MelC Sun Article - 8/23/99

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Mel C: This Is The Real Me

While Posh and Scary Spice have become mums for real, their band mate Mel C has given birth to a baby of her own. She sees her new solo career as her little bundle of joy - it has given her something to do while her Spice pals breastfeed and change nappies. Mel also says this is the real her - a swearing, working-class grunge kid without a backflip or Liverpool shirt in sight. We are talking backstage at the V99 festival in Chelmsford, Essex, where she has just won over a crowd of 50,000 doubters with her aggressive guitar-based rock set. She admits she's lived in a chaotic Spice world for the last three years but now the time has come for her to step out of her shellsuit. She tells me: "When the girls became pregnant I knew they were going to need time off. I thought I would create my own baby and this is it. This is the real me - stripped bare. I have lived in the Spice bubble for a long time and I want to show the world what I am really like. I wasn't going to sit around doing nothing but it is not going to mean the end of the band. It will only make us fucking strong and I need this outlet to get things out of my system. I want to be accepted as a solo artist and show I can do things on my own. Yes, I do swear, and people might find that shocking. When you talk to your nan you don't swear. When you are performing in front of thousands of young Spice Girls fans or you are on Live And Kicking you don't swear. But come on - I'm at a festival and I'm a working-class girl from Liverpool and I swear - of course I fucking do. People say this is a new image, a new direction, but it is just me."

Mel is effing and blinding on stage, too, shouting: "I don't give a fuck - my band are wicked, even if you think I'm shit."

A few bottles are thrown towards the stage as she walks on but later Mel is in defiant mood, although admitting to some pre-gig nerves. She says: "I was lying in bed this morning feeling terrified. I wished the other girls were with me on stage so I could hide behind them. But once I was up there I wasn't looking for them. This feels so different. I love doing Spice Girls stuff and dancing but deep down I've always wanted my own rock band. I feel very comfortable and independent. As a solo artist, the only responsibility I've got when I'm up there is to myself, not to three other girls. If I fuck it up I've only got myself to blame. I don't have to say sorry to everyone. But I do miss them. I wish they were backstage with me now, looking after me." She adds: "I know there are a few cynics out there who don't want to accept me but I think I've got the songs to win them over. I know I am a winner."

Mel also says she has made her peace with Geri Halliwell and is delighted her former bandmate has hit No 1 with Mi Chico Latino. She says: "We're all made up for her. We were all talking about her the other day and how happy we are with her success. It's cool between us all. We are so close and there is no jealousy between any of us."

Mel C and Emma are soon to become neighbours. Baby Spice has just splashed out 1.6million on a penthouse in the complex where Mel lives in Hampstead, North London. Still only 24, Mel and her pals have amassed a 20million fortune since bursting on to the scene in 1996. She reveals: "I am really looking forward to Emma moving in near me. It will be nice hopping round to borrow some sugar. My life is great. I have never been happier. I love being a Spice Girl but now I'm having even more fun. I'm having my cake AND eating it. But it won't be difficult going back to the band. It's just like putting a different hat on."

Mel's diary is as full as her bank account. Solo single Going Down is out next month, followed by the album Northern Star. The title track, her Christmas single, is a No 1 if ever I've heard one. Then it's back on the road with a solo world tour, followed by Spice Girls dates at Christmas. Oh, and in between, there is the small matter of recording the Fab Four's third album at London's Abbey Road studios. Mel admits: "My life is chaotic but even though I've got punky hair and loud guitars and sing the Sex Pistols' Anarchy In The UK, I'm still a Spice Girl at heart. That's why I always sing 'I am an anti-Christ, I am a Sporty Spice and look - I still wear my Spice Girls trainers!"

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