Melanie C at the Brit Awards 2020 in London, February 12, 2020. - Joel C Ryan / AP / SIPA

  • Every Friday, 20 Minutes  offers a personality to comment on a social phenomenon, in their "20 Minutes with ..." meeting.
  • Melanie C was "Sporty", the sportswoman, within the Spice Girls. Since the group split, she has recorded seven solo albums. The eighth is expected in the second semester.
  • Last year during the Spice Girls stadium tour, the slogan "Girl power" became "People power". “We suffered sexism very early in our careers and we realized that we had a forum (…). As we got older, by learning from the experiences of others, we wanted to talk about equality for all. "
  • The singer toured the Pride Marches in 2019. “I have become an ally of the LGBT cause (…). I had the opportunity to educate myself, to learn what it feels like to grow up feeling different from the others, ”she confides to“ 20 Minutes ”.

Within the Spice Girls, she was "Sporty". Football shirt on the back, sneakers on the feet, Mel C marked the soundtrack of a whole generation which, even today begins to shout its desire to "zigazig ah" as soon as the first notes of the tube Wannabe resonate some go. The group marked pop in the late 1990s and ended up splitting up at the start of the millennium. Since then, the singer has kept the initial of her name (Chisholm) but recovered her entire first name and continues her career as Melanie C.

His solo discography includes hits ( Never Be The Same Again , I Turn To You , First Day of My Life …) but these songs have mainly hit the UK, Sweden, Germany, Italy and Brazil while the France paid no attention to it. The game may change this fall, with the release of his eighth solo studio album, whose titles Who I Am and Blame It on Me have already been revealed. 20 Minutes took the opportunity to interview Melanie C and talk about her music, "girl power", her confinement and her commitments.

A year ago, you reunited with your Spice Girls acolytes - with the exception of Victoria Beckham - during a stadium tour of thirteen dates in the United Kingdom. 700,000 people came to applaud you. What memories do you keep of it?

Last year was probably the best year of my life! Coming back on stage with the Spice Girls in huge stadiums was incredible. At the time, in the 1990s, our fans were mostly very young. Today, they are adults, the energy was obviously different. There was nostalgia. The public plunged back into childhood, into memories ... It made all this magic. Then, in the process, I went on tour with Sink The Pink, an LGBTQ + collective. I was able to perform in Pride Marches around the world with drag queens. I went straight from the Spice Girls to the drag queens, which isn't that big of a difference (she smiles). I am grateful that 2019 has been for me so rich in experiences, travel, concerts. The same cannot be said of 2020, of course.

How did you experience confinement?

It was a challenge. For everyone, there have been difficult things to face, but there is something good to be learned from all of this. I am a mother and I know that many parents have tried to find positive ways to help their children get through this disruptive period. I enjoyed being at home. I travel a lot for work, so I was happy to find my own bed every night, to wake up with my daughter [Scarlett, 11], to have dinner with her every night. And then after a few weeks, I told myself that the confinement was driving me crazy (she laughs). I missed people, traveling, singing to an audience.

You nevertheless remained very active, artistically speaking, during the confinement ...

Yes, I have been very busy. I have done a lot of lives on the Internet, DJ sets, interviews. I had the opportunity to speak to the whole world from my living room, so it had advantages, but I missed the energy of a room full of people, being disoriented.

You also shot the music video for "Who I Am" in a confined version. You show the Melanie C of everyday life, far from the glamorous image…

Yes, Who I Am was released in March, just before containment was implemented in the UK. We had made an official video. This song is about self-acceptance. When I was on stage with the Spice Girls last year, I thought about it a lot. Being Sporty Spice again, during these concerts, made me understand that it was a part of me, it's not like a mask that I would put on and then take off. I started to think about my personal life and my career and I said to myself that we do not celebrate enough that we have accomplished, that we do not embrace all these aspects of ourselves. We are multidimensional. In the official clip, I am in a museum where different images of me from different eras appear. There is Sporty with the long ponytail, the period when I had short hair for my first solo album, and then my current look.

Confinement offered various opportunities to speak to the public. This is why we made a confined version of Who I Am for a German program, which asked us to shoot something at home. Even if, during this period, we were isolated, we lived the same things, from one country and from one continent to another. Many people could identify with what I was doing in the video: cooking, cleaning, school at home, having a drink (laughing). It was nice to connect with people this way.

You were talking about your Pride Marches tour. Are you an ally of the LGBT community?

It started a long time ago. As Spice Girls, we were very aware that, among our fans, there were many young girls, but also a large number of gays and lesbians. The LGBTQ + community continued to support us in our solo projects. I have become an ally of the cause, using my platform to talk about these issues that are important to me. Last year, I loved working with members of the community and I had the opportunity to educate myself, to learn what it feels like to grow up feeling different from others. The universe of Spice Girls is a place where everyone in their place because we celebrate the differences of each and everyone.

Is that why your rallying cry "Girl Power" became "People Power" during the last Spice Girls tour?

Yes, we think it has evolved. It was very important for us to talk about "girl power". We underwent sexism very early in our careers and we realized that we had a voice, a platform, and that it was important to use it well. As we got older, by learning from the experiences of others, we wanted to talk about equality. Equality for everyone, whoever you are, no matter where you come from ... It's "people power". We are proud of the legacy we have left.

What advice would the Melanie C of 2020 give to the Melanie C of 1996, about to experience phenomenal success with the Spice Girls?

I would say, "Take advantage of every minute. When you're in this whirlwind, things move so quickly. It's hard to assimilate everything that's going on and then, soon enough, it's over. So I would say, "Take lots of photos, write diaries, because it's fun to be able to go back to that era later." "

How do you see the new generation of artists? You are friends with Billie Eilish, you sang a duet with Years & Years, MØ…

The music is in perpetual motion. It changes, evolves… Over the years, I have noted with pleasure that so many musical genres have mixed, creating new genres. In recent years, I have had the pleasure of learning that talented young artists claim to be fans of the Spice Girls. This is the case with MØ, who also inspires me so much. It is a kind of circle of life. Many young women artists revealed in recent years have confidence in them, are very positive, super talented. It's great to see young people so sure of what they want to do.

At the time, Sporty Spice gave the impression of being confident. We seem to find it in your latest clip, that of "Blame It On Me", where you appear as a video game hero, ready to castagne. We also see references to the titles of the songs of the Spice Girls…

Again, being on stage with the Spice Girls last year inspired me a lot. I told myself that I wanted to be this über-version of Sporty, to be a superheroine. So I did a lot of sports, I followed a nutritionist, I had a whole training plan, I didn't drink a drop of alcohol for six months. It’s like I’m preparing for the Olympics. Once on stage, I felt great, I told myself that such an opportunity would not necessarily represent itself and that I should therefore be the ultimate Sporty.

When Sylvie Weber, the director of Blame It on Me , told me about her idea of ​​referring to video games, to Mortal Kombat, I said yes. It brought back the character of Katrina Highkick, I was playing in the video for Say You'll Be There . It was fun to revisit this. Feeling strong physically made me feel strong mentally and emotionally.

Judging by the first extracts, your new album promises to be very dance. You confirm ?

This album is mainly dance, yes. I mixed as a DJ in recent years and it rekindled my passion for dance and house. I have always been a pop artist. I like to work different genres, play in acoustics, go to rock, as I have been able to do in the past. But here we are really at a time when I wanted to make people dance, give an electro vibration, with honest and emancipatory songs.

Are there any artists you would like to duet with?

Working with Billie [Eilish] would obviously be incredible. I discovered a British-Japanese artist, Rina Sawayama, who released an album this year. She is very interesting: she does pop, but she approaches other genres like new metal, r'n'b from the 1990s. I was very enthusiastic to work with Nadia Rose, I can't wait for people hear our duet [which will be on the new album]. I would also like collaborations with DJs. I love Calvin Harris, Jax Jones…

You have been a member of one of the most beloved girl bands, you have been sworn in “Asia's Got Talent”, you officiate as a DJ and pursue your solo career… What would be your next dream project?

Now I'm focusing on my music. It's my first love. My favorite period is when I have an album about to be released. I can't wait for the music to be live again, in halls, playing in front of the fans. Once the album is released, and the security conditions are met, I plan to come to Paris. It has been so long since I have performed there. As soon as I can come, I will be there.


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