Mel C(ancelled)

JOSH DARE makes the best of bad timing with Mel C.

Today, I met Mel C (Chisolm, ex-Spice Girl). Wanna read my tell-all interview with her? Well, ya can’t – she cancelled. Being the Sportiest Spice in the world apparently won’t help you from ‘running’ late.

So this article is based upon her live performance at HMV Prahran Central, the press junket, my fleeting 10-second meeting with her, and her interview on Rove Live that I just watched. Incidentally, I tried in vain to get Mel C’s publicity chick to bump Rove Live in favour of chatting with us, but unfortunately for Mel her publicist lacks vision. What’s Rove got that we don’t, huh? (Besides the national coverage, reputation and limitless charm?)

He certainly sucks up to his celebrity guests more than I do, that’s for sure. In between praising her career and pandering her ego, about the best response he elicted from her was “I’m not a lezzer”. Not that he asked, of course, she was qualifying herself after commenting how comfortable she was being sexual in her latest film clip because it of the female director. So there ya have it, girls – Not A Lezzer.

Which is altogether too bad, because based on the crowd at her in-store appearance, she still has quite a strong lesbian following – who don’t seem to go far without their gay male contingency. From where I was standing in the press pit (acting as a human boom for the Bent TV recording), the queers were tall and proud; in contrast with the kiddies on school holidays, who were short and shameful and thankfully not too plentiful.

The crowd was patient as they awaited the arrival of Sporty Spice, and greeted her with cheers as she entered the shopping centre 20 minutes late, took the stage, and then disappeared out the back straight away. Hmph. She soon reappeared and the crowd bellowed out ego-boosters like, “We love you Mel!” and “You rock Mel!” and “We love the way you rock Mel!”. She performed stellar renditions of Next Best Superstar and Better Alone from her latest album, Beautiful Intentions, and then a slow acoustic version of I Turn To You. We managed to sneak in the questions during the press junket, so here’s what she had to say.

(So) Beautiful Intentions is a lot rockier than the last album?

I really thought about what I wanted to achieve with this album, and with the first two (albums) I was able to do a lot of touring and a lot of live work, and I realised that it was the live work that I enjoyed the most, and it was what the audiences were reacting to the best. So I thought it was time to rock out.

You’ve written most of the songs on this album, is that right?

I’ve always co-written every album I’ve made, and with this album I co-wrote 11 out of the 12 tracks.

After 33 million albums sold, is there more or less pressure to come up with successful new stuff?

It’s much more relaxed. I feel I have had a wonderful career. Obviously with the Spice Girls, it was tremendously successful, and as a solo artist too I’ve been blessed, you know, I’m so lucky. I feel that I’m just having a good time, and it’s helping me to make the best music of my career, I really do.

So unlike your time with the Spice Girls, are you now finally producing what you’ve wanted to produce?

I was very different then, I was a lot younger, It was very much something we did together. That was the music that we did as a band, well, as a group. I’ve just been feeling more like on my own, I’ve been playing and experimenting, and I feel that I’ve finally got there.

You’ve got a new album out, and two new singles from that album just released. So what’s next for you?

Well, there’s actually a track which isn’t on this album… In Germany, I’ve been asked to sing the theme to a new TV show; a song called The First Day Of My Life. So that’s the next release in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, but I’m not sure of whether you guys in Oz are going to get it or not… but by the sounds of it, you want it, so just wait and see.

Your work crosses over many demographics and genres, in terms of style and sound. How do you find that transition from dance to ballad to rock?

I’ve always thought that if a song’s a good song, it can be lent to any genre. A song like I Turn To You, which was a huge hit dance remix by Hex Hector, originally started its life as a ballad. I’ve got some great remixes for the new singles that are currently out, and I know that they have the same quality and potential.

Melanie C’s Beautiful Intentions is out now.