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Melanie Jayne Chisholm (born 12 January 1974), better known as Melanie C or Mel C, is an English singer-songwriter and actress. She is one of the five members of the Spice Girls, in which she was nicknamed Sporty Spice. With the Spice Girls, she toured the world and sold over 100 million records worldwide.
As a solo artist, Chisholm has sold more than 12 million records. Her first solo attempt was collaborating with Bryan Adams on a hit "When You're Gone". She then released her debut solo studio album, Northern Star in 1999, which sold four million copies. Chisholm has released another five albums and has been nominated for BRIT and ECHO awards. She currently is the female artist with the second most number-one singles in the United Kingdom and also the only female to reach the number one spot as part of a quintet, a quartet, a duo and solo. In 2012, Chisholm earned her 12th UK number 1 as part of The Justice Collective with the Christmas number 1 single "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother".
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.
1994-2000: Spice Girls:
In 1994, she joined the Spice Girls (then called Touch). In 1996, Chisholm, with Melanie Brown, Geri Halliwell, Emma Bunton and Victoria Adams, released "Wannabe" which was a big hit in United Kingdom and United States. Chisholm usually wore a tracksuit with her hair in a ponytail and sported the attitude of a tomboy and became known as Sporty Spice. Their debut album, Spice and second album, Spiceworld each sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. During the Spiceworld: The Tour, Halliwell left the group and the four remaining members began work on their third studio album.
1999-2002: Northern Star and Forever:
Chisholm took her first steps in establishing a solo career in late 1998 by singing with Canadian rocker Bryan Adams on "When You're Gone". Her debut album Northern Star was released in 1999. A track from this, ("Ga Ga"), was on the Big Daddy soundtrack before the album's release. Singles "Goin' Down" and "Northern Star" were met with promising success, but the third single "Never Be the Same Again", featuring TLC member Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, became her first UK number-one single as a solo artist and a number-one single in the Netherlands, a Top Five hit in Germany and No.2 in Australia. Chisholm released a fourth single from Northern Star, a dance remix of "I Turn to You", and earned herself a second number-one single in both the UK and the Netherlands. "I Turn to You" reached No.2 in Germany, No.11 in Australia and eventually climbed to the top of the Billboard dance chart in the United States. Northern Star was re-released with the single versions of "Never Be the Same Again" and "I Turn to You", and eventually peaked at number four on the United Kingdom album chart and number six in Germany. The fifth and final single from Northern Star, "If That Were Me" peaked at number eighteen in the UK and the proceeds were donated to a charity for the homeless. Northern Star is certified three times platinum in the United Kingdom for shipping 900,000 copies, platinum in Germany for selling over 500,000 copies, gold in Brazil for selling 100,000 copies, and gold in Australia for selling over 35,000 copies. Chisholm then went on her Northern Star World Tour, performing in countries such as Canada, Ireland, Israel and the United Kingdom.
In 2000, Spice Girls released their third and final studio album, Forever. The album featured their number-one singles "Goodbye", "Holler" and "Let Love Lead the Way". After the album's release, the group went their separate ways.
2003-2006: Reason and Beautiful Intentions:
After a break from public life and an eating disorder and depression, Chisholm released her second studio album, Reason, in March 2003. The album included production from collaborators including Gregg Alexander, Marius De Vries, Dr Robert of the Blow Monkeys, David Arnold and Matt Rowe, co-writer of "Wannabe". The lead single from Reason was "Here It Comes Again", which reached number seven in the United Kingdom, the album entering the UK Albums Chart a week later at number five, but quickly fell off the chart. The album entered at number twelve in Germany and number twenty-one in Switzerland.
The second single from the album, "On the Horizon" peaked at number fourteen in the UK Singles Chart. A promotional single in Japan, "Let's Love" where the song accompanied a Toyota commercial was released. The third single, "Yeh Yeh Yeh" was released in mainland Europe and a double A-side single release of "Melt" and "Yeh Yeh Yeh", which achieved a disappointing UK Singles Chart position of number twenty-seven. After a series of disappointments and the relative failure of "Melt" and "Yeh Yeh Yeh", Chisholm parted ways with her label, Virgin Records.Reason has been certified gold in the United Kingdom.
Chisholm spent much of 2004 working on new material and setting up her own record company, Red Girl Records. Without major label backing, her activities were decided and funded by herself, alongside her business partner and manager, Nancy Phillips. In April 2005, Chisholm released her third album, Beautiful Intentions. The Adam Argyle-penned "Next Best Superstar" was chosen as the lead single and was released simultaneously in Europe and Australia. The single peaked at number ten in the United Kingdom and reached the top of the German radio airplay chart for several weeks. The second single, "Better Alone", was released but later restricted to purchase from the iTunes Store and from her official online shop. Chisholm released "Better Alone" in 2006 in some other European countries like Germany, Australia and Switzerland. The third single from her third album was "First Day of My Life", a previously unheard Chisholm recording written by Guy Chambers and Enrique Iglesias. "First Day of My Life" topped the charts in several European countries. The single became one of the biggest hits of 2005 in parts of Europe, reaching number one in Spain, Portugal, Switzerland and Germany for two weeks. Beautiful Intentions has been certified gold in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and platinum in Portugal, where it spent nine weeks at number one.
In 2006, Chisholm released her first live DVD, "Live Hits". Recorded on 31 August 2006 at the Bridge in South East, London, it features Chisholm performing a selection of songs from her first three albums in both acoustic and full band sets. The DVD peaked at number ten on the Official UK DVD Music Chart.
2007-2010: This Time and the Spice Girls reunion:
In early 2007, Chisholm released her fourth album, This Time. It featured collaborations with Adam Argyle, who wrote six tracks for new album,Peter-John Vettese, Guy Chambers and Cathy Dennis, amongst others. The first single released from the project was "The Moment You Believe", primarily released in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, where it became a top twenty hit. The single also peaked at number 1 in Spain for two weeks and was a hit in several other European countries. In the UK, Chisholm released the track "I Want Candy", which peaked at number twenty-four and featured on the soundtrack to the film of the same name. The single peaked at number nine in Italy and Denmark. The second single from the album This Time was "Carolyna", released in June in the UK and across Europe. Although it underperformed in the UK, it became a top five radio hit in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and a top twenty hit in Italy. In October 2007 in the UK, Germany, Switzerland and Austria Chisholm released the single "This Time". A new version of the song was recorded for the release. It featured a B-side track called "We Love To Entertain You", which was used for 2007's Pro7 Starforce campaign in Germany.
During the same year, the Spice Girls re-grouped and announced plans for a reunion tour, from which they were said to have earned £10 million each (approximately $20 million). The team's members said that they were still enjoying doing their "own thing". The group decided to release their first compilation album, a collection of their Greatest Hits. This album was released in early November 2007, and the tour began on 2 December 2007. During the reformation, film-maker Bob Smeaton directed an official film of the tour which he titled Spice Girls: Giving You Everything. 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. Chisholm released her DVD concert Live at the Hard Rock Cafe on 29 June 2009, in aid of the Caron Keating Foundation. The DVD included two new songs from Chisholm, "Blue Skies All the Way" and "Paris Burning".
2011-12: The Sea and The Night:
On 24 June 2011, Chisholm released the single "Rock Me". The single served as the official theme song for German TV channel ZDF's coverage of the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup. The single went top 40 on the German singles chart.
On 2 September 2011, Chisholm released her fifth studio album, titled The Sea. Chisholm worked with producers and songwriters such as James Walsh, Andy Chatterley, Richard Stannard, Cutfather, Greg Hatwell, Peter-John Vettese, Guy Chambers and Ina Wroldsen for the album. The album received a positive reaction from music critics and the album charted at number 45 in UK Albums Chart. Two days after the album release, the track from the album "Think About It" was released as a single. The single peaked at number 95 in UK Singles Chart. In November and December 2011, two more singles from the album were released. "Weak" was released in the United Kingdom while "Let There Be Love" was released in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
In support of her album The Sea, Chisholm embarked on The Sea - Live tour where she performed in Germany, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Austria and Ireland. The DVD of the tour, "The Sea Tour Live", was released on 27 February 2012.
Chisholm released her first EP, The Night, a three track dance inspired EP was released on 13 May 2012, a collaboration with Jodie Harsh. The EP charted at number 16 in the UK Independent chart selling 1,882 copies in the first week. Chisholm also supported a homeless charity by donating funds raised from her annual calendar.
2012-present: Stages and Asia's Got Talent:
On 12 August 2012, Chisholm reunited with the Spice Girls to perform at the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony in London. They performed a medley of their hit singles "Wannabe" and "Spice Up Your Life" and their performance was shown to be the most tweeted about moment of the entire Olympic Games. In September 2012, Chisholm released her sixth studio album, Stages. The record was 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 also featured a duet with her former Spice Girls bandmate, Emma Bunton. The album charted at number 50 in the UK Albums Chart. The promotional single from the album, "I Don't Know How to Love Him" was released on 22 July, while the first official single, "I Know Him So Well", featuring Bunton, was released on 11 November.
In December 2012, Chisholm earned her 12th UK number one single as part of The Justice Collective's charity single "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother", an official tribute single for the Hillsborough disaster. The single also became Chisholm's 4th UK Christmas number one single, which tied her with Cliff Richard and The Beatles for appearing on the second highest amount of UK Christmas number ones, behind only Paul McCartney who has featured on seven.
In July 2013, Chisholm was featured in a collaboration with The X Factor winner Matt Cardle for the single "Loving You". The single was released on 18 August 2013 and charted at number 14 in the UK Singles Chart.
In February 2014, Chisholm performed at the British & Irish Invasion concert held in Taradale, located in the North Island region of New Zealand. She performed a selection of songs in conjunction with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. It was her first time performing in the country.
In March 2014, Chisholm, along with Emma Bunton and other British stars such as Eliza Doolittle and Katy B, took part in recording England's 2014 World Cup song. The song, however, didn't fare well with fans or critics and was soon dropped by the FA.
On 31 March 2014 Chisholm featured on the track 'Cool as You' a duet with Czech artist Peter Aristone. Chisholm also did a cameo on the Little Mix music video, "Word Up", which was the Sport Relief single for 2014. She embarked in the summer of 2014 with the Jools Holland's Rhythm and Blues Orchestra for a tour throughout the UK.
In December 2014 Chisholm appeared as one of the guest vocalists with Spike Edney's SAS Band. She performed at The Brook in Southampton (4 December 2014) and at G-Live in Guildford (6 December 2014) with a mix of her favourite songs from other artists (Queen, Stevie Wonder) as well as her own hit I Turn To You.
In January 2015 Chisholm recorded a cover of the Stevie Wonder hit 'I Wish'. This song features on 'Sirens of Song' album, another collaborative album from Jools Holland and His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra featuring a whole host of special guests. Other artists featured on this record are 'Night & Day' with KT Tunstall, 'Should I Stay Or Should I Go' with Kylie Minogue and 'Ain't Misbehavin' with Eartha Kitt.
In January 2015, Chisholm joined the judging panel for Asia's Got Talent together with David Foster, Anggun Cipta, and Van Ness Wu.
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."
In the early to mid-1990s, Chisholm made several appearances in television commercials and music videos while trying to pursue her music career. It was not until The Spice Girls became popular that she made regular television appearances and played herself in many commercials. In 1997, Chisholm's feature film debut came in Spiceworld The Movie playing herself alongside her bandmates. In 2000, Chisholm played herself in an episode of The Norm Show while promoting her Spice Girls' third studio album Forever.
She said in an interview with Nylon Magazine in December 2009, that she is interested in pursuing a serious acting career in film. In 2008 it was planned she would star in a sequel to the 1996 horror film The Craft, but filming was terminated.
In 2009, Chisholm signed to perform the role of Mrs. Johnstone in the musical Blood Brothers by Willy Russell in London's West End. She performed the role for six months, commencing November 2009. Following her time in the production, Chisholm was nominated Best Actress in a Musical at the 2010 Laurence Olivier Awards and Outstanding Newcomer at the 2010 Evening Standard Theatre Awards. She reprised the role for a limited two-week engagement at the Liverpool Empire Theatre in November 2010.
In 2012 Chisholm co-starred in the UK arena tour of the musical Jesus Christ Superstar, playing the role of Mary Magdalene. For her performance Chisholm won Best Supporting Actress in a musical at the 2013 "WhatsOnStage.com" Awards. Prior to this, she was a judge on the series Superstar, the ITV talent show looking for an actor to play the lead role in the musical. She also toured Australia with the musical as well.
Chisholm has been open about her struggles with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, clinical depression, and an eating disorder, which she has experienced several times during her life. Her younger half-brother, Paul O'Neill, is a racing driver. She has 12 tattoos.
Chisholm was in a relationship with property developer Thomas Starr. On 22 February 2009, Chisholm gave birth to her daughter Scarlet at the Portland Hospital in London.
Chisholm has a £1 million country home in Catbrook, Monmouthshire. In 2005 she switched on the Christmas lights at nearby Tintern. She is a supporter of Liverpool FC. She is also an amateur triathlete, finishing the London Triathlon twice. Chisholm is currently judging the 2015 version of "Asia's Got Talent" along with David Foster, Anggun Cipta,and Vanness Wu.
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."