By David Hennessy
While rumours are rife that S Club 7 could be the latest pop group from the 90s/2000s to make a comeback, the band’s Tina Barrett is busier doing her own thing. Her new single Makin’ Me Dance is a catchy dance track that is accompanied by a slick video with an album to follow.
Coming a full ten years since S Club 7 broke up, Tina tells The Irish World: “Releasing something off the back off S Club would have been probably the normal way to have done it. It’s been such a long time coming but I’ve been kind of working away in the studio since the band split and now I’ve got some material I’m really happy with.”
Now signed to S.O.I. Records, Tina has built up momentum for her album from square one, releasing the single Fire last year all by herself: “I didn’t have any backing whatsoever and so it was a really small campaign because I was funding it myself and it was all pulling a lot of favours. I just did a little bit on Twitter with the fans and I didn’t realise that a few kind of big websites would have picked it up so it got a lot bigger than I thought it would which obviously gave me a little bit more encouragement to get an album together and do it properly.
“I almost wish that twitter had been around when S Club was at its height because I think artists have so much more power over their image and brand because of Twitter, they really do. They can almost do their own PR. It does give the artist a bit more control over getting seen because with YouTube and technology, you can do a lot yourself.”
After bursting onto the scene in 1999, S Club 7 took the world by storm, selling an incredible 60 million records worldwide, topping the charts with eleven Top 5 hits, a No1 UK album, five sell-out UK arena tours and a string of hits throughout Europe, USA, Asia, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand and Africa. In addition to this, the band had an award winning kids’ TV show, which aired in 133 countries, plus four TV movies and a box-office film, Seeing Double. Hits like Reach, Don’t Stop Movin’ and S Club Party are just some of their best known hits.
So are we going to see an S Club reunion? “We have all been talking about it, all seven of us and Simon Fuller (the svengali behind S Club and also The Spice Girls) and we’ve sort of been thinking: It would be nice to do something really special for the fans. At the minute everyone’s getting back together from our era. We are all so amazed people still remember us so we probably will do something next year. Nothing’s been green-lit but we’re definitely talking about it.”
Promoting her new solo music has been eye opening for Tina in that, too busy to fully recognise it at the time, she can now appreciates how successful the group was: “When we were at our height, we kind of didn’t realise how big we were. I’ve been doing a bit of promo for the record and hearing all the stats of S Club, I was like: ‘Oh my God, I didn’t even realise…’ Apparently we had 90 million viewers worldwide for the TV show! We were just always on a plane so we were just tired all the time but it was fun.”
S Club were much more than your normal pop group and had much more to deal with. Starring in series like Miami 7 and LA 7, they were also TV stars and split their time between the UK and America: “I think the thing that made it such a whirlwind was the fact that when we weren’t promoting a record, we were in LA shooting our TV show so we literally didn’t have any time off. When I see all the pop acts now and they’re all at parties or on a night out being papped, I’m thinking: ‘We never had a night off’. I think we were the hardest working band ever because of the TV show. It was crazy but it was a lot of fun though.”
If the overnight success came as a shock, was there also a massive adjustment when the band came to an end in 2003? “You can get a bit of the post-band blues. Everyone asks: ‘What are you doing?’ And you’re like: ‘I don’t know’. Even though you’re out of the band, people still know who you are and know all about you. What it was like in the band, that wasn’t normal. That was something else but I think it’s just so hard to make it in this industry. It is a blessing but it can be tough as well so it’s both sides and leaving something like that, you have to feel something. You would be a robot if you didn’t. I think I’m okay but I know some people go through a lot worse psychologically and I can see why. It’s not all doom and gloom. I sound like The Big Reunion now: ‘Everyday was a struggle..’ It’s not that bad.
“It’s gonna be mad doing stuff with the guys again. When we get together, it’s just madness. We just had this mad energy when we were younger and it’s still exactly the same. Everyone still just makes everyone laugh. It doesn’t feel like that long ago even though it is. It is crazy how times change and everything’s changed and we’re still the same craziness. I’m looking forward to doing what we do, if we do it.”
Half Guyanese Tina tells The Irish World of her delight at talking to us as she has family in Cork: “One of my first jobs was in Ireland. I did a panto in the Belfast Opera House Mother Goose when I was 16. That was a lot of fun. It was really good because a lot of the cast were from London and so we stayed in Belfast for Christmas, basically one big family. It was really nice.”
Tina will soon return to the stage playing the lead role in Beauty and the Beast at Pomegranate Theatre, Chesterfield. Jon Moses of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Superstar reality TV show. This is the perfect role for Tina with her dance, music and acting background: “I’m really looking forward to doing some theatre. I totally miss doing theatre, I’m dying to do some performing. I did a bit of theatre before the band so it’s nice to perform again onstage with actors.”
Her forthcoming single and album, both called Woman, are eagerly awaited. Written by Tina herself, she describes it as a very personal record: “I’ve written all the tracks so people will see a different side to me because I guess people think of me as the TV show character because we always said ‘that’s how we are, we’re playing ourselves’. I’m nothing like the character on the TV show, I don’t boss everyone around all the time and I’m not even that bossy. I’m quite laid back so everyone thinks I’m this bossy cow, it’s tough but I don’t mind. I’ve written the lyrics and the melody and I’ve been working with different producers. This record is from me. It’s not just ‘get a cool person to write it for me’. It’s me so hopefully people like it. I’m really excited.”
With solo work, stage work and a possible band reunion to look forward to, Tina has a lot on her plate: “Yeah, that should keep me out of trouble,” she laughs.
For the full interview, see the November 16 Irish World
The single Makin’ Me Dance is out now. The video can be seen here:
For more information, go to: http://www.officialtinabarrett.com/. You can follow Tina on Twitter @realtinab1.