A good sport:

For­mer Spice Girl Mel C, head­ing to Great Yar­mouth this month, is al­ways up for a new challenge

EDP Norfolk - - Inside - WORDS: Richard Bat­son

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

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