|Birth name||Joanne Valda O'Meara|
29 April 1979 |
Romford, Essex, England, UK
|Occupations||Singer, songwriter, actress, television personality|
|Associated acts||2-4 Family, S Club 7, S Club 8|
Joanne Valda O'Meara (born 29 April 1979) is an English singer-songwriter, television personality and actress. One of the lead singers of pop group S Club, she launched a solo single after the group's split in 2003, which cut short the production of a proposed album following an appearance on Celebrity Big Brother.
O'Meara was born in Romford, East London, to parents Dave and Barbara. She has a brother and sister, Shane and Julie. She grew up in Collier Row, a suburban housing estate in the north of Romford in the London Borough of Havering. She was educated at Clockhouse Junior School and Bower Park School, and excelled in music, singing and dance. In 1998, O'Meara started off her music career in the hip hop/rap group, 2-4 Family. She remained with the band for only one single release, "Stay".
1996–2003: Career with S Club
The group rose to fame by starring in their own BBC television series, Miami 7, in 1999 and have been widely referred to as inspiring a new generation of teenage TV musicals including High School Musical and Glee. Over the five years they were together, S Club 7 had four UK No.1 singles, one UK No.1 album, a string of hits throughout Europe, including a top-ten single in the United States, Asia, Latin America, and Africa. They recorded a total of four studio albums, released eleven singles and went on to sell over fourteen million albums worldwide. Their first album, S Club, had a strong 1990s pop sound, similar to many artists of their time. T hrough the course of their career, their musical approach changed to a more dance and R&B sound which is heard mostly in their final album, Seeing Double. S Club 7 won two BRIT Awards—in 2000 for British breakthrough act and in 2002, for best British single. In 2001, the group earned the Record of the Year award. Group member Paul Cattermole departed the group in 2002, and the group changed its name from S Club 7 to simply S Club. On 21 April 2003, during a live onstage performance, S Club announced that they were to disband.
2004–2007: Relentless and hiatus
Many speculated as to when O'Meara would make her comeback, having been the most prominent vocalist in S Club 7, but it was Rachel Stevens who was the first member of the band to release solo material. O'Meara surprised many of her fans by taking a long hiatus from pop music, and it was speculated that she was healing her back injury. According to reports in a tabloid newspaper O'Meara, who was estimated to be worth £500,000 when she left S Club, became addicted to gambling when she was unable to perform in the band due to her back problems. In July 2005, she announced that she had signed a new solo recording deal with Sanctuary Records, the label behind acts such as Morrissey, KISS and Megadeth.
Her debut single, "What Hurts the Most", was released on 26 September 2005, peaking at number thirteen on the UK Singles Chart, followed a week later by her album, Relentless. This, however, quickly fell out of the chart and sold poorly, peaking at No. 48. It also charted and sold poorly throughout Europe, reaching No. 82 in Ireland. O'Meara abruptly left the record label while they were still planning to release a second single. In February 2006 she took part in the BBC reality show Just the Two of Us. Her singing partner was Chris Fountain, an actor in Hollyoaks, a British Soap opera. The pair came third in the competition, failing to attract enough votes to make the final after their performance of "Never Had a Dream Come True".
In January 2007, O'Meara appeared on Celebrity Big Brother. Along with Jade Goody and Danielle Lloyd, O'Meara was accused of racist and bullying behaviour toward fellow contestant Indian actress Shilpa Shetty, resulting in a record number of complaints to OfCom, extensive national and international media coverage, and condemnatory statements from the British and Indian governments.
2008–present: Return of the S Club
Since November 2008, O'Meara has been performing in various nightclubs, universities and Butlins holiday camps around the United Kingdom along with fellow S Club members Bradley McIntosh and Paul Cattermole. On 12 November 2008, a bottle was thrown at O'Meara during their performance in Bradford; it left her with a severe cut to the head, requiring treatment at a nearby hospital. A 20-year old man was arrested, and the attack was thought to have been motivated by her Celebrity Big Brother appearance.
O'Meara is featured on a cover of the Python Lee Jackson song "In a Broken Dream" on the Popes' 2012 album "New Church", her first released recording in seven years. She has also appeared with them on stage performing the song.
O'Meara suffered a back injury in 2002. In January 2008, in an interview with the Daily Mail, O'Meara noted she was "well on the way to recovery from the aftermath of the Big Brother controversy", she had rediscovered her passion for rescuing animals and horses and also revealed that she was six months pregnant. While she admitted that the prospect of returning to the stage is daunting, she was considering an offer to work with former Celebrity Big Brother 2007 housemate, Jermaine Jackson. On 12 May 2008, O'Meara gave birth by caesarean section to a 7 lb 15oz boy she named Lenny. O'Meara has stated, in numerous TV and magazine interviews, that she is an avid follower of Norwich City F.C., however in Viva S Club episode "The Rain in Spain", she is depicted as a West Ham United supporter.
Celebrity Big Brother Controversy
O'Meara was a participant in the fifth season of Celebrity Big Brother. O'Meara, Jade Goody and Danielle Lloyd were found passing racist comments against Shilpa Shetty, the eventual winner of the show. The events gave rise to the Celebrity Big Brother racism controversy.
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|"—" denotes a title that did not chart, or was not released in that territory.|
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions||Album|
|"What Hurts the Most"||2005||13||26||19||Relentless|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.|
|1999||Miami 7||Jo||Co-lead role; Children's BBC Original Series|
|2000||L.A. 7||Jo||Co-lead role; Children's BBC Original Series|
|2000||S Club 7 Go Wild!||Jo||Reality TV series|
|2001||Hollywood 7||Jo||Co-lead role; Children's BBC Original Series|
|2001||S Club Search||Mentor/Herself/Judge|
|2002||Viva S Club||Jo||Co-lead role; Children's BBC Original Series|
|2007||Celebrity Big Brother||Herself/Competitor||Season 5; Reality TV series|
|1999||Back to the '50s||Jo||Co-lead role|
|1999||Boyfriends & Birthdays||Jo||Co-lead role|
|2003||Seeing Double||Jo||Co-lead role|
- "S Club to Split". NME. 2003-04-23. Retrieved 2008-10-13. "Rumours of an impending split have dogged the band since member Paul Cattermole left S Club 7 last year, and recently when lead singer Jo O'Meara revealed she had a debilitating back condition."
- "Big Brother accused of racism". The Guardian. 2007-01-16. Retrieved 2008-10-13. "Over the weekend, former beauty queen Lloyd and O'Meara, ex-lead singer of S Club 7, poked fun at Shetty's accent."
- "Essex girls battle it out in Celebrity Big Brother". Essex Chronicle (Essex Chronicle Series Ltd). 2007-01-11. p. 27. "Jo, 27, was born in Romford and grew up in Collier Row. She attended Clockhouse Junior School and Bower Park School in Havering North Road."
- "She's movin' on up". Times Online. Times Newspapers Ltd. 13 February 2005. Retrieved 21 October 2008.
- "S Club to split up". BBC News (BBC). 21 April 2003. Retrieved 25 August 2007.
- "Exposed: Gambling habit of S Club Jo". The Sun Online. Retrieved 2007-02-01.
- Taylor, Joel (17 January 2007). "Big Brother backlash". Metro. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
- "S Club live on stage – The Reunion show". www.happymondaysleeds.com. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
- "Race row S Club 7 singer Jo glassed during reunion gig". Daily Mail. 2008-11-14. Retrieved 2008-11-14.
- "Former S Club Singer O'Meara Injured After Bottle Thrown". contactmusic.com. 2008-11-14. Retrieved 2008-11-14.
- Laura Collins (2008-01-19). "Reviled BB star Jo O'Meara tells how she found refuge among animals she once saved". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2008-01-22.
- "Jo O'Meara gives birth to son". Now magazine. 2008-05-15. Retrieved 2008-05-18.
- "Davina finally speaks out over racism row". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2007-06-05.
- "The Official Charts Company - Jo O'Meara". The Official Charts Company. 5 May 2013.
- "Jo Chart History". aCharts. Retrieved 2009-08-22.
- "Compilation Search: Emma Bunton" (in Ukrainian). FDR Charts. Retrieved 5 July 2013.
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