Back in the mid ’00’s — the days of Xenomania‘s highest highs, when everything was beautiful and nothing hurt — a group (a pack? a brood? a murder?) of electro-pop minded chanteuses dominated the British pop scene: Girls Aloud, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Sugababes, Alesha Dixon, Annie, and of course, Rachel Stevens.
Come & Get It — Stevens’ second studio album, released in 2005 — remains one of the most immaculate, flaw-free pop records of all time. It’s pop bible status. And ever since, fans have been yearning for a follow-up.
But the past 7 years haven’t exactly been easy , including a Strictly Come Dancing 2nd place stint in 2008, a marriage and pregnancy (selfish!), and, the greatest test of our devotion yet, a vegetable-themed studio album for toddlers called Tasty Tunes. (In her defense, “Yummy, Yummy, Yum!” is a banger.)
Now, out of nowhere, an interview with Rachel Stevens for The Daily Mail has surfaced over the weekend, featuring some new revelations—and almost all of them are deeply depressing!
For instance, did you know Rachel was signed to a record label without even singing?
Since being ‘spotted’ in the canteen at Sony Records (at the time she was dreaming of becoming a fashion buyer and was only there to have lunch with her brother), and signed up to the band by Spice Girls Svengali Simon Fuller before he’d even heard her sing, Rachel has always happily admitted that, although she’s ambitious, there’s never been a plan.
Plus, she’s bland as rice apparently!
Chris Moyles once called her ‘really boring’, while Scissor Sisters’ singer Ana Matronic said she ‘has all the personality of a slice of toast’.
Don’t worry, Rachel. My ex said the same thing once, but I don’t see his tweets being read aloud on The Voice. So then, how about that new music?
She’d quite like to try her hand at more acting…
BLURGH. No. Not that. The music, damnit!
She’s even been discussing – feel free to squeal or shriek depending on your taste – an S Club reunion.
‘We met at Tina Barrett’s flat and it was like we’d never been apart,’ she says. ‘It was really chilled. We talked about getting back together and although we all have our own stuff going on right now, if the right thing came up it could be fun.’
No. Definitely not that. SOLO. RACHEL STEVENS. MUSIC.
She’s just become the face of Next’s Petites range, for women 5ft 3in and under, while from now until September you’ll see her face all over bottles of Belu water. Proceeds will go to WaterAid – she’s an ambassador for the charity.
Oh good! So, if you happen to see Rachel Stevens walking down the street or quietly eating inside a sandwich shop, feel free to go up to her (after acquiring an autograph) and yell: “GO DRINK A BOTTLE OF YOURSELF, RACHEL.”
If she’s not recording solo stuff at the moment, then at least she’s sitting down with baby Amelie and her S Club Scrapbook, giggling aloud and pointing at all the happy memories, right?
But beneath the smile she had to plaster on her face as the feline glamour girl of the group, she now admits she was pretty miserable. ‘I was going through a very confusing time when I first went into S Club,’ she says.
‘My parents were splitting up and it really hit me. At the same time I’d got this job that thrust me into this exciting world. I didn’t want to show people what I was going through. We were being marketed at a very young audience and I was put into the “nice and sweet” box.
‘I ended up playing a role that wasn’t me – or at least there was more to me. I’d put on a smile and pretend everything was great and happy. We all have different layers to us as people. None of us are just nice and sweet. I’m ambitious and some might call me a bit of a control freak. I was vulnerable but I have always struggled to show my vulnerability.’
Okay. That sounds like a truly terrible nightmare! But surely she still appreciates the amazing tunes that came out of the experience, right? I mean—“Never Had A Dream Came True” alone!
‘Whenever it comes on everyone looks at me to see how I’ll react,’ she smiles. ‘I think it’s brilliant that people are still playing our music. But all that stuff feels like a lifetime ago. So much has changed.’
Do you hear that noise? It’s the sound of a sad, lone red balloon slowly deflating at the S Club Party.
In the end, at least, there is cake:
A friend comes round to teach her and she now cooks twice a week. ‘We all want to be everything. We want to be a domestic goddess, bake our children’s birthday cakes and have a successful career. Well, I’m trying. And I’d like to teach Amelie that doing your best is always good enough.’
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be cutting myself to the sound of Tasty Tunes.