After a break to have her daughter and to star in the West End Show ‘Blood Brothers’, former Spice Girl, and all round nice lady, Melanie C is back with her fifth solo album, and we think it’s a corker. We sent Simon Savidge to catch up with her to discuss if going solo still makes her nervous, how motherhood has changed her and a few more spicy things.
So how is all in the world of Melanie C?
Well apart from having to talk about myself all day (laughs) which gets a little bit boring, I am very good thank you. Sorry that makes me sound really grumpy doesn’t it? The promotion for a new album is always a killer and you always forget how gruelling it can be but I love it at the same time. There’s a nervous excitement.
Before we go any further do you prefer Mel C or Melanie C, or Melanie Chisholm or just Melanie?
Ha, ha. You know people don’t ask that very often weirdly. I actually like Melanie C, that’s why I have never become Melanie Chisholm on an album. Melanie C sort of merges the spice side, though there I was Mel C but I prefer Melanie, with the C. (Laughs) That sounds really diva like and I am so not… Call me what you like love. Ha.
I wondered if you ever feel nervous with a new album, ‘The Sea’ is your fifth after all. Does it still scare you to some degree?
Oh god yes. I think if anything I get more nervous. In fact, I have been very nervous with this album in particular. I know that everyone says this every album they make but this is actually my favourite album I have made I think. It has got elements of the very first album ‘Northern Star’ in being quite eclectic and I think my song writing is some of my best… (laughs) Not that I am saying I have written any old pop song before this. Ha.
Does it make it more nerve wrecking because you are on your own label now?
There is an added pressure there yes, though I have been on my own label for three albums now. I think that the pressure is more me putting it on myself. There is also the pressure to perform financially in a lot of ways; I have to pay my team and the bills after all.
I somehow don’t imagine a former Spice Girl having to worry about paying the bills…
Ha, ha, ha. Well there is an added pressure. There is also additional freedom. I am in a position where I can work with the people I want to work with and make the music I want to make. Not that being on a big label wasn’t great… you just have a lot of other people’s influences and decisions, which can change what you are doing, even in minimal ways. I like the control and the fact I can try lots of different things now.
So let’s talk about ‘The Sea’, why that title? It wasn’t a play on Melanie ‘C’ was it?
No, do you know what, that’s come up a few times and I have been thinking ‘oh no’, it gives it a naff aspect (laughs). Too late now. Seriously though, when I wrote this album I tended to be in various studios near the sea. So, on my way in I would make sure that I walked along the seafront and it was so calming and clearing, yet some mornings it could be blustery and quite harsh. I liked that. It was like a focus point. We recorded the waves for the song ‘The Sea’ though I don’t think it is a theme in all the songs… there is a song called ‘Drown’ though, make of that what you will.
Would you like to do more musicals?
Yes, definitely. I obviously want to concentrate on this album and the singles that come from it, but yes there may be some more theatre work in the pipeline. I really need to go and see ‘Wicked’ as everyone has told me that is amazing. I don’t think I have any roles I am desperate to play, I was desperate to be in Blood Brothers I have to say, I would like to see what comes my way. Maybe some acting as well, who knows?
Has motherhood changed you?
(Beams) Totally. Scarlet is everything to me. I think having a child can ground you more, it’s not all about what I want to do now, well not always, it is about what’s best for us. I also think it has made me work harder. I want her to be really proud of her mum.
Oh I am sure she will be, who can say their mum was a Spice Girl?
Ha… actually (laughs) there are now eleven Spice babies so it’s not as rare as you might think. In fact its almost becoming common (laughs).
Speaking of the Spice Girls, it seems like there is about to be a bit of a solo Spice resurgence isn’t there?
Well there might be. I know Geri is actively going back to the studio and seeing what happens. I think Emma has thought about it and it could happen. Melanie B has made some new material but she is now really busy with the Australian X Factor.
Have you been tempted to be a judge on any shows as Victoria, Geri, Mel and Emma have all done it?
Not really. I went and joined Melanie B to help her whittle down her category in LA and that was hard. These people are all so talented and there is such high emotion everywhere. I don’t know if I could do it. I never say never though.
I have to ask about the Spice Girls, are you going to get back together again as the reunion tour was great.
You know we had the biggest blast on that tour. None of us knew if it would work we just realised we really wanted to do it again. There is nothing booked in, but again (laughs) you can never say never. We will see. I would like to but it’s a case of timing and getting all five of us to do it. I am glad we did the last one, it cemented things.
When did you last do a backflip?
Ha,ha, ha. The Spice Girls tour. It was at Madison Square Gardens and let’s just say I haven’t done one since. Mind you… have you seen the heels I am wearing now? I thought for this album I would do something a bit different so the skin-tight girl came in with heels. I did a gig the other week that had a slope… no one warned me. Fucking hell, I thought it was going to fall off them. (Whispers) Do you want to know a secret? (Laughs) People have to help me in them. Ha. But there is a time in a girl’s life where the heels have to come out.
Oh the gays will love them…
Not as much as I love the gays. Actually I want that in capitals. My gay audience have been the best. They have been incredibly important to me. So a big thanks to them and their loyalty.
Melanie C’s new album ‘The Sea’ is out now on Red Girl Records. For more information on Melanie and any tour dates coming up etc you can visit www.melaniec.net