A good sport:
Former Spice Girl Mel C, heading to Great Yarmouth this month, is always up for a new challenge
Ex-Spice Girl Mel C is coming to Great Yarmouth
The pop star once known around the globe as Sporty Spice is limbering up for a new challenge – as a live DJ bringing 90s dance music to a Norfolk racecourse. But, when Melanie C chats about the latest music venture in an already stellar career, there is a more pressing ‘gig’ on her mind. Her daughter Scarlett’s ninth birthday party.
“It will be Disco DJ Mummy on the decks,” she chuckles in her distinctive Merseyside accent. “One of my warm-ups for Great Yarmouth!”
Melanie Chisholm will entertain crowds after Ladies Night racing at the resort’s racecourse on Wednesday, July 18, by presenting a set of feel-good songs. “I thought it would be really lovely to do a bit of a 1990s set. It is such a great decade of music and it’s probably what people would expect of me.
“We can cross from pop and dance to R&B and Brit pop – lots of music people are going to love to hear and get up and have a great time.” And will there be some Spice Girls on the set list? “It would be rude not to,” she smiles.
Melanie exploded on to the music scene with the rest of the Spice Girls in the summer of 1996, but has also gone on to have a successful career as a solo singer with two number one hits, and stage star, with an Olivier Award nomination for her role as Mrs Johnstone in Blood Brothers.
DJ-ing is new and she is adding some other warm-up gigs into her already-busy 2018 schedule.
She explains: “It seems like a very natural progression to make. Everything I have done is musicbased. Music is my first love. I love to perform. I have always loved listening and dancing to music. It is nice to have slightly different role and hopefully get everyone else dancing.
“I am probably popping up doing a few quiet DJ gigs to cut my teeth before getting up to you guys in Great Yarmouth.”
So what else does 2018 hold for Melanie? And what about that recent ‘reunion’ of the Spice Girls?
“A picture of us five girls together and the world goes into a bit of a frenzy, which is very flattering but people made lots of assumptions,” she says. “There are no plans for us to go out on the road and tour or make new music or anything like that.
“It was lovely to get together and we did talk about opportunities in the future and things we want to explore. The media has got a little bit ahead of itself. There is no big announcement…”
But she adds cryptically: “…at this point, anyway.”
The last big reunion – riding on taxi cab roofs at the 2012 London Olympics closing ceremony – was the highlight of Melanie’s many Spice Girls memories, which include Brit awards and breaking into America.
“The Olympics was so exciting and magical because of the setting, and knowing we were being watched by billions all over the world, including seeing the new phenomenon of social media going into meltdown.”
And she is particularly proud of the Girl Power legacy left behind by the Spice Girls – whose feisty songs played a part in empowering women.
“We meet people who are now all grown-up and they say such positive things about being a fan when they were younger.
“It gave them confidence, they didn’t feel they had to fit in. It was cool to be different and an individual. We hear lovely stories of people inspired to try and achieve their goals.
“Girl Power still resonates today. We have 100 years since women won the vote plus a lot going on about gender equality. We have a generation of young girls, a lot of whom were Spice Girls fans who feel proactive – hopefully we were a part of that.”
Looking forward, Melanie is enjoying a busy 2018 with gigs, DJ-ing and a new album in the making.
The album, her eighth as a solo artist, and two singles are due out this summer. Its content will be “surprising” says Melanie. “I am keeping my cards close to my chest. I was very proud of my last album Version of Me but this one feels very different.”
The concert gigs will be mainly festivals – smaller family-friendly and even food festivals, some of them “off the beaten track” having done the big Isle of Wight and V events last year.
And then there is the DJ-ing at Great Yarmouth. It won’t be her first trip to Norfolk as Melanie has performed in Norwich as a solo artist, and with Jools Holland, and enjoyed day trips to the area “though not as often as I would have liked, because it is a very beautiful part of the world.”
She has also performed at racecourses before – Chepstow with Jools and solo at Ascot – but never as a DJ.
“It’s always a fun day – I have been to races and just had an absolute blast. It’s a great day out and nice to be part of the entertainment afterwards.” Melanie C is at Great Yarmouth Racecourse on Wednesday July 18. Tickets available at greatyarmouth-racecourse. co.uk or call 01493 842527. Ladies Night, which last year featured Radio 2 DJ Sara Cox, is one of 23 fixtures at Great Yarmouth this season running from April 24 to October 23, and including the flagship Eastern Festival from September 18-20. The course is one of 16 run by Arena Racing Company (ARC) the largest racecourse operator in the UK.
“Girl Power still resonates today”
ABOVE AND LEFT: Melanie C who will DJ at this summer’s Great Yarmouth Races Ladies Night on July 18