous single, stalling at number 28.
The group released another single – a song titled "Talk to the Hand" – in late 2001. A video was filmed and was played on major channels such as MTV Hits. However Mercury Records suddenly made the decision that it would be best to simply drop the group, without giving the single the chance of a release. Plans for the release of the group's second album Harmony were therefore shelved.
2005–09: One-off appearances and further line-up changes
In June 2003, Célena released a single with her cousin Alani (former Kleshay singer) under the name Anotherside through V2 Records. The song, "This Is your Night", reached the position of number 41 on the official UK Singles Chart and their brief partnership as a group came to a close for the two cousins.
2005 saw the band quietly reform. In January 2005, The Honeyz contributed to an Asian tsunami relief charity single, titled "Grief Never Grows Old", collaborating with the likes of Boy George and Cliff Richard. The same year they appeared on the ITV singing contest Hit Me, Baby, One More Time, performing their debut single "Finally Found" and a cover of Nickelback's hit "How You Remind Me". This was the last performance with founding member Naima. The space she left in the group was quickly filled by Célena's sister, Candace.
In 2005, Célena released a self-titled solo album only available through her website. It included three Honeyz hits (re-arranged and re-recorded), three Christmas songs and four new songs. According to Célena's official website, they Honeyz were recording a new album as a group, following her acting appearances on the soaps Hollyoaks and Doctors. According to Célena, if the Honeyz were unable to get a new record deal they will release their new album online, however this never materialised.
In August 2006, Heavenli left the band once again due to her pregnancy and was quickly replaced once again by Mariama. This line-up continued to perform gigs on and off until 2009.
2012–14: Reformation, The Big Reunion and touring
Despite Célena insisting in 2009 that there was "zero" chance of Honeyz ever getting back together, but it was confirmed in October 2012 that Honeyz, along with Atomic Kitten, Liberty X, B*Witched, Five and 911, would be reuniting for the ITV2 reality-documentary series The Big Reunion on ITV2 at some time in 2013. Although Naima was the original line-up and was with the group throughout their musical career, she decided not to take part in the reformation. It was rumoured that Heavenli and Mariama would both have refused to take part if Belkhiati was in the group, but the group later revealed during an appearance on The Vault that Naima had other things going on in her life and was unable to take part in the reunion. The series, which began airing on 31 January 2013, followed the groups rehearsing for two weeks ahead of one major comeback performance at the London Hammersmith Apollo on 26 February 2013.
The Honeyz episode aired on 14 February 2013, in which Célena, Heavenli and Mariama discussed their time in the group and the reasons for the line-up changes. The episode ended with an emotional reunion between Heavenli and Célena, who had not spoken together since Heavenli left the group for the second time in 2006. It was also revealed that, contrary to press reports at the time, Heavenli was brought back into the group following Goodman's departure in 2000 at the insistence of the group's management and against the wishes of both Célena and Naima. However, elements of the The Big Reunion were largely scripted for dramatic effects and failed to mention the real reason why Heavenli left the group in 1999 and who really invited her back to rejoin the group in 2000. On 16 February 2013, Heavenli herself wrote about the fictional storylines regarding the Honeyz on her Twitter page: "Adaptations of the truth... some actual, some factual, others spun into villain/victim stories for TV drama! #BigReunion amusing!" She was referring to how the show portrayed her as the villain and Célena as the victim – when there is a lot more which went on regarding why she left in the first place and how she was invited back.
The bands were originally only supposed to perform a one-off concert at London's Hammersmith Apollo on 26 February 2013, but when the entire show sold out in under five minutes shortly after the premiere of the first episode on 31 January 2013, rumours circulated that producers of the show were planning to tour the concert around the UK. On 11 February, it was confirmed that, due to high demands for tickets and the popularity of the show, a full 12-date tour around the country would be taking place from 3–12 May 2013. Two further dates in Ireland and Northern Ireland were later added as well. On 27 March 2013 it was announced that the bands would perform a mini Christmas tour in December 2013.
Following an interview with The Vault in March 2013, the group confirmed that they were planning to record new material in the near future. During the arena tour, Honeyz revealed a new song, "Price You Pay", which they say they hope to release in Autumn 2013.
On 16 September 2013, Honeyz attended the 2013 National Reality Television Awards, where The Big Reunion was up for several awards. On 7 February 2014, they posted on their Facebook page that they were "Putting pen to paper and writing some great songs..."
(1997–1999, 2000–2002, 2012–present)
- Note: those in bold are current members.
- Balls, David (27 April 2009). "Whatever happened to... Honeyz?". Digital Spy. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
- Goodacre, Kate (18 October 2012). "Atomic Kitten, 5ive, B*Witched, 911, more to reunite for ITV2 show". Digital Spy. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
- Lazarus, Susanna (18 October 2012). "Atomic Kitten, 5ive and B*Witched to reform for ITV2's The Big Reunion". Radio Times. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
- Ingham, James (20 January 2013). "Strikes at big reunion". Daily Star.
- "HONEYZ – THE VAULT CHAT". YouTube. The Vault. 9 April 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
- Daniels, Colin (3 February 2013). "'Big Reunion' UK arena tour in the works". Digital Spy (Hearst Magazines UK). Retrieved 11 February 2013.
- Nissam, Mayer (11 February 2013). "5ive, Atomic Kitten, B*Witched, Liberty X, 911 for Big Reunion arena tour". Digital Spy (Hearst Magazines UK). Retrieved 11 February 2013.
- "5ive, B*Witched, Atomic Kitten for 'Big Reunion' Christmas Party tour". Digital Spy. 27 March 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
- "Not long until showtime now!Our new song 'Price you pay' should be on the screens before the gig.W e'd love to know what you think of it.... - Honeyz Official". Facebook. 6 May 2013. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
- "Putting pen to paper and writing some great songs...". Facebook. 7 February 2014. Retrieved 7 February 2014.