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Posted By Lah    December 13th, 2011    0

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I’ve been going to Melanie C solo gigs since day one. You know, the days when she would pack out Shepherd’s Bush Empire and the other Spice Girls would pitch up to watch and create a huge stir.

In those days there’s no doubt she was riding the crest of a wave off the back of the band. But Northern Star was a strong debut from ‘the voice’ of the Spice World.

Still, cynics doubted her. She was a ‘fad’, a ‘flash in the pan’ and would leave within a few years to relative retirement or end up on some reality show. People underestimated the fact Melanie’s a grafter. She wasn’t going anywhere.

She wasn’t in this music malarkey for a quick fix. Melanie was always about the long term goal at the end.
With her eagerly awaited fifth solo album The Sea we’ve seen her go back to basics. And it’s the nearest thing to Northern Star she’s released. It’s personal, well thought out and lyrically far superior to anything she’s done for years.

But most of all for me, having gotten to know her a little bit over the years, she’s full of integrity and that’s what I find so endearing about her.

Melanie left Virgin and set up Red Girl Records when they tried to shove her down a different route (making her release tracks like On The Horizon).

This is a woman who stuck to her guns, invested a load of her own money and wouldn’t be a part of a world that said they wanted one particular sound or voice.

This industry has obviously changed hugely since her debut.
Albums are failing to sell. You only have to look at the recent flops of Pixie Lott and The Saturdays to see that supposed mass popularity doesn’t always equal success with album sales.

To be a success now you need to be a live act. You need to write your own music and you need to be able to take music on the road and create a fanbase. And it’s a bloody hard slog, as Melanie has found out. But she’s still here – and more fulfilled in her life than she’s ever been both professionally and personally.

I stood on the balcony at Scala this week next to her man Tom Starr and we sang along to everything. He’s phenomenally proud of her and watching her on stage you could see why.

She’s not your typical popstar and she’s not the spring chicken she once was. But she’s evolved into a live performer with credibility.
If you go to a Melanie C concert you will have hits – but you also have an old school live act. A vast amount of work, sung completely live with no gimmicks. It’s about the music.

There’s no flashing a breast, grinding to a Calvin Harris backing track or singing some old toot a label forces you to do. I feel a bit like I’m writing a manifesto for why Melanie C is relevant in today’s music scene – and I kind of am.

While many stars of the moment will slip away over the years, Melanie will still be here. The Sea has opened up a whole new chapter for her in my opinion. And if she carries on performing concerts like she has this week then she will guarantee her future in the music scene.

You can say what you like about the Spice Girls but when it comes to Melanie C you ought to get used to having around. Because she isn’t going anywhere.


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