Ask Melanie Chisholm whether she prefers to be a touring Spice Girl or a touring solo artist and the answer might come as some surprise.
“The Spice Girls are so much fun — it’s amazing to perform to so many people and be so high-profile. It’s what dreams are made of,” says the amiable 34-year-old Brit better known as — pick one — Melanie C, Mel C or Sporty Spice.
“But my heart is in my solo work now. I get to do more of what I want to do.”
Before last summer’s Spice Girls reunion announcement, Melanie C reportedly hesitated at the thought of any reunion. Yet mere months after her fourth studio album, This Time, was issued overseas, there was Chisholm joining her former Girl Power partners Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice), Melanie Brown (Scary Spice), Emma Bunton (Baby Spice) and even Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice) delivering news of a reunion and subsequent tour, which began in Vancouver last December and wrapped up at the Air Canada Centre in late February.
“All my fears about getting back together with the girls, about how things would work out on stage … none of those ever came about,“ she says. “It was frighteningly easy to slip back into those shoes. I guess because we’re all so much older and had taken a step away from it, we really respect and enjoy each other more now than we ever did.”
It remains a question mark whether any further Spice Girls performances will materialize. So, for now, Melanie C has downsized from the Spice Girls’ arena-sized spectacle — glamorous costume changes, dance routines and all — to just being one singer fronting a band for her tour in support of last month’s North American release of This Time.
“It’s odd and does take a while to feel balanced again,” Melanie C says of the adjustment. “But overall, playing so many gigs in tinier venues or in festivals makes you a better performer and you become far more confident on stage. That’s always been my reason I wanted to be a solo artist.”
Some of that credit, she says, is owed to Canadian rocker Bryan Adams, whose 1998 hit When You’re Gone features a duet with Melanie C. “He really gave me the confidence to go on and become a solo artist,” she says. “I’ve got a lot to thank Bryan for — he’s a great friend.”