S Club 7's Tina Barrett Talks To Holy Moly about her return to pop"I've been working with William Orbit"
Thu, 11/08/2011 - 08:33 by Tim Chipping
It’s been eight years since the TV pop phenomenon S Club 7 said goodbye. Since then, both Rachel and Jo had varying degrees of success with their solo careers, Jon became a West End star, Hannah's on the telly and Bradley & Paul... well, they’re probably fine. But whatever happened to the English/Guyanese brunette vision that was Tina Barrett? Well, she’s back. And she came to the Holy Moly office to tell her story...
HM: So, Tina. Where the hell have you been?
Tina: “Well, S Club was such a rollercoaster ride, an amazing five years of being thrust into the public eye. So when we split up I just wanted to have a bit of a break and do all the things I never got to do. Just being normal, really. I enjoyed that.
“But I’ve been doing a lot of songwriting and working with producers. I’ve been songwriting since I was eight years old. But after watching people like Cathy Dennis, when I was in S Club, I picked up some things...“I started working on the material that’s ready to release, three years ago. My stuff is completely different from S Club. People might be a little bit shocked when they hear it. I’ve been working with William Orbit and he’s a genius. It was a random thing; he knows a friend of mine and we got chatting at a party. And from there we made some tunes. He barely knew who S Club was.
“And I’m working with uber-cool artist Stuart Semple. He’s art directing all my videos and photoshoots. I like taking risks. I’m not saying I’m gonna copy Lady Gaga, because she’s in a league of her own. But I’ve got a little artistic edge to me that people haven’t seen.”
Will you be releasing actual proper CDs or is this going to be a download only thing at first?
“Well I’m talking to record companies at the moment so... all of the above. I’ve just started on Twitter and I’m blown away by how many people are still interested and supporting me. I was expecting to start all over again and have no one interested. The fans have called themselves Tina’s Tigers. That’s crazy!”It’s because you’re the great missing pop star. A Syd Barrett for the Smash Hits generation...
“There was a story, I think in Heat magazine, that said I was a bounty hunter living in Cuba.”
Are you a bounty hunter?
“I want to clear this up, no. I don’t hunt people. I sing and dance.”Why was Rachel the one making saucy calendars when it was you we all fancied?
“Aw, that’s really sweet of you! Oh my god. I was quite happy to step out of the limelight. But it wasn’t a conscious thing. It just happened. I’ve been performing my whole life. I started out as a dancer. I worked with Pulp, Simply Red, Shola Ama... Pulp’s This Is Hardcore video is my claim to fame. I was one of the showgirls. Give me some respect!”
We saw a recent picture of the whole of S Club back together again...
“First time for seven years.”
Paul’s a big lad now.
“Paul’s the nicest guy in the world. And I’m not just saying that because everyone’s gonna read it, he is. So what, he’s enjoying his life. He doesn’t have to do a hundred sit-ups every day. He’s still sexy, he’s still got it.”
Let’s talk about each S Clubber then. Rachel was always fun to chat to until we started the interview and then she’d be boring. Was that because you were media trained within an inch of your lives?
“We didn’t have media training. We should’ve because some of us said things we shouldn’t have done, and got in trouble. Rachel was very good at being disciplined.”
i.e. boring. So you weren’t manipulated pop puppets as some people might think?
“I think there are a lot of myths about pop bands. People think we’re locked in a cupboard and not allowed to eat carbs. It’s not true at all. We were never told to lose weight or anything. Apart from Bradley, once. But that’s because he was eating pizza for breakfast, dinner and tea.”
A girlfriend of ours interviewed you at the time and said you were all asleep in a heap and had to be woken up to speak to her...
“Ha ha ha, that’s so funny. That’s how bad it was. Oh my word, that’s amazing. We weren’t polished Barbie dolls. We weren’t getting our eight hours sleep. If we were tired we looked like shit. But we were quite honest. We always said, ‘we are a manufactured band. We dance, we sing’. But it was our voices on the record, it wasn’t a Milli Vanilli thing!”
Why wasn’t Jo a huge solo success? She had an amazing voice and a great single...
“I agree. I think that’s one of the biggest mysteries for me. Sometimes it’s all about timing and, I hate to say it, marketing. Jo has never lost that voice so she’s got a bright future, I think.”
If we forget about the Big Brother thing...
“We forget about the Big Brother thing. Jo is a nice person, she just got pulled into the drama. Jo is not racist.”
Would you go on Celebrity Big Brother? We can make that happen...
“No. I’m too loose lipped for those shows.”
And you’d be inadvertently racist?
“Well, no. Definitely not. I will be watching it though.”
Jon’s done alright for himself.
“Jon’s the golden boy. He’s the triple threat. He can sing, dance, act... He’s one of the funniest people I know. Funny, funny, funny. He should have his own stand-up show.”
We never saw that side of him.
“You never saw our fun side. It was all just miserable and us falling asleep.”
Hannah now chases CGI dinosaurs for a living...
“Hannah’s done well. I went to her birthday shortly after we all met up at Jon’s Jersey Boys performance, and she’s done really well. She makes me laugh.”
Our theory is that Hannah was Simon Fuller’s favourite, i.e. the Baby Spice of the band.
“No, I was the favourite! No, I wasn’t. I wish I was the favourite.”
“Ha, maybe not. I still talk to Simon Fuller. We’re really good friends.”
This isn’t what we want to hear. We want to hear that he ruined your life.
“Ha, ha. He stole my youth. No, he didn’t. Are you kidding me? How many people would’ve chopped their arm off to get my position in that band. I know that I’m so lucky and I’m so grateful to have been in S Club. Thanks Simon!”
So what on earth are Bradley and Paul up to?
“They’re doing S Club 3 right now.”
Isn’t that a bit weird?
“You know what, these guys are like my family, because we more or less grew up together. At first I was like, really? Why are they doing that? But then I saw some footage and they’ve got huge crowds; streets filled with people screaming... so good on them.”
And at least they didn’t replace you with Jessica from Liberty X or someone. When the drug scandal hit, did you think: ‘It’s all over. This is our Richard Bacon moment’?
“Absolutely. Oh, it was huge. It was on the news! Sponsors were dropping us like flies... It was scary. We were like, ‘oh my god, you guys are so stupid’. But then our single went to number one that week and everyone was cool. Maybe it made us a little cooler. No! I’m not promoting that. Don’t do drugs, kids.”
How did the band end?
“We’d just done the film, Seeing Double - box office smash. Stop laughing! It was a group decision. There’s only so long you can work like that. We were surviving on a couple of hours sleep a night, always on a plane, we were burnt out basically. And it was either, take a break or split up. So we split up.”
And then did you spend a few weeks hiding under your duvet eating ice cream and crying?
“No. I was like, thank God that’s over! I’m gonna go on holiday... I don’t think anyone cried. It was quite sad in a way. But at the end of the day it was a job. And everyone wanted to do their own thing so it was quite exciting. People could find out what they really wanted to do. Which is where I’m at now.”
We have to ask this, before someone else does: Is Tina still doing her dance?
“Yes. But the dance has got a few new moves.”
And you can find out what Tina Barrett’s new moves are by following @Tinabmusic
Read the whole story on Holy Moly! http://www.holymoly.com/music/interview ... z1w6s6tbDt
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