By David Hennessy
After bursting onto the scene in 1998 with C’est la Vie, the permanently denim clad B*Witched became one of the biggest girl groups of the time with all of their first four singles (which were also Rollercoaster, To You I Belong and Blame it on the Weatherman) topping the UK charts. Both their debut album and its 1999 follow-up Awake and Breathe were number one in Ireland, as well as making it to the top 5 in UK and brought the girls success from further afield territories such as America, Australia, New Zealand and Europe as they sold over three million albums worldwide.
Made up of twin sisters Edele and Keavy Lynch (sisters of Boyzone’s Shane), Lindsay Armaou and Sinead O’Carroll, the band were ready to produce their third album in 2002 when they learned their record company was not going ahead with it. Later that year, when Sinead left the band, B*Witched decided to call it a day.
Since then, siblings Edele and Keavy have performed under the monikers Ms Lynch and Barbarellas, Lindsay has studied acting and landed a part in gangster film, Two Days in the Smoke while Sinead set up a musical workshop known as Star Academy to help talented youngsters succeed in the music industry.
Recently reunited for ITV’s The Big Reunion, the girls spoke about their ups and downs and how overnight and continued success put them under pressure to stay at number one. Keavy struggled most of all but this was even unnoticed by her twin sister as was emotionally fully revealed on the show.
Other chart toppers from yesteryear featuring in The Big Reunion were Five, 911, Atomic Kitten, Honeyz, Liberty X and Blue as they all rehearsed for a comeback performance at the Hammersmith Apollo. Due to the success of the show and the high demand for tickets, B*Witched and the other bands are currently embarking on an arena tour around the UK and Ireland. The girls took time out to talk to The Irish World from their tour bus.
So what is it like to be back on the road? “I’m enjoying it,” begins Keavy. “I’m knackered at the moment. We haven’t had a huge amount of downtime for resting and I’m doing my dissertation as well so just a little bit knackered. But I’m really enjoying it. It’s great to be back onstage with the girls.”
Sinead adds: “I’m tired today. At this point: Halfway through, the late nights and everything is kind of catching up with you. It’s been really, really good. I can’t really describe it actually, it’s just been really good.”
Touring the UK with lots of other pop stars might seem glamorous but Edele reveals it is not without its mishaps: “The bus broke down yesterday which was quite funny. We have this Big Reunion tour bus and all our faces are on it and it broke down so we got another bus and that broke down. It was the funniest thing we had to pull over and we were all sitting on this green chilling out and all these cars kept driving in and out of the service station thinking: ‘This is brilliant’. We were on show. It was hilarious. And then last night we played Glasgow and we got on the bus to go to the hotel and the bus wouldn’t start so we had to walk to the hotel. It was so funny.”
It is over a decade since we last saw them together as B*Witched, did the girls ever think they would reunite in such a way? “I would have said never,” answers Edele. “I didn’t see it. I just kind of felt like that was a part of my life I had finished with and put behind me. I’ll never say never again. You just don’t know what’s around the corner.”
It is just as surreal for Edele’s sister, Keavy: “I never thought it. I never thought I would get to do an arena tour again. This is awesome. I can’t believe we’re back on an arena stage.”
“I never imagined it would happen to this degree,” Lindsay reveals. “I always had a feeling that we would kind of reunite to do something but I wasn’t quite sure what. We have been approached a few times over the years to do gigs but it was never really the right offer or right time for us. It’s turned out so well and it’s been so successful and the feedback has been great and here we are doing this tour: It’s just beyond my wildest dreams really.”
Sinead adds: “Even though I’ve always felt we would at some point, when it does happen, it’s a bit surreal. The first few days definitely, it was just like: ‘What? Are we really doing this? It’s a bit like you’re having an out of body experience,” she says breaking into a laugh.
Their loyal fans are coming for the nostalgia but are the band also seeing new fans coming to their gigs? “Do you know what? Mostly, it’s the old fans and a lot of them are bringing their kids who would be of the age that would like that kind of music if it was released today,” says Edele. “There are some fans of an odd age, maybe around 14, that I’m thinking sometimes when I meet them: ‘How do you know? What are you doing here?’”
Last week, the world heard Love and Money, a great new song from the band with a whole new sound that has been received really well, already receiving over 30,000 hits on YouTube so far: “Really pleased,” says Keavy. “We went back in the studio and we’ve been writing songs and when Love and Money came about we thought: ‘This is a really good song, why don’t we see what kind of feedback we get and it’s been great feedback. Everybody seems to love it and people are tweeting about it all the time so we wanted to put the feelers out there about moving forward and so far, it’s positive.”
How would they feel about the song’s Kelly Clarkson comparisons? “We have had that reference which is quite a good reference to be fair,” Edele says simply. “Do you know what it is? We’re not even calling it a single. It’s just a song. We just said we’d actually put a song on YouTube just to get a vibe going, I guess.”
Lindsay adds: “I love that type of music. I’m probably inspired more by country rock [Lindsay was the lead singer of country band, Clayton in the band’s interim] but I do like pop rock as well and Taylor Swift and Kelly Clarkson and things like that. It just felt like, as a group, as B Witched, that would be quite suited to us because we are quite a dynamic band. Back in the day, our dynamic was very much in our performance and dance routines: Really, really hectic dance routines, really just high energy stage performances. I guess it’s just a grown up version of what we were.”
Love and Money is not like anything the band have done before and Keavy explains: “It was kind of the exciting bit and the nerve racking bit to be honest. Obviously The Big Reunion is all about nostalgia and that equals it is all about our old music, so we were kind of thinking: ‘Well, we’ve no idea how new music will be received because of that’, but people have been really receptive so we’re delighted.”
It has been hinted there could be a new album on the way and Keavy confirms the plans: “When we’ve finished the tour, we’ll go back in again and do some more songs.”
For the full feature, see the May 18 print edition of The Irish World.