Vanilla (band)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Origin Barnet, England, United Kingdom
Genres Pop
Years active 1997–1999
Labels EMI
Past members Frances Potter
Alison Potter
Alida Swart
Sharon Selby

Vanilla was a British girl group from Barnet, England, founded in 1996.[1]


The band members were sisters Frances Potter (b. 17 October 1974, London) and Alison Potter (b. 29 January 1980, London), plus their friends Alida Swart (born 1975) and Sharon Selby. They released two singles for EMI in the late 1990s.

The band's first single was "No Way, No Way," released on 15 December 1997 and based on Piero Umiliani's "Mah Nà Mah Nà." Its title may have been a glancing reference to Auberon Waugh's comments on the propensity of Estuary English speakers (as heard in the song) to use the phrase "no way" and to pronounce it (as also heard in the song) as "now why". The song peaked at number 14 in the UK Singles Chart and number 24 in New Zealand. It was later featured on several compilations, including Now That's What I Call Music!'s thirty-ninth issue and Dancemania's eighth issue, both released in 1998. The accompanying music video was filmed at Brockwell Lido in Brixton, South London. The clip won the dubious title of "Worst Music Video Ever" on the 1997 ITV Chart Show end-of-year special and was voted number 26 on Channel 4's "100 Worst Pop Records". The follow-up was "True to Us," released on 6 April 1998, which rose to number 36 in the UK Top 40. Although mocked on Channel 4's morning program The Big Breakfast, the group regularly took part in the show's "Vanilla's Thrillers" feature; including making a return for Johnny and Denise's final week hosting the show.

While promoting their two singles with EMI, Vanilla made media appearances, including a performance of "No Way, No Way" on Top of the Pops, performing a spoof version of "True to Us" on Blue Peter with Mabel the Blue Peter dog. They also obtained a feature on Men & Motors. They embarked on a tour of schools around the UK and were a minor act on the 1998 Disney Channel UK tour. Vanilla utilized a Mr. Whippy ice cream van as a tour bus, handing out ice cream cones post-performance. It was reported in Smash Hits magazine that the band's ice cream van had experienced a minor crash while on tour. After only two years, record label EMI released the group from their contract. A cover version of the Bananarama hit "Love In the First Degree" was rumored to have been recorded by Vanilla for their third single if their EMI contract was extended. Despite losing their contract with EMI, Vanilla continued to record and perform. They made various appearances at London's PopShow Party events[6] where they played a cover of Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'," that they had intended to release as a single with new member "Ashley." The girls won a public vote on PopShow Party's website to have one of their original tracks made available to stream. The track that was chosen was "Realise," produced by The Next Room Productions, with whom Vanilla had previously worked on the original versions of "No Way, No Way" and "True to Us."

In 2003, according to a now-defunct Vanilla website, members Alison and Sharon were to continue as a duo performing under the name Vanilla, while Frances formed a new performance group called Northbound. In 2011, Frances appeared on the identity parade segment in Episode No. 25.8 of Nevermind the Buzzcocks, hosted by James Blunt. It was indicated that Frances was working on a dance track with "TNR productions."

In 2014 Alida was interviewed for an article in The Guardian about the pitfalls of having a hit novelty record.[2]

Discography UK NZ
No Way No Way 14[3] 24[4]
True To Us 36[3]
Realise (Promo Single)
These Boots Are Made for Walkin' (Unreleased)


  1. ^ "Were Vanilla really the worst girl"band" in the history of the Universe?". Archived from the original on 28 February 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  2. ^ Robinson, Peter (2014-09-11). "'You become an arse overnight': the pitfalls of having a hit novelty single". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-07-18. 
  3. ^ a b "VANILLA | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Retrieved 2016-03-23. 
  4. ^ " - Vanilla [UK] - "No Way, No Way"". Retrieved 2016-03-23.