Who Is Melanie Brown?
In 1994, Melanie Brown became "Scary Spice" in the all-girl, British pop group the Spice Girls. In 1998, Brown released her first single, "I Want You," with Missy Elliott, which reached No. 1 on the U.K. charts. She has also appeared in theater productions and feature films and hosted the Australian version of The X Factor. In 2013 she began appearing as a judge on America's Got Talent.
Early Life & Parents
Melanie Janine Brown, also known as "Mel B" and "Scary Spice," was born on May 29, 1975, in Harehills, Leeds, England. She was raised by her English mother, Andrea, and her Nevisian father, Martin, in Burley, Leeds. After studying performing arts at Intake High School in Leeds, Brown went on to become a songwriter, dancer, actress and author.
Brown started her music career after responding to an advertisement in The Stage magazine for an all-female pop act and recording deal. She sang "Greatest Love of All" at her audition and was chosen, along with Geri Halliwell, Victoria Beckham, Emma Bunton and Melanie Chisholm, to become a member of the Spice Girls.
The group 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. In November 1996, the Spice Girls released their debut album, Spice in Europe, which was enormously successful.
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 their 1998 No. 1 single. In August 2012, the group performed at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, held in London.
More reunion rumors surfaced in early 2018, first after Victoria Beckham posted a photo of the five of them together in February, and again a few weeks later after Mel B admitted that they had all been invited to the May 19th royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Brown finally confirmed that the latest reunion rumors were true during an appearance on Today in late June 2018. She brushed off a question about Beckham's claims that another tour would never happen, saying, "We are touring. Should I have really said that out loud? Yes, we are going to be doing performances together for sure."
Songs (Solo Career)
After the Spice Girls broke up in 1998, Brown pursued a solo career. Her first single, "I Want You," with Missy Elliott, sold 80,000 copies in the first week, giving Mel B a solo No. 1 on the U.K. singles chart. Hot, her debut solo album, was released in 2000, and produced three Top 5 singles. Her second album, L.A. State of Mind, was released in 2005, and included the single "Today." The album was considered a flop.
Television Work and Broadway
In 2002, Brown starred on the sitcom Burn It, and in 2003, she made her theater debut with The Vagina Monologues in London. She then went on to star as Mimi in the Broadway musical Rent. Brown has also appeared in feature films such as LD 50 and The Seat Filler, and hosted the television shows This Is My Moment, Top of the Pops, Access Hollywood, Dancing With the Stars and the Australian version of The X Factor.
Starting in 2013, Brown became a judge on America's Got Talent, joining Howie Mandel, Howard Stern and Heidi Klum on the judges' panel. In 2017, she starred in Chicago on Broadway, playing Roxie Hart.
In 2002 Brown released her autobiography, Catch a Fire, which chronicles her experiences as a Spice Girl and pop star. The book reached No. 7 on book sales charts. She also launched a signature fashion line, Catty Couture, and was contracted to be the face of Ultimo Underwear in the United Kingdom.
In 2018, a #MeToo moment for Brown became public with the resurfacing of a 4-year-old appearance on The Xtra Factor with X Factor judges Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole and Louis Walsh. Seated next to Walsh, who had his arm draped around her, Brown grew visibly uncomfortable as he began patting her butt and abruptly stopped the interview to ask what he was doing. Neither Brown nor Walsh offered an immediate comment about the reemergence of the footage.
Later that year, Brown announced that she had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and was entering rehab for alcohol and sex addiction. She said she elected for treatment after a rough six-month period spent writing her autobiography, which dredged up unhappy memories of her difficult marriage to Stephen Belafonte.
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