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Yonah, Zainam, and Cleo Higgins
|Also known as||Cleopatra ZYC|
|Origin||Moss Side, Manchester, England|
|Genres||R&B, pop, soul|
|Years active||1998–2001, 2008–2009
|Labels||Maverick/Warner Bros. Records (1998-2001)|
|Past members||Cleo Higgins (Cleo)
Cleopatra were a R&B/pop girl group from the UK whose members were sisters Cleo, Yonah, and Zainam Higgins. Their debut single, "Cleopatra's Theme" entered the UK Singles Chart at number 3, and the Billboard Hot 100 at #26. They parted ways with their record label after the release of their second album.
The first time the girls stepped on stage they were known as Cleopatra and the Attractions; at that point Cleo was the lead singer and her sisters were backing singers/dancers. They later dropped that name and became known as the band Cleopatra. Their debut single was "Cleopatra's Theme", which was taken from their debut album Comin' Atcha!, and it entered the UK Singles Chart at #3 giving them their first Top 5 hit single.
The next three singles—"Life Ain't Easy", a cover of The Jackson 5's "I Want You Back" and "Thank ABBA for the Music"—all followed the same success by reaching the top 5, gaining the girls BRIT Awards and MOBO Awards nominations. They performed at the 1999 BRIT Awards and were nominated for Best British Newcomer. Madonna signed Cleopatra to her Maverick label and introduced them to the United States at Nickelodeon's 11th Annual Kids' Choice Awards, where they performed their debut single, "Cleopatra's Theme". It was released shortly afterwards, reaching number 26 on the Billboard Hot 100, and number 16 on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The video was also popular, peaking at number 4 on the TRL Top 10 countdown. Their debut album Comin' Atcha entered the US top 30 in July 1998 and sold over 300,000 copies. The group filmed a live show for a 60-minute Disney Channel special, "Cleopatra in Concert", where they performed their biggest hits aboard the Disney cruise ship, Disney Magic. The show also contained a behind-the-scenes look into the lives of the three sisters over a four-day Bahamas cruise.
Cleopatra were invited to support the Spice Girls on the UK leg of their sell out Spiceworld Tour playing to 150,000 fans at Wembley Stadium. They were also invited to perform at the Vatican Christmas Carol Concert, by request of Pope John Paul II, an event which is broadcast around the world. Backed by a 100-piece orchestra, they sang "O Come All Ye Faithful" and Silent Night. The performance was later released on DVD in 2004 as All-Star Christmas - From the Vatican. They covered the Bee Gees song "I've Gotta Get a Message to You", renaming it "Gotta Get a Message to You", for the tribute album of the same name. They were also asked to record a cover of the disco song "Right Back Where We Started From" for An Extremely Goofy Movie by Disney.
Cleopatra moved onto their second album Steppin' Out, working with top record producers, including Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Dallas Austin, Daryl Simmons, Cutfather & Joe, and Stargate. They shot their album cover with photographer Markus Klinko. They toured the US in 2000 promoting the lead single from Steppin Out, "U Got It". They promoted the single on various television programs including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Queen Latifah Show.
Also as the new spokeswomen for cosmetics firm, Covergirl, they sang the theme tune for their new make-up line 'Triple Lipstick' television advertisement. The advert, narrated by Cleo, was filmed on Miami's South Beach in 2000 and saw the girls on stage performing the theme song. They then moved on to tour Japan and promoted their Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis produced Japanese single "Yes, The Party's Going Right". They were invited to perform a mini-concert for the Sultan of Brunei and his royal family.
However, changes within Warner and everyone who was working on the Cleopatra project led to lack of promotion of their UK single, "Come and Get Me" which entered the UK Singles Chart at #29; the Steppin' Out release date for the UK was pushed back, and the album was eventually never released in the UK. The label wanted Cleo as a solo artist, and this led to the group's parting ways with Warner.
On Christmas Eve 1998 CITV premiered Cleopatra's one-hour Christmas Special for their new sitcom, with a host of stars to help launch the show. The series had two seasons: Season 1 "Comin' Atcha!" and Season 2 In The House, and it was shown in numerous countries. Both seasons were number one in their time slots. The show was twenty minutes per episode and a mix of music and comedy. The plot followed the girls' lives on tour and at home with their family. The girls' would often perform one of their hits or a track from their album. Season two was slightly different as it featured a song from their second album at the start and end of every episode. The girls' mother and younger sister were featured in both seasons as themselves.
Cleopatra in recent years
In 2005 the band came together for a one off performance on ITV1's, Hit Me, Baby, One More Time. They later appeared on Living TV's Pop Goes The Band in 2009. On 17 November that year, Cleopatra performed a comeback show live at Embassy in London. By 2016 the band have yet to release any new music, despite a string of shows in 2008 and 2009. Cleo Higgins has also recently appeared on 'The Voice UK' to kick-start what she hopes will be a successful music career. She exited the show during the semi finals on 15 June 2013.
- Cleo Higgins - born Cleopatra Madonna Higgins, 30 April 1982, Birmingham.
- Yonah Higgins - born Yonah Mawusi Higgins, 7 April 1984, Birmingham.
- "Angel" Zainam Higgins - born Zainam Mandisa Talibah Venetta Higgins, 5 December 1980, Birmingham.
- "Cleopatra's Theme" (1998) #3 UK, #26 US
- "Life Ain't Easy" (1998) #4 UK, #81 US
- "I Want You Back" (1998) #4 UK
- "A Touch of Love" (1999) #24 UK
- "Thank ABBA for the Music" (with Steps, Tina Cousins, B*Witched and Billie) (1999) #4 UK
- "Come and Get Me" (2000) #29 UK
- "U Got It" (2000, US only)
- "Yes This Party's Going Right" (2001, Japan only)