Multitalented singer, actress, and television personality Melanie Janine Brown also popularly known as Mel B will be turning 47 on May 29th. The talented English singer has been an extremely pivotal figure in pop culture and music for over a decade and has become one of the most influential black women in British history. She rose to fame in the 1990s as a member of the popular girl group Spice Girls, where she was nicknamed Scary Spice.
Her success with the Spice Girls started her career and it skyrocketed ever since. With over 100 million records sold worldwide, the group became the best-selling female group of all time. During her time with the Spice Girls, the band received 149 nominations for notable awards including Brit Awards, American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, and many more. The Spice Girls not only impacted the music world with their music but the fashion scene as well. From leopard print catsuits, streaky highlights, and platforms, the Spice Girls were trendsetters with their unique and innovative fashion.
Mel B 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 influential girl 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 and they quickly became a household name around the world.
In December 2000, the group announced an indefinite hiatus, and during that period the group took time to focus on their solo careers. Brown pursued a solo career and on October 9, 2000, Mel B debuted her first album as a solo artist named Hot, which peaked at number twenty-eight in the United Kingdom and sold over 60,000 copies. 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. Throughout Mel B’s career she emphasized the importance of Girl power and activism through her music.
“It’s all about believing in yourself , no matter how bad a day you’re having, and lending your support to other women. It’s empowering to have that camaraderie with other women.” – Mel B
Throughout Brown’s career, she ventured outside of music and judged on television shows such as X-Factor and America’s Got Talent. She now has two daughters and enjoys her time being a mom, she said “I’ve always said that kids should enhance your life, not hinder your life, so I just try to make the most out of being with my kids. You have to have a life for yourself somewhere in the mix of being a wife and mom.” Brown is influential for a variety of reasons. Throughout her career, she was always seen embracing her afro and natural hair and represented women of color on a larger scale as well as embraced women’s empowerment and feminism through her music. Mel B is an inspiration to so many and her talent still shines today.
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