Melanie C

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Melanie C
Melanie C - 2017356220452 2017-12-22 Night of the Proms - Sven - 1D X MK II - 0908 - AK8I5028.jpg
Melanie C performing at Night of the Proms 2017 in Mannheim, Germany
Melanie Jayne Chisholm

(1974-01-12) 12 January 1974 (age 47)
Other names
  • Mel C
  • Sporty Spice
  • Melanie Chisholm
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • actress
  • dancer
  • entrepreneur
  • television personality
  • fitness model
Musical career
  • Vocals
  • guitar
Years active1994–present
Associated acts
Melanie C Signature.png

Melanie Jayne Chisholm[2] (born 12 January 1974),[3] known professionally as Melanie C or Mel C, is an English singer, songwriter, actress, dancer, entrepreneur, television personality and fitness model. She is one of the five members of the Spice Girls, in which she was nicknamed Sporty Spice.

She rose to fame in 1996, releasing, in two years with the Spice Girls, two consecutive number one albums, eight number one singles from nine worldwide hits, the biggest-selling debut single of all time and the biggest-selling album in music history by a girl group, respectively with "Wannabe" atop in 37 countries with over seven million records,[4][5] and Spice, which peaked at number one in more than 17 countries across the world, with over 31 million copies, as well as the second album Spiceworld with more than 20 million copies sold.[6] Melanie C is known for her unique vocal prowess that helped shoot the Spice Girls to international stardom.[7] Chisholm began her solo career in late 1998 by singing with Canadian rock singer Bryan Adams, and her solo debut album Northern Star was released in 1999, reaching number one in Sweden and number 4 on the UK Albums Chart. It was certified internationally with seven platinum and three gold certifications, including the triple-Platinum by the British Phonographic Industry, selling over 4 million copies worldwide, and becoming the best selling solo album of any Spice Girls member.[8][9]

After her second album, Gold certified in UK, Reason, with more than 500,000 copies, Chisholm, in 2004, parted from Virgin and founded her own record company, Red Girl Records. Beautiful Intentions, her third album, in 2005, spent 9 weeks at number one in Portugal and spawned international hit singles, selling over 1.5 million copies worldwide with several international certications. The fourth studio album, This Time, was released in 2007, became her first top 10 album in Switzerland where was certified Gold. Of the five singles released from the album, the first three went to number one in Portugal.[10] In December, Chisholm reunited with the Spice Girls to release a greatest hits album supported by a world tour.[11] She released her fifth solo album, The Sea, in 2011, her first EP The Night in 2012,[12] the sixth studio album Stages, in 2012, and seventh album, Version of Me (2016). Her eponymous eighth studio album was released in 2020.

Having co-written 11 UK number ones, more than any other female artist in chart history, she remains the only female performer to top the charts as a solo artist, as part of a duo, quartet and quintet. With twelve UK number one singles, including the charity single as part of The Justice Collective, she is the second female artist – and the first British female artist – with most singles at number one in the United Kingdom, and with a total of fourteen songs that have received the number one in Britain (including the double A-sides), Chisholm is the female artist with most songs at number one in the UK ranking history.[13][14][15] Her work has earned her several awards and nominations, including a Guinness Book mention, three World Music Awards, five Brit Awards from 10 nominations, three American Music Awards, four Billboard Music Awards from six nomination, eight Billboard special awards, three MTV Europe Music Awards from seven nominations, one MTV Video Music Awards from two nomination, ten ASCAP awards, one Juno Award from two nominations, and four nominations at the Echo Awards.[16]

Since 1996, Chisholm has sold more than 108 million records, including 85 million copies with the group, and 23 million solo albums, singles and collaborations, and has earned over 326 worldwide certifications (with numerous diamonds), including 41 silver, gold and platinum certifications as a solo artist.

Early life[edit]

Melanie Jayne Chisholm was born in Whiston, Lancashire,[17] as the only child in the family.[18] She later moved to Widnes, Cheshire, at a young age. Her parents married on 12 January 1971 and separated in 1978, when Chisholm was four-and-a-half years old.[18] Her father, Alan Chisholm, worked as a fitter at the Otis Elevator Company.[18] Her mother, Joan O'Neill, worked as a secretary and PA and has been singing in music bands since she was 14.[18] Chisholm was raised in Widnes, Cheshire,[17] where she attended Brookvale Junior School[18] and Fairfield High School.[19] Following school, she studied for a diploma course in dance, singing, drama, and musical theatre at the Doreen Bird College of Performing Arts in Sidcup, Southeast London. During college, she replied to an advert in The Stage[17] by Chris and Bob Herbert, who were looking to form a new girl group, later to become the Spice Girls. She left college just short of completing her three-year course[17] and gained teaching qualifications in tap and modern theatre dance[17] with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing.


1994–2000: Spice Girls[edit]

The Spice Girls performing "Say You'll Be There" at the McLaren party, in 1997

In 1994, Chisholm, along with Mel B, Geri Halliwell, and Victoria Beckham (née Victoria Adams) responded to an advertisement in The Stage magazine.[20] Around 400 women who answered the ad went to Dance Works studios. Halliwell, Chisholm, Beckham and Brown were originally chosen as the members of the group, and then formed a quintet with Emma Bunton. The group felt insecure about the lack of a contract and were frustrated by the direction of Heart Management and broke with them. In 1995, they toured record labels in London and Los Angeles and finally signed a deal with Virgin. Their debut album, Spice, was a huge worldwide commercial success, peaked at number 1 in more than 17 countries across the world,[21] and was certified multi-platinum in 27 countries.[21] Conceptually, the album centered on the idea of Girl Power, and during that time was compared to Beatlemania.[22] In total the album sold 30 million copies worldwide,[23][24][25] becoming the biggest-selling album in music history by a girl group and one of the most successful albums of all time.[26][27] The first single, "Wannabe" reached number 1 in 37 countries,[28] and their subsequent singles – "Say You'll Be There", "2 Become 1", "Who Do You Think You Are" and "Mama" – all peaked at number 1 in the UK.[29][30]

In 1997, they released the second album, Spiceworld, with the two first singles "Spice Up Your Life" and "Too Much", that entered the UK Albums Chart at number 1, making it the group's all consecutive number 1 hit single, a record of musical groups all time.[31] The album was a global best seller, selling 20 million copies worldwide.[32] The group also starred in their own film, Spiceworld: The Movie, which grossed $100 million at the box office worldwide and became the second most watched movie of the year.[33] The next single, "Stop", peaked at two, breaking the sequence of number 1s, their only single to not reach the top of the charts. "Viva Forever", another number 1, was the last single before Geri Halliwell's departure from the group in May 1998.[34] "Never Give Up on the Good Times" was planned as fifth single, but was cancelled after this event.[35] With four members, the group released "Goodbye", before Christmas in 1998 and when it topped the UK Singles Chart it became their third consecutive Christmas number-one – equalling the record previously set by the Beatles.[36] On 30 November, Canadian artist Bryan Adams, released "When You're Gone" with featured vocals of Chisholm, her debut solo project.[37] The song peaked at number 3 on the UK Singles Chart, spent 15 weeks in the top 40 and received the platinum certified.[38][39]

1999–2001: Northern Star[edit]

Chisholm performing in Madrid, in 1999

In 1999, Chisholm signed with Virgin and, during the summer, recorded the album Northern Star. She recorded "Ga Ga" from the soundtrack of the film Big Daddy.[40] The song was released as promotional single on 25 June, only in the UK.[41] She also wrote and recorded the backing vocals for "(Hey You) Free Up Your Mind", sung by Emma Bunton from the film soundtrack Pokémon: The First Movie.[42] On 27 September, Chisholm released her debut single, "Goin' Down" and peaked at number 4 in the UK and 25 in Australia.[10] The music video was shot in Los Angeles and directed by Giuseppi Capotondi.[43] Her debut album, Northern Star, was released on 18 October 1999, peaked at number 4 and sold 4 million copies worldwide, received triple platinum in the UK,[8] and another seven certifications, including platinum in Germany and Sweden.[44][45] "Northern Star" was released as a second single and also peaked at number 4.[10] To promote the album, Chisholm embarked on a tour called From Liverpool to Leicester Square, traveling to Australia, the US, Canada, Japan, the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Netherlands and Denmark, between 27 September and 1 November.[46] In 2000, Chisholm had two songs in film soundtracks, "Suddenly Monday" in Maybe Baby and "Go!" in Whatever It Takes.[47]

After the two singles did not reach the top of the charts, Virgin thought to end the promotion of the album, but decided to release one more single, "Never Be the Same Again", which broke the pop rock sound of the other songs and focused on R&B.[48] The song, featuring TLC member Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, was released on 20 March 2000 and became her first number 1 single. It was received gold certification in the UK[8] and also peaked at number 1 in Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Scotland and Sweden.[49] The song was the 18th best-selling song of 2000 and sold more than a million copies across Europe.[50] After the success of "Never Be the Same Again", the label decided to release two more singles. On 7 August 2000, Virgin released a remix version of "I Turn to You" as the fourth single; the song reached her second number 1 in the UK, Netherlands and Sweden.[10] "I Turn to You" also peaked at number 1 in Austria, Denmark and Dance Club Songs of United States.[51] "If That Were Me" was released as fifth and final single and peaked at number 18. The proceeds from its sale went to the Kandu Arts charity.[10][52] The North American version of Northern Star was released on 21 August 2000 and included the single versions of "Never Be The Same Again" and "I Turn To You".[53] In late 2000, after the first solo work of members, the Spice Girls released their third and final album, Forever, sporting a new edgier R&B sound.[54] "Holler" and "Let Love Lead the Way" were released as singles on 23 October 2000 and the songs reached number 1 in the UK.[55] The album sold 5 million copies.[56] The group announced that they were beginning an indefinite hiatus.[57] In the same year, the Chinese singer FanFan recorded a Chinese version of "Suddenly Monday" from her debut album FanFan's World.[58]

Chisholm embarked in her first world tour, the Northern Star Tour, between late 2000 and 26 August 2001, to promote her debut album. The tour traveled in 76 dates, 30 countries and 4 continents, just not going to Oceania and South America.[59] The Shepherd's Bush Empire concert was webcast on Chisholm's original website with a special appearance of Bryan Adams.[60] On 4 April 2001, The audio of the Anaheim concert also was webcast on House of Blues' website.[60] A remixed album, entitled Remix Collection, was released only in Japan.[61] In 2001, Chisholm collaborated in the live album of Russell Watson, The Voice – Live, as featured vocals in the songs "Barcelona" and "Aren't You Kind of Glad We Did?".[62][63]

2002–2003: Reason[edit]

Chisholm in 2003

Chisholm began recording her second album in late 2001. She traveled to the United States to record some songs. During this time, she recorded "Independence Day" from the film soundtrack Bend It Like Beckham and wrote "Help Me Help You" for Holly Valance, included in her album Footprints.[64] Chisholm, along with American singer Anastacia made an appearance at the 2002 MTV Europe Music Awards to present the award for "Best Song", which was given to P!nk.

Chisholm's second album was postponed to 10 March 2003. Chisholm also took time out due to struggles with clinical depression.[65] On 24 February 2003 the first single from her new album was released, "Here It Comes Again", which reached number 7 in the UK and peaked in the top 20 in Spain and Ireland.[10][66] She released her second studio album, Reason, on 10 March 2003 and it peaked at number 5,[67] received gold certification in the UK.[8] The label sent Chisholm to promote the album, including several pocket shows.[68] On 24 April 2003, she embarked in the Reason Tour, traveling only in Europe.[69] The second single, "On the Horizon", was released on 2 June 2003.[70] After the previous single, music critics[who?] were predicting that this single would redeem Chisholm's chart success, but the song peaked at number 14 and did not help sales.[10]

"Let's Love", was released as a single exclusively in Japan and used for a Toyota Motor Corporation commercial.[citation needed] Originally, "Yeh Yeh Yeh" was planned to be released as the third and final single on 22 September 2003, but shortly before this could happen, Chisholm injured her knee during the television show The Games and couldn't fully promote an upbeat song with an injury.[71] "Melt" was then chosen to be launched along with "Yeh Yeh Yeh" as a double A-side, because she could do a small number of performances.[71] The double single was released on 10 November 2003.[72] The song peaked at number 27.[10] In other countries of Europe, "Melt" wasn't released, only "Yeh Yeh Yeh" as a solo release.[73] After the release of "Melt/Yeh Yeh Yeh", Chisholm added some extra dates to the Reason Tour, and the Avo Session Basel concert was broadcast on 3sat.

2004–2006: Red Girl Records and Beautiful Intentions[edit]

Chisholm performing in Germany, in 2006

On 1 January 2004, Virgin Records dismissed Chisholm after the conflict in previous years about the direction in her solo career.[74] In April 2004, she founded her own label, Red Girl Records, to record and release her own projects. All of Chisolm's activities are decided upon and funded by herself. The label name was inspired by the colours of the football Liverpool F.C., of which Chisholm is a supporter.[75] Nancy Phillips, who had been Chisholm's manager and business partner since the label's inception, retired in 2017.[76][77]

In June 2004, she embarked in a five-date concert tour, The Barfly Mini-Tour, performed in The Barfly music halls, a series of venues dedicated to independent music. In October 2004, Chisholm finished recording her third album.[78] In an interview, Chisholm said she wanted to create deeper songs using piano, violin and personal themes.[79] On 4 April 2005, Chisholm released "Next Best Superstar" as the lead single of her third album.[80] It was released in three formats: two singles with B-sides – the acoustic version or the B-side "Everything Must Change" – and a remixes EP.[81] The song peaked at number 10 in the UK.[10] On 11 April, she released Beautiful Intentions, her third album and first by Red Girl.[82] It was produced by Greg Haver, Guy Chambers, Paul Boddy and eleven of the twelve songs were written by Chisholm.[82] The album peaked at number 24 in the UK, top 15 other Europeans countries,[9] and was certified gold in Germany and Switzerland.[44][83]

In support of the album, she embarked at Beautiful Intentions Tour, starting on 16 April in O2 Academy Birmingham, in London, and travelling for twenty-five dates across Europe and Asia.[84] On 1 August, "Better Alone" was released only in the UK as the second single, but did not enter the charts due to the single being available online.[85] "First Day of My Life" was released as single on 30 September in Australia and Europe – except in the UK.[86] The song was not included in the original version of the album, only in the 2006 re-released version, becoming the second international single from Beautiful Intentions.[87] Originally been recorded by Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, with lyrics in Italian as "Un Nuovo Giorno" for his 2004 eponymous album Andrea. The song peaked at number 1 in Spain, Germany, Switzerland and Portugal, number 2 in Austria, and in the top 30 in Norway, France and Denmark.[44][83][88] On 24 February 2006, "Better Alone" was released in Australia and Europe as the third official single, after a limited release in the UK the previous year.[89] The song entered the charts in some countries, peaked at thirty-six in Italy and thirty-three in Switzerland.[90][66] On 3 April, the album was re-released, including "First Day of My Life" and the music video.[91] In 2006, Chisholm released her first live DVD, Live Hits, recorded on 31 August 2006 at the Bridge in South East, London. The DVD peaked at number 10.[92]

2007–2010: This Time and Spice Girls reunion[edit]

Chisholm performing in 2007

In early 2007, Chisholm finished recording her next album and, in March, she released two singles simultaneously.[93] "The Moment You Believe" was released in Europe, except in the UK, and peaked at number 1 in Spain and Portugal, and in the top 20 in Switzerland, Sweden and Germany.[90][94] Produced and co-written by Peter Vettese, it has been soundbed for the spring advertising campaign for German television show Nur die Liebe Zählt.[95] "I Want Candy" was released only in the UK and Italy, peaking at number 24 and number 9, respectively,[10][66] and featured on the soundtrack to the film of the same name. The song was a cover version of the Strangeloves song.[96] On 30 March, she released her fourth album, This Time, with thirteen tracks – six written by Chisholm – and other two cover versions: "What If I Stay" and "Don't Let Me Go", by Jill Jackson, from her debut album.[97] The album peaked at number 57 in the UK and number 8 in Switzerland, which was certified gold.[83] "Carolyna" was released as the third single on 8 June.[98] During an interview at Loose Women, Chisholm revealed that she wrote this song after watching a documentary about young adults and teenagers homeless, living in the streets in Seattle.[99] The song peaked at 49 in the UK, and in the top 50 in other countries.[10][90]

Spice Girls performing in 2007

On 28 June 2007, the Spice Girls held a surprise press conference at The O2 Arena revealing their reunion for embark in a worldwide concert tour, The Return of the Spice Girls, starting in Vancouver on 2 December.[100] They received £10 million each for the tour.[101] Filmmaker Bob Smeaton, directed an official documentary on the reunion. It was entitled Giving You Everything.[102] At the same time, Chisholm released the fourth single of her album, "This Time", features the B-side "We Love to Entertain You", which was used for 2007's Pro7 Starforce campaign in Germany.[103] The song peaked at number 94 in the UK and 69 in Germany.[10][73] On 5 November, the Spice Girls released their return single, "Headlines (Friendship Never Ends)", also announced as the official Children in Need charity single and performed at Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.[104] The song peaked at number 11, becoming the first song to not reach the top 10.[10] The music video was directed by Anthony Mandler and the girls used exclusive clothes designed by Roberto Cavalli.[105] They released a compilation album, the Greatest Hits in November, including the singles, the 1997 Pepsi's theme "Move Over" and two new songs, "Voodoo" and "Headlines (Friendship Never Ends)".[106] The compilation sold 6 million copies.[107]

They embarked on the tour on 2 December, traveling for 47 dates until 26 February 2008.[108] The tour is estimated to have grossed over US$70 million[109] and produced $107.2 million in ticket sales and merchandising.[110] The tour won the 2008 Billboard Touring Award.[111] As well as their sell-out tour, the Spice Girls were contracted to appear in Tesco advertisements, for which they were paid £1 million each.[112] After the end of the reunion with the Spice Girls, Chisholm embarked on her fifth tour, the This Time Canadian Tour, in May 2008, performing in nine Canadian cities.[113] On 25 July, "Understand" was released as fifth and final single from This Time only in Canada.[114] In 2009, it was planned she would star in a sequel to the 1996 horror film The Craft, but the production was canceled.[115] On 29 June, Chisholm released her second DVD concert, Live at the Hard Rock Cafe, including two previously unreleased songs, "Blue Skies All the Way" and "Paris Burning".[116] The DVD peaked at number 22 in the UK.[117]

2009–2014: Acting, The Sea and Stages[edit]

Chisholm at the Royal Albert Hall, in 2011

In October 2009, she had her acting debut on stage as Mrs Johnstone in the musical Blood Brothers, a new version of the 1983 original production. In an interview, Chisholm revealed that while she had been invited to star in movies and plays .[118] She starred on Blood Brothers until the end of 2010.[119] She was named as best actress in the thirty-fourth edition of Laurence Olivier Award.[120] The critics have cited Chisholm as the favorite, but she did not win.[118] In the same year she started working on her next album. On 24 June 2011, "Rock Me" was released as single only in Germany and peaked at number 33 in the country.[121] The song was served as the official theme from 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup.[122] "Think About It" was chosen as worldwide single and marked the Chisholm return to dance-pop.[123] The song peakead at number 95 in the UK, 15 in the UK Indie Chart and top 40 in other European countries.[10][124] The Sea, her fifth studio album, was released on 2 September, and was produced by Andy Chatterley, Cutfather and Peter-John Vettese.[125] The album peaked at number 45 in the UK and also 13 in Switzerland and sixteen in Germany.[125]

Chisholm was mentor assistant in the third season of The X Factor Australia and helped the Mel B team, formed by under 25 years-old girls, during the selection process.[126] The girls did not reach the final.[127] "Weak" was released only in the UK as the third single, charting in the UK Indie Chart.[125][128] "Let There Be Love" was released as fourth and final single of The Sea in Germany and Switzerland.[129] She also recorded "Viva Life" for the documentary Bash Street.[130] In November, she embarked on her sixth concert tour, The Sea – Live, traveling in Europe during 17 dates.[131] The record of the tour was released as DVD on 27 February 2012.[132] In her interview for "Ask Melanie C Episode 8" on her YouTube channel, Chisholm said that she "feels very sad as The Sea was a really great album and it wasn't as successful as it deserved to be" [133] In April, Chisholm was invited by British DJ Jodie Harsh to collaborate on an electronic project.[134] On 13 May they released the EP The Night, including three songs.[135] "Set You Free" was released as a promo single from the EP.[10] In July, she was judge of the ITV talent show Superstar, which searched to find an actor to starring the musical Jesus Christ Superstar.[136] Ben Forster was chosen.[137]

Chisholm at the Gibraltar International Jazz Festival, in 2013

Chisholm co-starred in the musical, playing the role of Mary Magdalene.[138] For her performance Chisholm won Best Supporting Actress in a musical at the Awards.[139] She played the character until 2013.[140] Inspired by the stage, Chisholm began recording an album with musical theatre songs.[141] "I Don't Know How to Love Him" was released on 22 July and peaked at number 20 on UK Indie Chart.[142] The song is a version of Yvonne Elliman from 1970 musical Jesus Christ Superstar.[143] On 7 September, Chisholm released her sixth studio album, Stages, produced by Peter-John Vettese and featuring a collection of show tunes that have been important to Chisholm at various stages of her life.[144] The album peaked at number 50 in the UK and 83 in Ireland.[10] "I Know Him So Well", a version of the Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson song from the 1984 musical Chess, was released as a single on 11 November, featuring vocals by British singer Emma Bunton.[145] The song peaked at number 153 in the UK and 14 in the UK Indie Chart.[10][146]

She also was part of The Justice Collective, a super-group of musicians, including Robbie Williams and Paul McCartney, who recorded the charity song "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother".[147] The song was released as single on 17 December and peaked at number 1.[10] In 2013, she played Christy in the British comedy film Play Hard.[148] On 18 August, released "Loving You", a collaboration with British singer Matt Cardle.[149] The song peaked at number 14, becoming the first Chisholm's song in the top 15 since 2005.[150] She released her first live album, Live at Shepherd's Bush Empire, on 12 December.[151] On 12 January 2014, Chisholm celebrated her 40th birthday with a special show for the fans, entitled Sporty's Forty, singing her hits and featured Emma Bunton.[152] On 31 March, the Slovakian singer Peter Aristone released "Cool as You", featured vocals of Chisholm, as lead single from 19 Days in Tetbury.[153] Her cover version of "Ain't Got No, I Got Life", by Nina Simone, was included in the compilation Beautiful Cover Versions.[154] She also had a cameo appearance in the music video "Word Up", by Little Mix.[155]

2015–2018: Television and Version of Me[edit]

In 2015, Chisholm joined the judging panel for Asia's Got Talent, along with David Foster, Anggun Cipta, and Vanness Wu.[156] They started the selection in Singapore.[157] During production and selections, Chisholm lived in Malaysia, where the program was recorded.[158] The Asia's Got Talent live shows, with the semifinalists, was aired in March 2015, and ran two months until the finals.[159] On 14 May Chisholm and the judges released a cover version of "Let's Groove", originally by Earth, Wind & Fire, and performed the song in the final.[160] In October, she was mentor assistant in the game competition Bring the Noise.[161] At the same time, she started working on her seventh studio album.[162] The second season of Asia's Got Talent was confirmed for summer 2016, but the project has been discontinued.[163] In 2016, she was featured as a vocalist on "Numb" with Sons Of Sonix, which was stated to be a song from her upcoming album.[164] In September 2016, she made a cameo appearance in KT Tunstall's music video for "Hard Girls".[165] Her seventh album, Version of Me, was released on 21 October 2016.[166] The album entered the UK Albums Chart at number 25, her first top 40 album since "Beautiful Intentions" in 2005.

Chisholm appeared on the Graham Norton Show in May 2017 to perform a duet with Keith Urban for his song, The Fighter. She sang in place of Carrie Underwood, who was the original singer on the duet.[167] On 27 May 2017, Chisholm performed in Mexico City as part of the Classics Fest concert series, which also featured performances by Vanilla Ice and Jenny Berggren of Ace of Base, held at the Auditorio Blackberry. This marked Chisholm's first time performing as a solo artist in Latin America and her first visit in many years since her days with the Spice Girls. Chisholm stated upon her musical return to Mexico, "I haven't been back to Mexico in many years and when I was there it was very brief, so I am excited to return and sing."[168] In June, Chisholm also performed for the first time in Brazil, playing live shows in both Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.[169] In late 2017, Chisholm was co-headliner at Night of the Proms, a 25-concert tour in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg.[170][171][172] In 2018, she turned her hand to disc jockeying by performing a "90s mix" at various events,[173] and embarked on the Melanie C - Asia Tour 2018.[174]

2019–present: Spice Girls reunion and Melanie C[edit]

Chisolm performing during the last date of the Spice World – 2019 Tour at Wembley Stadium in London

On 5 November 2018, Chisholm along with the Spice Girls announced a reunion tour. She and ex-bandmates Melanie B, Bunton and Geri Halliwell reunited for the Spice World – 2019 Tour, a 13 date tour of eight cities in the UK and Ireland that was their first for a decade. The tour opened at Croke Park, Dublin on 24 May 2019 and concluded at Wembley Stadium in London on 15 June 2019.[175]

On 6 November 2019, Chisholm released the single "High Heels" which was written with Rae Morris and Benjamin "Fryars" Garrett and features drag act Sink the Pink.[176] During promotion for the single, Chisholm stated during an interview with The Guardian that she had been working on a new album with artists including Shura and Little Boots.[177]

On 19 March 2020, Chisholm released "Who I Am", the lead single from her eighth album, Melanie C. The single did not enter the Official UK Top 100 Chart, but peaked at number 27 on the Official Singles Sales Chart Top 100.[178] Chisholm first performed "Who I Am" live on 21 April 2020 on The Late Late Show with James Corden, where she live streamed her performance from her home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When asked how she was coping with the lockdown restrictions, she responded, "I'm keeping busy. I'm trying to get my album finished, remotely. I've been trying to stay connected with the fans: I've been doing lots of live Q&A's and streaming."[179] On 13 May 2020, Chisholm sang "Who I Am", among other singles from her career, as part of a "bathroom" gig in aid of WaterAid.[180] On 27 May 2020, Chisholm released "Blame It on Me".[181] "In and Out of Love" was released as the album's third single on 29 July 2020.[182] On 3 August 2020, Chisholm told BBC Music: "Obviously, I'm making a pop-dance record and I'm a mature artist, so I have to accept that some radio stations are not going to be playing me anymore. That's something to overcome. But I want people to enjoy this album, I want people to dance to it, I want people to be empowered by it. And when coronavirus has done one, I want to get out there and perform it live."[183] On 16 September 2020, Chisholm premiered the video for "Fearless" the fourth single off the album, which is a collaboration with UK rapper Nadia Rose. "Meeting Nadia was kismet. I'd seen her on Kathy Burke's documentary series on women and fallen in love with her attitude. As female artists, we have to be fearless. I love this girl."[184] Melanie C was released on 2 October 2020 to critical success.[185][186] The album entered the UK Albums Chart at number 8, her first top 10 album since Reason in 2003.

On 13 November 2020, Chisholm was featured on "Stop Crying Your Heart Out" as part of the BBC Radio 2's Allstars' Children in Need charity single.[187] Chisholm also made a guest appearance in British singer-songwriter Celeste's music video, "Love is Back", which premiered in January 2021.[188]

Personal life[edit]

Chisholm in 2005

Chisholm has been open about her experiences with clinical depression[65] and an eating disorder. She spoke of her eating disorder to Contact Music, stating: "I'd hammered the gym for three hours a day. It was a way of running away, not thinking. I felt like a robot. When the papers started calling me 'Sumo Spice', I was only a size 10. But I was so upset by all the criticism, it got worse and I went up to a size 14".[65][189] In 1997, Chisholm had a month-long relationship with Robbie Williams.[190] In 1998, she dated record producer Jake Davies.[191] In the summer of the same year, Chisholm had a relationship with Anthony Kiedis, the vocalist of Red Hot Chili Peppers.[192][193] Kiedis wrote "Emit Remmus", which is "summer time" spelled backwards, inspired by his relationship with Chisholm.[194] The song was included in Californication.[195] In 2000, Chisholm and Jason "J" Brown had an on-off relationship.[196][197]

In February 2009, Chisholm gave birth to her first child, a daughter named Scarlet.[198][199][200] In an interview with the BBC, Chisholm admitted that the arrival of her child proved to be a turning point in her life: "Being a mum was so liberating because for the first time in my adult life, it wasn't all about me. It made me not only realise I had a huge responsibility to her but I have a huge responsibility to myself. In being her teacher, I had to treat myself better."[201]

Chisholm has a country home in Catbrook, Monmouthshire, Wales.[202] She is a supporter of Liverpool Football Club[203] and an amateur triathlete, having completed the London Triathlon twice.[204] Chisholm is the half-sister of racing driver Paul O'Neill.[205]


In 2000, all proceeds from sales of her "If That Were Me" single went towards the Kandu Arts charity.[206] In 2012, Chisholm joined the Sport Relief telethon by appearing in a Never Mind the Buzzcocks special.[207] Chisholm also participated in a three-mile "Sport Relief Mile" run.[208] In 2013, Chisholm joined Jack Dee, Dara Ó Briain, Greg James, Chelsee Healey and Philips Idowu in Through Hell and High Water, a Comic Relief challenge which involved British celebrities canoeing the most difficult rapids of the Zambezi River. They raised over £1 million for the charity. In 2014, Chisholm travelled to Ghana to support a charity campaign by Procter & Gamble that provides African children with clean drinking water. The project involved the use of purification sachets that changes the water from stagnant to drinkable.[209] Chisholm also supported a homeless charity by donating funds raised from her annual calendar.[210]


Chisholm has cited Madonna as her biggest musical influence


Chisholm has cited Madonna as her biggest musical influence.[211] She stated: "I think she's inspired me a lot musically, and maybe [in] just the way I present myself. I've always admired how hard she works and what a strong lady she is, so she's always inspired me in that way."[212] Chisholm named Madonna, Blur, Oasis, Suede and the Cardigans as inspirations for her first album.[213]

Melanie C with Spice Girls at Wembley Stadium during the Spiceworld-Tour (2019)


Melanie C is classified as mezzo-soprano,[214] with a large vocal range,[215] up to a live C6.[216] Her main characteristics are to posses a distinctive timbre,[217][218] a unique vocal ability that helped shoot the Spice Girls to international stardom,[219][220] and a versatile voice for different styles and music genres.[221] Her voice is flex and snap,[222] strong and inspirational, with a mixture of lightness and weight,[223] with a slightly nasal, raspy and powerful tone,[224] clear and emotional.[225]

Musical style[edit]

Chisholm's music is generally pop and rock.[1][2] Being the first member of the group to go solo, with Adams on When You're Gone in 1998, she has been versatile when it comes to style, incorporating pop-rock, rock, post-grunge, ambient, acoustic, R&B, hip hop, dance, trance, dance-pop, dance-rock, electro, into her sound.[226] She also released an album of show tunes.[2]

Spice Girls dolls with Sporty Spice
Girl Power slogan on display
Spice's bus used in the film Spice World (1997) was a Cool Britannia icon
A scene from the music video, featuring Chisholm dressed in a red cheongsam, in a segment based on the film Year of the Dragon
Cabs carrying the Spice Girls at the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony
Adele credits the Spice Girls as a major influence

Cultural impact and legacy[edit]

As a Spice Girls member Chisholm was called "Sporty Spice" because she usually wore a tracksuit paired with athletic shoes, wore her long dark hair in a high ponytail, and sported a tough girl attitude as well as tattoos on both of her arms. She also possessed true athletic abilities, including being able to perform back handsprings.[227] In this period, the phrase "girl power" put a name to a social phenomenon, but the slogan was met with mixed reactions. The phrase was a label for the particular facet of post classical neo-feminist empowerment embraced by the band: that a sensual, feminine appearance and equality between the sexes need not be mutually exclusive.[228] The term "Cool Britannia" became prominent in the media and represented the new political and social climate that was emerging with the advances made by New Labour and the new UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. Although by no means responsible for the onset of "Cool Britannia", the arrival of the Spice Girls added to the new image and re-branding of Britain, and underlined the growing world popularity of British, rather than American, pop music.[229]

The Spice Girls broke onto the music scene at a time when alternative rock, hip-hop and R&B dominated global music charts. The modern pop phenomenon that the Spice Girls created by targeting early members of Generation Y was credited with changing the global music landscape,[230][231][232] bringing about the global wave of late-1990s and early-2000s teen pop acts such as Hanson, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and NSYNC.[233][234][235][236] The Spice Girls have also been credited with paving the way for the girl groups and female pop singers that have come after them.[237][238][239] In the UK, they are credited for their massive commercial breakthrough in the previously male-dominated pop music scene,[239][240] leading to the widespread formation of new girl groups in the late 1990s and early 2000s including All Saints, B*Witched, Atomic Kitten, Girls Aloud and Sugababes, hoping to emulate the Spice Girls' success.[241][242][243] The Pussycat Dolls,[244] 2NE1,[245] Girls' Generation,[246] Little Mix,[247][248] Fifth Harmony,[249] Lady Gaga,[250] Jess Glynne,[251] Alexandra Burke,[251] Kim Petras,[252] Charli XCX,[253][254] Rita Ora,[255] Demi Lovato[256] Carly Rae Jepsen,[257] Regine Velasquez, [258] ,[259] Billie Eilish and Adele[260][261] credits the Spice Girls as a major influence, in which Melanie C was the prominent voice.[262]

Some songs from Northern Star have appeared in films, such as "Ga Ga" which is heard in Charmed and Big Daddy. The song "Go" makes an appearance in Whatever It Takes. "Suddenly Monday" appears in Maybe Baby and on its soundtrack. After the song gained popularity, "I Turn to You" was featured in the film Bend It Like Beckham. It was covered by Darkseed on "Ultimate Darkness", by Machinae Supremacy on "Webography", and by Wig Wam on 667.. The Neighbour of the Beast. The song was also featured in the musical Viva Forever!, a musical show based on the songs of the Spice Girls. Some songs have also been covered by international artists such as Christine Fan, who covered and translated "Suddenly Monday" in Chinese for her debut album FanFan's World, and Dutch pop singer Do who covered the Japanese bonus-track "Follow Me", for her album of the same name. The single "First Day of My Life" was originally recorded by Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, with lyrics in Italian as "Un Nuovo Giorno" (A new day) for his 2004 album Andrea, and he also released it as a single the same year. Chisolm's version of the single was a success in German-speaking countries because it was used as the title song of the German soap opera telenovela Wege zum Glück. At the time of The Sea's release, the lead single "Rock Me" served as the official theme song for German TV channel ZDF's coverage of the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup.[263]

Chisholm has received co-writing credits for most of the songs recorded with Spice Girls and her solo efforts. The main concept of the Spice Girl albums centred on the idea of Girl Power, embodying a feminist image, as both Madonna and Bananarama had employed before, and every track deals with different aspects of this notion. Other central themes in the writing of the group were the union, solidarity, friendship, independence, love, loss of virginity, sex, contraception, the relationship with parents during adolescence, vulnerability and fame. Many of these themes were carried out even during her solo career, but with a more mature writing, intense style and in some songs a more raw and direct language. Added to these were social issues such as homelessness, and introspective themes.[264] Having co-written 11 UK number 1s, more than any other female artist, she remains the only female performer to top the charts as a solo artist, as part of a duo, quartet and quintet. With 12 UK Number 1 singles, including the charity single as part of the Justice Collective, she is the second female artist – and the first British female artist – with the most singles at number 1 in the UK, and with a total of 14 songs that have risen to number 1 in Britain (including the double A-sides), Chisolm is the first artist with most number 1 songs in the UK ranking history.[13][14]



Year Title Role Notes
1997 Spice World Herself Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress
Nominated – Orange Blimp Award for Favorite Movie Actress
Nominated – Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actress – Comedy
2012 Keith Lemon: The Film Herself
2012 The Spice Girls Story: Viva Forever! Herself Documentary
2013 Play Hard Christy
Year Title Role Notes
2000 The Norm Show Herself "Norm vs. Jenny" (Season 2, Episode 15)
2003 Bo' Selecta! Various roles "Melanie C" (Season 2, Episode 6)
2006 Dei-te Quase Tudo Herself "10 May 2006" (Season 1, Episode 132)
2007 Giving You Everything Herself Television documentary
2007 The Friday Night Project Guest host "Melanie C" (Season 5, Episode 4)
2011 The X Factor Australia Mentor assistant Season 3
2012 Superstar Judge / Mentor
2014 The Life of Rock with Brian Pern Herself "Bi-Polar Polar Bear Aid" (Season 2, Episode 3)
2015 Bring the Noise Mentor assistant Season 1
2015 Asia's Got Talent Judge Season 1


Year Title Role
2009–10 Blood Brothers Mrs Johnstone
2012–13 Jesus Christ Superstar Mary Magdalene

Concert tours[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]


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  • Goldstein, Jack; Taylor, Frankie (2013). 101 Amazing Spice Girls Facts (Revised ed.). Andrews UK Limited. pp. 1–26. ISBN 978-1-78234-808-5.
  • Sinclair, David (2009). Spice Girls Revisited: How The Spice Girls Reinvented Pop (Reprint ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-85712-111-0.

External links[edit]