Mel B. Back on the Music Industry Map
As member of the Spice Girls, one the most successful girl groups of all-time, Melanie Brown (Scary Spice, aka known as Mel B.) has also developed a successful identity of her own after the disbandment of the group in 2000. Since then she's released two solo albums (becoming the first solo member of the Spice Girls to have a #1 U.K. single); has taken roles on the theater stage (Mimi in a 2004 Broadway production of "Rent"); a plethora of TV show appearances and gigs ("America's Got Talent," "X-Factor," "Dancing With the Stars") and entrepreneurial endeavors.
But it has been 8 years since we have heard new music from Mel B, until the September 2013 release of "For Once In My Life" that has put her back on the music industry map.
The quick turnaround (from recording to release) of "For Once In My Life" points to the determination and gut intuition of this extroverted artist. "I just want to get my music out," she said about of the release of her new single. And while the single has yet to catch fire in her native U.K., its release has put a spark in Mel B.’s recording career here in the States. It’s been helped by such media heavy weights as Perez Hilton and Ellen DeGeneres who began a public media blitz by pushing the single through Twitter posts and Mel B guest appearances, and is currently a dance favorite amongst clubs across the country. With an empowerment message lyrically flowing over a catchy dance beat, it is gaining the attention of radio, as well.
With Team Mel B vigorously planning the promotion of her new single to include live performances in the U.S., the U.K., and Australia over the next couple months, I was able to sneak in a quick interview with the former Spice Girl to talk about her newly found passion to record again, her plans to release new music over the next year, her time spent in reality TV genre, her investment in Real Water, and the desire for a Spice Girls reunion.
Waiting for the right song
BeBe: After 8 years since your last release, what was the catalyst to get you back into the studio to record ’For Once In My Life,’ your new single?
Mel B: I think since ’America’s Got Talent,’ I’ve been filming that this year, many months sitting there watching people perform week end and week out, and I got a fire in my tummy. I hadn’t had that in 8 years. Yes, throughout the 8 years I’ve been in the studio recording, but I hadn’t found that song I’d written that represents me at this moment in time. It was literally one Tuesday night I’m watching a show in the gym, and I said, ’I want to get back into the studio tonight.’ So, I got in the studio, called my producer, called my co-writer, Deep Throb, and we wrote this song. Two days later, we mastered it.
A week later, I filmed the video in 9 hours on the ’Desperate Housewives’ set. And then, a couple days after that, I just released it. I said to my husband and team, ’I don’t want to promote it in say a week, two weeks. I don’t want to wait that long. I just want to get my music out.’ Literally, I got it out, and it got picked up by Perez (Hilton) and a bunch of my celebrity friends - Kim Kardashian, Ellen DeGeneres started tweeting about it. It’s got what I wanted to get, which was traction because it’s just a good song. I didn’t hype it up by saying listen to my music and I’m back after 8 years. It just sort of happened very organically. This is it. I’ve got that passion back. I don’t know why it took 8 years to get it back, but the passion’s back with a vengeance.
BeBe: You say you were looking for that right song for you, and that ’For Once In My Life’ is it. What’s this song saying? What is the message that is so you right now?
Mel B: It’s about empowering. (It’s) about being a woman and letting go of all that excess baggage. For once in your life do it for you. Do it for yourself. Let go of everything. Just love yourself, be confident inwardly and outwardly.
The video is a bit sassy-pants, too. I rip off my clothes in the middle of the street not caring and letting go of everything. And, that’s exactly how I feel. That’s the representation I wanted to give off. It’s all about feeling good about yourself and sending out a positive message. I want people to put on that song and feel happy about themselves and their lives.
BeBe: Does the scene in the music video where you kiss an image of yourself represent loving yourself?
Mel B: Oh, completely. When you dress up on Friday night to go out with your girlfriends, I’m sure we all look in the mirror and want to just kiss ourselves. And, you’re feeling good about yourself. So, I just put that in my video.
Feel like a desperate housewife
BeBe: So with you on that one! What was it about the ’Desperate Housewives’ set so that you wanted to film the ’For Once In My Life’ music video on it?
Mel B: First starters, it is four different scenes, and I didn’t want to move from location to location to location. So, we did it on one lot. I feel like a desperate housewife sometimes when I’m doing laundry and a bunch of dishwashing stuff. I just want to rip my clothes off and let go. Between my ideas, my husband’s ideas, and the video director’s (Martin Weiss) ideas, with whom I’ve worked with before, we came up with the whole concept for the video from start to end. It’s not trying too hard. It’s not a perfect video. It’s not trying to be too big. It’s just fun!
BeBe: In the 8 years that you’ve been out of the recording scene, you have been busy. You are raising four kids, number one!
Mel B: Four girls at that.
On reality tv
BeBe: Number two, you’ve really been busy with reality TV format shows. You’ve been on ’Dance Your Ass Off,’ ’X-Factor,’ ’America’s Got Talent’, and your own reality show (’It’s A Scary World’) on the Style Network. What is it about these types of shows that grabs your interest?
Mel B: Our reality show - we actually produced ourselves about 4 or 5 years ago. It got syndicated in 34 different countries. I think you can still see it on repeat (reruns). We only did one season of that. Apart from that, I’ve been in Australia and the U.K. doing the’ X-Factor.’ I’ve been on ’Dancing With The Stars’ (finishing second). It’s all been fascinating and inspiring, especially ’America’s Got Talent.’ It definitely gave me that passion back to get up myself and perform. I didn’t know what kind of music I would lay down that (Tuesday) night in the studio. I just knew that I had to get back into music. And, I don’t have a label. I’m funding all of this myself. So, I don’t feel any pressure. I have total freedom. Now that the record is out there, I can’t wait to get back out there performing. I’m actually booking for around Christmas time in the States, Australia and the U.K.
BeBe: Your appearance with the Spice Girls at the closing ceremonies of the Summer Olympic Games in London (2012) had to put a little fire under the performance thing because that was an amazing performance with all of you.
Mel B: That was a lot of fun. We spent two weeks rehearsing together. We did it simply for the love of performing back together as Spice Girls. We had an absolute blast.
A new album in the works?
BeBe: With this single inspiring you, do you think this will lead to a full album?
Mel B: I’m not going to stop recording. I want to do more and more music. It’s just in me now more than ever, and I just don’t want to stop. I’m really focusing on this year and next year to really get more and more music out there.
BeBe: I know you are an entrepreneur with a major interest in Real Water. How are you planning to manage the business part of your life, and the performance and recording part of your life together?
Mel B: Well, I’m a Gemini, so I like do many different things at once. Also, my husband and I do everything together. When I put 100% into something, it’s 100%. I founded the Real Water Company in Las Vegas, then moved it to Los Angeles. It was a very small company. It’s now the number two alkalized real water in Whole Foods stores, and it’s just escalating which is great.
BeBe: Getting back to the Spice Girls, you opened a can of worms on ’The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ by bringing up the fact you have a desire to bring the Spice Girls together for a reunion.
Mel B: No, that was Ellen saying that! I was just backing her up. Yay! I’m a champion for anything Spice Girls.
BeBe: Well, you girls really are a sisterhood, one in which you don’t see much in the music industry.
Mel B: We are still in love with each other. We all support each other’s individual projects. We all support each other as a group. We are very thankful for having had the experience as Spice Girls. You know we’ve known each other for 20 years. We’re best friends.
"For Once In My Life" by Mel B. is now available on iTunes with a music video on YouTube.
Follow Mel B. for update information on new music releases at www.melaniebrown.com
As an actress, BeBe was introduced to film with a lead role in the independent film "Under One Sun" with her character dealing with religious, racial and gender issues. Additionally, she appeared in the campy musical "Devious, Inc" (Australian Film Festival, San Francisco Short Film Fest) also adding additional vocals to the musical soundtrack. Both of these performances led to her selection for a lead role in Aisha Media’s next short film series, "Con-tin.u.um" to be released in 2012.