Chelly Palisoc -

#SpiceChat Spice Tracking Site News Solo Projects Tour Dates Submit News

Emma Bunton interviewed for the 'Weekend' magazine in the Herald Sun - May 5 2001

Black Text = Weekend magazine/Katherine Tulich
Blue Text = Emma Bunton

Baby Spice likes being nice and natural.

KATHERINE TULICH spoke to her after the release of her first solo effort

ASK Baby Spice Emma Bunton what she remembers about The Spice Girls' whirlwind two day trip to Australia at the height of Spice frenzy for the opening of their movie Spiceworld in 1997, and the answer is lobster.

"I remember eating lobster," she says, confessing that the menu is always her best memory click of a new place. "I can never understand why someone goes to a new country and all they eat is burger and chips!"

Sitting in her London record company office nibbling on a decidedly British treat, crisps, Emma Bunton is giggly and buoyant, with good reason.

Her solo single, What Took You So Long, made its debut at No. 1 on the UK charts. It's a pleasing pop confection that gets under the skin.

Not only is she achieving success but also critical acclaim, earning respectable reviews from such hardnosed publications as the music paper NME and the highbrow British newspaper, The Times, which wrote: "A fabulous first single (a real grower) which deserves its success."

Baby, after all, seemed the Spice most unlikely to find that success.

While Geri Halliwell, Mel C and Mel B were quick to launch their solo careers and Victoria Beckham is never out of the headlines, 25-year-old Bunton has been the quiet one.

Avoiding the tabloid glare ("I guess it's because I'm not married to a footballer and I haven't had a baby") Bunton was the cute Spice in pigtails, smocks and socks. No one really questioned whether she had talent.

"No one knew what to expect, but I've had a very clear idea all along of what I wanted to do with a solo album.

"I've been writing lyrics for these songs for a few years," she says with determination. "It was like writing a diary. The whole album is about things I've been through." Her album, A Girl Like Me, to be released in Australia on May 14, reveals a vocal sweetness like Olivia Newton John.

The songs fuse pop and dance with liberal helpings of folk-sounding acoustic guitar.

The album is original except for two covers - a light pop reworking of Edie Brickell's What I Am and Sunshine on a Rain Day, recorded in Australia by Christine Anu.

"I knew how I wanted it to sound," says Bunton. "I knew I wanted different flavours. When I was younger I used to listen to Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, I was a real Motown girl. It always gave me an emotion, and I've put that on the album."

The other Spices are also following their own solo paths. Mel B has just released another single, Mel C is touring the US, and Victoria Beckham releases her first-solo album this year.

Bunton says the group's girl-power solidarity is as strong as ever, despite reports that Mel C had walked out.

"That simply wasn't true," Bunton says. "Mel was very upset. We're a gang and we're good friends as well. We see one another all the time.

"We love working together and nothing will change that.

But we've just taken time out to do solo projects and to try different things. No one has left the band. We want to do more and we want to tour again."

Bunton's level-headedness and Pollyanna innocence have many observers noting that not only is she the quiet Spice but she also seems the most normal and content with herself.

A group insider recently said Bunton was the glue that could bind an otherwise indifferent crew together.

She's considered the most amiable and uncalculating, the one they can all be friends with.

She also seems the most unaffected by her fame. She still sees her childhood neighbourhood friends, constantly refers to her mother, and likes nothing better than spending a night with her gang at the bowling alley.

EVEN her love life seems comparatively normal for celebrity land. She's been dating Jade lones, lead singer from the boy band Damage for three years.

"It's going really well. I'm very happy with him, but we're still very young. We're just having fun. We don't want to get too serious yet," she says.

"You can make choices," she says. "Either walk down the street with your hair and make-up completely done and of course everyone recognises you or you can just wear a tracksuit and cap and no one notices."

"I was never one of those kids who dreamed of being famous. 1 would never have imagined where I am today. I still have to pinch myself now and again," she says.

While the rest of the girls have either dramatically lost weight, gained weight, had breast implants or, in the case of Mel B, had them taken out, Bunton is unchanged.

"I like being natural. I've never really been into fashion. I just wear what I'm comfortable in," she says.

"I never felt like I had an image, even with the Spice Girls. That's exactly how I met them, with the little socks and the short dresses."

But she didn't count on the Lolita-like sexuality she would arouse.

"At the time I didn't think of it as naughty or sexual. It was just what I liked to wear," she says. "But I used to get oldish men writing me mucky mail and coming to the house where I used to live, so that was pretty scary."

One topic that sours her pleasant demeanour is the media obsession with thinness.

"My eight-year-old cousins are on diets and it really worries me," she says. "I haven't lost weight and 1 don't want to lose weight."

"But in every paper and magazine they say Victoria's too thin and I'm too fat.

"One of the reasons the Spice Girls were so successful is because we weren't these skinny girls, we were like the girls next door.

"I hate to think what would happen if we came out today. We would all have had to be so skinny," she says.

Does she think she'll ever outgrow Baby? "I love people calling me Baby Spice. It really depends on how you say it. It could be a sweet Baby Spice or you could say it tough like 'Hey Baby!' Both are fine by me."

WEEKEND May 5, 2001

 Back To The News