Variety adds spice to the fabulous life of Melanie C
After jetting around on a private plane on the Spice Girls last tour of North America, Melanie Chisholm, aka Melanie C, could reasonably be expected to dread travelling across Canada by tour bus. But downgrading from superstar to star doesn’t seem to bother the artist also known as Sporty Spice one little bit.
“It is fabulous, but you feel like shit when you fly,” says Chisholm, calling from her London home. “With buses, you’ve got your lovely little bunk, and it’s all rockin’ so you have a lovely sleep, and you see much more of the country.”
Talking to the down-to-earth Chisholm, it’s easy to forget that this is no ordinary pop singer. Besides the gazillion or so units she’s moved as a Spice Girl, she’s sold three million copies of her solo albums, and has cowritten no fewer than 11 U.K. number ones, a record for collaborations on par with Madonna.
“The best songs I’ve been involved in are the ones which have come from real emotions, from specific events,” says Chisholm. Her fourth and latest album, This Time, includes one of her most personal tracks. “Your Mistake”, a steely, midtempo tune cowritten with frequent collaborator Adam Argyle, is about growing up with divorced parents.
“It’s something I’ve wanted to write a song about for a long, long time, but it’s never been right. But because Adam has had similar experiences, we felt it was something we could do together and do it justice.” In contrast, the album’s opener, “Understand”—which features a big, robust, Coldplay-ish arrangement—“is more just about lust, really,” Chisholm says.
The Canadian version of This Time also includes “I Want Candy”, the classic Strangeloves song covered by, among others, U.K. postpunks Bow Wow Wow. “It’s a bit of fun,” Chisholm says. “It’s always scary doing a song that’s been covered so well.
I loved that Bow Wow Wow version. I was eight when it came out—I remember dancing to it.”
This Time was recorded and released in the U.K. before the singer decided to reunite with her Spice pals last year. “I got the phone call last May, and the next two months were spent going, ”˜No, I don’t want to do it; yeah, I do; I don’t know what to do,’ ” she says. “I was quite confused about the whole thing. I’m glad I did it, but it’s nice to get back to some kind of reality.”
That means hitting the highway like any other road warrior, albeit one who’ll never have to worry about making rent. “This is the way I like to do things,” Chisholm says. “When the label was keen for us to get out and to tour, myself and my band, who were also on the Spice tour, were like, ”˜Yeah, bring it on. We’ve had enough of that Spice Girls stuff. We’re ready to do Melanie C again!’ ”
And will we know her tour bus by the big “Melanie C” painted on the side? “I doubt that very much,” she says. “It will probably be broke down.”
Melanie C plays the Plaza Club on Saturday (May 17).