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by Andy Lamb
All Saints started the year amid rumours of Nic quitting and the sacking of their manager, and fans around the world were left questioning their future. But what next for Nic, Nat, Shaz and Mel?
It was probably first brought to our attention that something was wrong following an article last year in the Sun newspaper on July 10th. "All Saints All At Sea" ran the headline. "Big Bust Up With Manager", "They Bomb In States", werent exactly the kind of things most of us wanted to be reading.
It took a press conference held at the Cafe De Paris in London on Monday 9th February to finally clear things up somewhat. It welcomed back Mel, it confirmed that they had parted company with John Benson, and extra tour dates were announced. The girls appeared relaxed as they faced the press.
"It feels like the end of the summer holidays and the first day of school. You're gossiping with all your mates to find out what's happened," said Mel, who also told the assembled press that her mum and her daughter Lily would be going on tour with them.
It was Nat who confirmed the "parting of ways" when she announced, "We have parted company with John and we no longer work together."
Extra tour dates were announced at some of the UK's larger Arenas, the highlights being an extra show at Wembley Arena on June 23rd and the rescheduling of Newcastle Arena's concert from June 9th to June 13 (with all tickets still valid). Tickets are selling very well according to the ticket hotline, with a steady stream of calls. There may be "one or two" left for the final Wembley concert on Friday 25th June if you're quick. Shaz mentioned the tour "will be very special.... gonna be really exciting for us to actually see for the first time who's buying our records."
Nic responded to the "quit rumour" by saying that she simply needed some holiday. She would not answer questions about herself and Robbie however, again fuelling reports that they have called it a day.
So everything in the camp appeared to be fine - the girls seemed refreshed and were looking forward to the tour. Good news, considering the only stories that had been heard were those published in the press. One thing that can't be forgotten however, is the stress and tension that was visibly beginning to show at the back end of last year. (Think back to the MTV interview about new year resolutions for an example.) If only the media could be helpful enough to consider keeping the girls' private lives private....
It's now 1999, which for All Saints means a tour and a new album. There have been stressful times, though lessons have been learnt. But above all, the support is still there to help ensure the girls' continued success.
LINKS: All Saints