Melanie Jayne Chisholm (born 12 January 1974), better known as Melanie C or Mel C, is an English singer, songwriter, actress and television personality. She is one of the five members of the Spice Girls, in which she was nicknamed Sporty Spice, and sold over 100 million records worldwide as a group. Melanie C began her solo career in late 1998 by singing with Canadian rock singer Bryan Adams on the song "When You're Gone". Her solo debut album Northern Star was released in 1999 and reached number four on the UK Albums Chart and was certified triple Platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). It produced four top fives and a top twenty single, two of which reached the number-one spot in the UK. Chisholm's second album, Reason, was released in March 2003 and sold more than 500,000 copies. The album reached number five in the UK and produced one top ten, one top twenty and a double A sided top thirty single.
In 2004, Chisholm parted ways with Virgin and founded her own record company, Red Girl Records. Beautiful Intentions, her third album, was released in April 2005. It reached number twenty-four in the UK and number fifteen in Germany. The album produced three singles, one of which charted at number ten in the UK, and one peak at number one in different European charts. Her fourth studio album, This Time, was released in April 2007 and charted at fifty-seven on the UK Albums Chart. Of the five singles released from the album, one charted at number-one in some parts of Europe, and one become a top-thirty in the UK and a top ten in some European charts. In December, Melanie C reunited with the Spice Girls for a world tour and to release a greatest hits album. She released her fifth solo album, The Sea, on 2 September 2011, and her first EP The Night on 13 May 2012. Her sixth studio album Stages was released on 10 September 2012.
Since 1999, Chisholm has sold more than 12 million records.
Melanie Jayne Chisholm was born in Whiston, Merseyside, and later moved to Widnes, Cheshire, at a young age. She attended Fairfield High School. Following school, she studied for a diploma course in dance, singing, drama, and musical theatre at the Doreen Bird College of Performing Arts in Sidcup, Southeast London. During college, she replied to an advert in The Stage by Chris and Bob Herbert, who were looking to form a new girl group, later to become the Spice Girls. She left college just short of completing her three-year course and gained teaching qualifications in tap and modern theatre dance with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing.
1994–98: Spice Girls
In 1994, Chisholm, along with Mel B, Geri Halliwell, and Victoria Beckham responded to an advertisement in The Stage magazine. Around 400 women who answered the ad went to Dance Works studios. Halliwell, Chisholm, Beckham and Brown were originally chosen as the members of the group, and then formed a quintet with Emma Bunton. The group felt insecure about the lack of a contract and were frustrated by the direction of Heart Management and broke with them. In 1995, they toured record labels in London and Los Angeles and finally signed a deal with Virgin. Their debut album, Spice was a huge worldwide commercial success, peaked at number one in more than 17 countries across the world, and was certified multi-platinum in 27 countries. Conceptually, the album centered on the idea of Girl Power, and during that time was compared to Beatlemania. In total the album sold 30 million copies worldwide and became the biggest-selling album in music history by a girl group, and one of the most successful albums of all time. The first single, "Wannabe" reached number one in 31 countries, and their subsequent singles – "Say You'll Be There", "2 Become 1", "Who Do You Think You Are" and "Mama" – all peaked at number one in the United Kingdom.
In 1997, they released the second album, Spiceworld, with the two first singles "Spice Up Your Life" and "Too Much", that entered the UK Albums Chart at number one, making it the group's all consecutive number one hit single, a record of musical groups all time. The album was a global best seller, selling 20 million copies worldwide. The group also starred in their own film, Spiceworld: The Movie, which grossed $100 million at the box office worldwide and became the second most watched movie in the year. The next single, "Stop", peaked at two, breaking the sequence of number ones, their only single to not reach the top of the charts. "Viva Forever", another number one, was the last single before Geri Halliwell's departure from the group in May 1998. "Never Give Up on the Good Times" was planned as fifth single, but was canceled after this event. With four members, the group released "Goodbye", before Christmas in 1998 and when it topped the UK Singles Chart it became their third consecutive Christmas number-one – equalling the record previously set by The Beatles. On November 30, Canadian artist Bryan Adams, released "When You're Gone" with featured vocals of Chisholm, her debut solo project. The song peaked at number three on the UK Singles Chart, spent 15 weeks in the top 40 and received the platinum certified.
1999–2001: Northern Star
In 1999 Chisholm signed with Virgin and, during the summer, recorded the album Northern Star. She recorded "Ga Ga" from the soundtrack of the film Big Daddy. The song was released as promotional single on June 25, only in the United Kingdom. She also wrote and recorded the backing vocals for "(Hey You) Free Up Your Mind", sung by Emma Bunton from the film soundtrack Pokémon: The First Movie. On 27 September, Chisholm released her debut single, "Goin' Down" and peaked at number four in United Kingdom and twenty five in Australia. The music video was shot in Los Angeles and directed by Giuseppi Capotondi. Her debut album, Northern Star, was released on 18 October 1999, peaked at number four and sold 4 million copies worldwide, received triple platinum in United Kingdom and another seven certifications, incluing platinum in Germany and Sweden. "Northern Star" was released as a second single and also peaked at number four. To promote the album, Chisholm embarked on From Liverpool to Leicester Square Tour, traveled in the Australia, United States, Canada, Japan and Europe – including United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Netherlands and Denmark –, between 27 September and 1 November. In 2000, Chisholm had two songs in film soundtracks, "Suddenly Monday" in Maybe Baby and "Go!" in Whatever It Takes.
After the two singles didn't reach the top of the charts, Virgin thought to end the promotion of the album, but decided to release one more single, "Never Be the Same Again", which broke the pop rock sound of the other songs and focused on R&B. The song, featuring TLC member Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, was released on 20 March 2000 and became her first number one single. It was received gold certification in United Kingdom and also peaked at number one in Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Scotland and Sweden. The song was the 18th best-selling song of 2000 and sold more than a million copies across Europe. After the success of "Never Be the Same Again", the label decided to release two more singles. On 7 August 2000, Virgin released a remix version of "I Turn to You" as fourth single and the song reached her second number-one in United Kingdom, Netherlands and Sweden. "I Turn to You" also peaked at number one in Austria, Denmark and Dance Club Songs of United States. "If That Were Me" was released as fifth and final single and peaked at number eighteen. The proceeds from its sale went to the Kandu Arts charity. The North American version of Northern Star was released on 21 August 2000 and included the single versions of "Never Be The Same Again" and "I Turn To You". In late 2000, after the first solo work of members, the Spice Girls released their third and final album, Forever, sporting a new edgier R&B sound. "Holler" and "Let Love Lead the Way" was released as singles in 23 October 2000 and the songs reached number one in United Kingdom. The album sold 5 million copies. The group announced that they were beginning an indefinite hiatus. In the same year, the Chinese singer FanFan recorded a Chinese version of "Suddenly Monday" from her debut album FanFan's World.
Chisholm embarked in her first world tour, the Northern Star Tour, between late 2000 and 26 August 2001, to promote her debut album. The tour traveled in 76 dates, 30 countries and 4 continents, just not going to Oceania and South America. The Shepherd's Bush Empire concert was webcast on Melanie C's original website with a special appearance of Bryan Adams. On 4 April 2001, The audio of the Anaheim concert also was webcast on House of Blues' website. A remixed album, entitled Remix Collection, was released only in Japan. In 2001, Chisholm collaborated in the live album of Russell Watson, The Voice - Live, as featured vocals in the songs "Barcelona" and "Aren't You Kind Of Glad We Did?".
Chisholm began recording her second album in late 2001. She traveled to the United States to record some songs. During this time, she recorded "Independence Day" from the film soundtrack Bend It Like Beckham and wrote "Help Me Help You" for Holly Valance, included in her album Footprints. The album was originally planned to be released on 16 September 2002, then postponed to 24 February 2003. It was finally postponed to 10 March 2003. Rumors at the time speculated that Chisholm and Virgin had several conflicts, because they wanted her to lose weight. Chisholm also needed time to struggles with clinical depression. On 24 February 2003 the first single from her new album was released, "Here It Comes Again", which reached number seven in United Kingdom and peaked top 20 in Spain and Ireland. She released her second studio album, Reason, on 10 March 2003 and it peaked at number five, received gold certification in United Kingdom. The label sent Chisholm to promote the album, including several pocket shows. On 24 April 2003, she embarked in the Reason Tour, traveling only in Europe. The second single, "On the Horizon", was released on 2 June 2003. After the previous single, the music critics were predicting that this single would redeem Chisholm's chart success, but the song peaked at number fourteen and didn't help sales.
"Let's Love", was released as a single exclusively in Japan and used for a Toyota Motor Corporation commercial. Originally, "Yeh Yeh Yeh" was planned to be released as the third and final single on 22 September 2003, but shortly before this could happen, Chisholm injured her knee during the television show The Games and couldn't fully promote an upbeat song with an injury. "Melt" was then chosen to be launched along with "Yeh Yeh Yeh" as a double A-side, because she could do a small number of performances. The double single was released on 10 November 2003. The song peaked at number twenty seven. In other countries of Europe, "Melt" wasn't released, only "Yeh Yeh Yeh" as a solo release. After the release of "Melt/Yeh Yeh Yeh", Melanie added some extra dates to the Reason Tour, and the Avo Session Basel concert was broadcast on 3sat.
2004–06: Beautiful Intentions and own label
In 2004, Virgin dismissed Chisholm after the conflict in previous years about the direction in her solo career. In April 2004, she founded her own label, Red Girl, to record and release her own projects, alongside her manager, Nancy Phillips. The name was inspired by the colors of the football Liverpool F.C., which Chisholm is supporter. In June, she embarked in a residency show, The Barfly Mini-Tour, performed in the The Barfly music halls, a series of venues dedicated to independent music for five dates. After the tour she went into the studio to begin recording her third album. Early 2005, Chisholm finished recording her third album. In an interview, Chisholm said he wanted to create deeper songs using piano, violin and personal themes. On 4 April, Chisholm released "Next Best Superstar" as lead single of her third album. It was released in three formats: two with b-sides – the acoustic version or the B-side "Everything Must Change" – and a remixes EP. The song peaked at number ten in United Kingdom. On 11 April, she released Beautiful Intentions, her third album and first by Red Girl. It was produced by Greg Haver, Guy Chambers, Paul Boddy and eleven of the twelve songs were written by Chisholm. The album peaked at number twenty-four in United Kingdom, top 15 other Europeans countries, and was certified gold in Germany and Switzerland.
In support of the album, she embarked at Beautiful Intentions Tour, starting on 16 April in O2 Academy Birmingham, in London, and traveling for twenty-five dates across Europe and Asia. On 1 August, "Better Alone" was released only in United Kingdom as the second single, but did not enter the charts due to the single being available online. "First Day of My Life" was released as single on 30 September in Australia and Europe – except in the United Kingdom. The song was not included in the original version of the album, only in the 2006 re-released version, becoming the second international single from Beautiful Intentions. Originally been recorded by Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, with lyrics in Italian as "Un Nuovo Giorno" for his 2004 eponymous album Andrea. The song peaked at number-one in Spanish, Germany, Switzerland and Portugal, number two in Austria and other top 30 in Norway, France and Denmark, received certifications in many countries. On 24 February 2006, "Better Alone" was released in The single was released in Australia and Europe as the third official single, after a limited release in the United Kingdom last year. The song entered the charts in some countries, peaked at thirty-six in Italy and thirty-three in Switzerland. On 3 April, the album was re-released, including "First Day of My Life" and the music video. In 2006, Chisholm released her first live DVD, Live Hits, recorded on 31 August 2006 at the Bridge in South East, London. The DVD peaked at number ten.
2007–10: This Time and Spice Girls reunion
Early 2007, Chisholm finished recording her next album and, in March, she released two singles simultaneously. "The Moment You Believe" was released in Europe, except in United Kingdom, and peaked at number-one in Spain and Portugal and top 20 in Switzerland, Sweden and Germany. Produced and co-written by Peter Vettese, it has been soundbed for the spring advertising campaign for German television show Nur die Liebe Zählt. "I Want Candy" was released only in United Kingdom and Italy, peaked at twenty-four and nine, respectively, and featured on the soundtrack to the film of the same name. The song was a cover version of The Strangeloves song. On 30 March, she released her fourth album, This Time, with thirteen tracks – six written by Chisholm – and other two cover versions: "What If I Stay" and "Don't Let Me Go", by Jill Jackson, from her debut album. The album peaked at number fifty-seven in United Kingdom and eight in Switzerland, which was certified gold. "Carolyna" was released as third single on 8 June. During an interview at Loose Women, Chrisholm revealed that she wrote this song after watching a documentary about young adults and teenagers homeless, living in the streets in Seattle. The song, promoted on This Morning and GMTV, peaked at forty-nine in United Kingdom and top 50 in other countries.
On 28 June 2007, the Spice Girls held a surprise press conference at The O2 Arena revealing their reunion for embark in a worldwide concert tour, The Return of the Spice Girls, starting in Vancouver on 2 December. They received £10 million each for the tour. Filmmaker Bob Smeaton, directed an official documentary on the reunion. It was entitled Giving You Everything. At the same time, Chisholm released the fourth single of her album, "This Time", features the B-side "We Love to Entertain You", which was used for 2007's Pro7 Starforce campaign in Germany. The song peaked at number ninety-four in United Kingdom and sixty-nine in Germany. On 5 November, the Spice Girls released their return single, "Headlines (Friendship Never Ends)", also announced as the official Children in Need charity single and performed at Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. The song peaked at number eleven, becoming the first song to not reach the top 10. The music video was directed by Anthony Mandler and the girls used exclusive clothes designed by Roberto Cavalli. They released a compilation album, the Greatest Hits in November, including the singles, the 1997 Pepsi's theme "Move Over" and two new songs: "Voodoo" and "Headlines (Friendship Never Ends)". The compilation sold 6 million copies.
They embarked on the tour on 2 December, traveling for 47 dates until 26 February 2008. The tour is estimated to have grossed over US$70 million and produced $107.2 million in ticket sales and merchandising. The tour won the 2008 Billboard Touring Award. As well as their sell-out tour, the Spice Girls were contracted to appear in Tesco advertisements, for which they were paid £1 million each. After the end of the reunion with the Spice Girls, Chisholm embarked on her fifth tour, the This Time Canadian Tour, in May 2008, performing in nine Canadian cities. On 25 July, "Understand" was released as fifth and final single from This Time only in Canada. The promotion of the album was finished when Chisholm announced she was pregnant worldwide. In 2009, it was planned she would star in a sequel to the 1996 horror film The Craft, but the production was canceled. On 29 June, Chisholm released her second DVD concert, Live at the Hard Rock Cafe, including two previously unreleased songs, "Blue Skies All the Way" and "Paris Burning". The DVD peaked at number twenty-two in United Kingdom.
2009–13: Acting, The Sea and Stages
In October 2009, she had her acting debut on stage as Mrs Johnstone in the musical Blood Brothers, a new version of the 1983 original production. In an interview, he revealed that Chisholm had been invited to star in movies and musicals, but never accepted. Only when her daughter was born, she agreed to stay close to home. She starred on Blood Brothers until the end of 2010. She was named as best actress in the thirty-fourth edition of Laurence Olivier Award. The critics have cited Chisholm as the favorite, but she did not win. In the same year she started working on her next album. On 24 June 2011, "Rock Me" was released as single only in Germany and peaked at number thirty-three in the country. The song was served as the official theme from 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup. "Think About It" was chosen as worldwide single and marked the Chisholm return to dance-pop. The song peakead at number ninety-five in United Kingdom, fifteen in the UK Indie Chart and top 40 in other European countries. The Sea, her fifth studio album, was released on 2 September, and was produced by Andy Chatterley, Cutfather and Peter-John Vettese. The album peaked at number forty-five in United Kingdom and also thirteen in Switzerland and sixteen in Germany. Chisholm was mentor assistant in the third season of The X Factor Australia and helped the Mel B team, formed by under 25 years-old girls, during the selection process. The girls did not reach the final. "Weak" was released only in the United Kingdom as third single, peaked at number in the UK Indie Chart. "Let There Be Love" was released as fourth and final single of The Sea in Germany and Switzerland. She also recorded "Viva Life" for the documentary Bash Street.
In November, she embarked on her sixth concert tour, The Sea – Live, traveling in Europe during 17 dates. The record of the tour was released as DVD on 27 February 2012. In April, Chisholm was invited by British DJ Jodie Harsh to collaborate on an electronic project. On 13 May, they released the EP The Night, including three songs. "Set You Free" was released as single from the EP and peaked at number one hundred and fifty-nine in United Kingdom. In July, she was judge of the ITV talent show Superstar, which searched to find an actor to starring the musical Jesus Christ Superstar. Ben Forster was chosen as Jesus to perform the role in the UK adaptation. Chisholm co-starred the musical, playing the role of Mary Magdalene. For her performance Chisholm won Best Supporting Actress in a musical at the Whatsonstage.com Awards. She played the character until 2013. Inspired by the stage, Chisholm began recording an album with musical theatre songs. "I Don't Know How to Love Him" was released on 22 July and peaked at number twenty on UK Indie Chart. The song is a version of Yvonne Elliman from 1970 musical Jesus Christ Superstar.
On 7 September, Chisholm released her sixth studio album, Stages, produced by Peter-John Vettese and featured a collection of songs from the theatre that have been important to Chrisholm at various stages of her life. The album peaked at number fifty in the United Kingdom and eighty-three in Ireland. "I Know Him So Well", a version of Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson song from 1984 musical Chess, was released as a single on 11 November, featured vocals of British singer Emma Bunton. The song peaked at number one hundred and fifty-three in United Kingdom and fourteen in the UK Indie Chart She also was part of The Justice Collective, a super-group of musicians, including Robbie Williams and Paul McCartney, who recorded the charity song "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother". The song was released as single on 17 December and peaked at number one. In 2013, she played Christy in the British comedy film . On 18 August, released "Loving You", a collaboration with British singer Matt Cardle. The song peaked at number fourteen, becoming the first Chisholm's song in the top 15 since 2005. She released her frist live album, Live at Shepherd's Bush Empire, on 12 December.
2014–present: Television Projects and Version of Me
On 12 January 2014, Chisholm celebrated her 40th birthday with a special show for the fans, entitled Sporty's Forty, singing her hits and featured Emma Bunton. On 31 March, the Slovakian singer Peter Aristone released "Cool as You", featured vocals of Chisholm, as lead single from 19 Days in Tetbury. Her cover version of "Ain't Got No, I Got Life", by Nina Simone, was included in the compilation Beautiful Cover Versions. She also had a cameo appearance in the music video "Word Up", by Little Mix. In August, Chisholm joined the judging panel for Asia's Got Talent, along with David Foster, Anggun Cipta, and Vanness Wu. They started the selection in Singapore, in 28 September. During production and selections, Chisholm lived in Malaysia, where the program was recorded. The Asia's Got Talent live shows, with the semifinalists, was aired in March 2015, and ran two months until the finals. In 14 May, Chisholm and the judges released a cover version of "Let's Groove", originally by Earth, Wind & Fire, and performed the song in the final. In October, she was mentor assistant in the game competition Bring the Noise.
In December 2014, she started working on her seventh studio album. The second season of Asia's Got Talent was confirmed for summer 2016. In 2016, she was featured as a vocalist on "Numb" with Sons Of Sonix, which was a song from her upcoming album. On 29 August 2016 she announced her seventh album, Version of Me, that will be released in October 2016.
Chisholm is half-sister of racing driver Paul O'Neill. Since October 2000, Chisholm has been open about her struggles with ADHD, clinical depression, and an eating disorder, which she has experienced several times during her life. Years later, she said about her eating disorder to Contact Music: "I'd hammered the gym for three hours a day. It was a way of running away, not thinking. I felt like a robot. When the papers started calling me 'Sumo Spice', I was only a size 10. But I was so upset by all the criticism, it got worse and I went up to a size 14". In 1997, she had a brief relationship with Robbie Williams. In 1998, she dated record producer Jake Davies. In the summer of the same year, she had a relationship with Anthony Kiedis, the vocalist of Red Hot Chili Peppers. Kiedis wrote "Emit Remmus", which is "summer time" spelled backwards, inspired by his relationship with Chisholm. The song was included in Californication. In 2000, Chisholm and Jason "J" Brown had a troubled relationship, with break ups and returns, along with Brown calling her "ugly" in an interview, worsening her depression. In 2002 she began a relationship with property developer Thomas Starr, who helped her beat depression, but they never married. On 22 February 2009, Chisholm gave birth to her daughter Scarlet Chisholm Starr at the Portland Hospital in London.
In 2012, after 10 years, Chisholm and Starr ended their relationship. In 2013, she reportedly helped the singer Matt Cardle beat depression and he said that Chisholm saved his life. They had a relationship in 2014. Chisholm has a £1 million country home in Catbrook, Monmouthshire. She is a supporter of Liverpool FC. She is also an amateur triathlete, finishing the London Triathlon twice.
In 2013, Chisholm joined Jack Dee, Dara Ó Briain, Greg James, Chelsee Healey and Philips Idowu in Through Hell and High Water, a Comic Relief challenge which involved British celebrities canoeing the most difficult rapids of the Zambezi River. They raised over £1 million for the charity. In 2014, Chisholm travelled to Ghana to support a charity campaign by Procter & Gamble that provides African children with clean drinking water. The project involved the use of purification sachets that changes the water from stagnant to drinkable. She said, "I've been on charity trips to Africa before. They can be harrowing, but this one was really positive and inspiring. Already it's changing people's lives. When we first arrived, three of the girls took us down to the local water supply, which is basically a big lake shared with animals, so that water can be very dangerous. Using the sachets, in half an hour the water goes from black to clear. We drank it as well. It's completely and utterly safe." Chisholm also supported a homeless charity by donating funds raised from her annual calendar.
Chisholm has cited Madonna as her biggest musical influence. She stated: "I think she's inspired me a lot musically, and maybe [in] just the way I present myself. I've always admired how hard she works and what a strong lady she is, so she's always inspired me in that way."
- Northern Star (1999)
- Reason (2003)
- Beautiful Intentions (2005)
- This Time (2007)
- The Sea (2011)
- Stages (2012)
- Version of Me (2016)
|1997||Spice World||Herself||Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress|
Nominated – Orange Blimp Award for Favorite Movie Actress
Nominated – Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actress – Comedy
|2012||Keith Lemon: The Film||Herself|
|2012||The Spice Girls Story: Viva Forever!||Herself||Documentary|
|2000||The Norm Show||Herself||"Norm vs. Jenny" (Season 2, Episode 15)|
|2003||Bo' Selecta!||Various Roles||"Melanie C" (Season 2, Episode 6)|
|2006||Dei-te Quase Tudo||Herself||"10 May 2006" (Season 1, Episode 132)|
|2007||Giving You Everything||Herself||Television documentary|
|2007||The Friday Night Project||Guest host||"Melanie C" (Season 5, Episode 4)|
|2011||The X Factor Australia||Herself / Mentor assistant||Season 3|
|2012||Superstar||Herself / Judge / Mentor|
|2014||The Life of Rock with Brian Pern||Herself||"Bi-Polar Polar Bear Aid" (Season 2, Episode 3)|
|2015||Bring the Noise||Herself / Mentor assistant||Season 1|
|2015–present||Asia's Got Talent||Herself / Judge / Mentor|
|2009–10||Blood Brothers||Mrs Johnstone|
|2012–13||Jesus Christ Superstar||Mary Magdalene|