Melanie Chisholm

Melanie Chisholm Biography

Singer (1974–)
Melanie Chisholm, also known as "Sporty Spice" and "Mel C," became famous in the mid-1990s with the all-girl British pop group the Spice Girls.


Melanie Chisholm was born on January 12, 1974 in Whiston, Merseyside, England. In 1994, she became "Sporty Spice" in the all-girl British pop group the Spice Girls. In 1999, Chisholm released her first single, "When You're Gone," which reached number three on the U.K. charts. Chisholm was nominated for a "Best Actress" Laurence Olivier Award for her role in Blood Brothers.

Early Life

Melanie Jayne Chisholm was born on January 12, 1974 in Whiston, Merseyside, England. Her mother, Joan, was a singer in a rock band, and her father, Alan, organized travel for the Liverpool Football Club. They divorced when Chisholm was three. From a young age, Chisholm trained in ballet and karate, and at 16 she was accepted at The Doreen Bird Dance School in Kent, where she trained for three years and emerged with a qualification to teach ballet.

Commercial Success

In 1994, Chisholm answered an ad in The Stage magazine looking for members for a new girl band. After almost missing her audition due to tonsillitis, Chisholm was chosen, along with Victoria Beckham, Melanie Brown, Emma Bunton and Geri Halliwell, to become a member of the British all-girl pop group the Spice Girls. The girls signed with Virgin Records in September 1995 and released their debut single, "Wannabe," in 1996, which hit No. 1 in more than 30 countries and instituted them as a global phenomenon. The song became the biggest-selling single by an all-female group of all time. In November 1996, the Spice Girls released their debut album, Spice, in Europe, and it was enormously successful. Chisholm, or "Sporty Spice," was known for performing back flips across the stage, and was also considered the best singer of the five.

After drifting apart in the late '90s to pursue other projects, the Spice Girls reunited for a series of concerts in 2007 and 2008. In June 2012, the group reunited again, this time to announce the creation of a new musical about the rise and fall of the Spice Girls. Viva Forever!, named after the group's 1998 No. 1 single, is slated to open in London by the end of 2012. In August 2012, the Spice Girls, including Chisholm, performed at the closing ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, which were held in London.

Solo Career

Chisholm's first solo undertaking was a duet with Canadian rock artist Bryan Adams. Their single, "When You're Gone," reached the top three in the U.K. Her first solo album, Northern Star, was released in 1999 and was certified triple platinum in the U.K. The single "Never Be the Same" reached number one on the U.K. charts, giving Chisholm her first No. 1 as a solo artist.

Chisholm released her second album, Reason, in March 2003. After a disappointing U.K. chart position, Chisholm was dropped by Virgin Records. In 2004, she set up her own record company, Red Girl Records, named after the team color of the Liverpool Football Club. In April 2005, Chisholm released her third album, Beautiful Intentions. The album was highly successful in Europe and was certified gold in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and platinum in Portugal. The single "First Day of My Life" became one of the best-selling European singles of 2005.

Chisholm also began to pursue a serious acting career, and in 2009 she performed the role of Mrs. Johnstone in the musical Blood Brothers in London's West End. Chisholm was nominated for a "Best Actress" Laurence Olivier Award for her role.

Personal Life

During her time with the Spice Girls, Chisholm struggled with eating disorders and clinical depression. She has said that she was fueled by adrenaline and a need to maintain her public image, and that she remembers being hungry "all the time." After the Spice Girls broke up and Chisholm began pursuing her solo career, she sought help, and now has a much healthier attitude toward eating and exercise.

Chisholm has been in a serious relationship with property developer Thomas Starr since 2002. Their daughter, Scarlet Starr, was born on February 22, 2009.

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