Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

Music Is My Saviour: Melanie C’s Favourite Albums

Melanie C guides Emma Garland through 13 favourite records in Bakers' Dozen stories from being blessed by Keith from the Prodigy to stage invading a Blur gig, with love for Madonna, Oasis, Fiona Apple and much more along the way

Melanie C has one of those high energy voices that transforms even the most mundane information into the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to anyone. When she hops on Zoom one fading evening in August after a day of working and parenting and declares “I’m bloody knackered!”, it sounds more like an iconic intro to a Spice Girls song about clocking off your nine-to-five to party. It rubs off on you, too. When she says “look!” and enthusiastically tilts the webcam to reveal a pile of jewel cases and CDs spread over the floor, dug out for the purpose of this interview, it feels like you’re beholding one of the Wonders of the World. “I’ve had a little bit of fun today,” she says, grinning.

Born to working class parents in Whiston, Lancashire, Melanie C stands out in the UK pop landscape for her kindness, wicked sense of humour and affinity for fearlessness – which are qualities she gravitates towards in other artists. Motown, rock & roll, trance, classical, Britpop, R&B – there’s nothing Melanie C isn’t interested in (it makes sense that she cites Madonna as her biggest influence). In turn, she’s an artist who has always straddled the mainstream and the underground, from selling multi-millions of albums that altered the course of pop forever with the Spice Girls to a solo career working with an eclectic mix of artists (Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes, Bryan Adams, Peter Aristone) and producers (William Orbit, Rick Ruben, Marius de Vries). Fast forward to 2020 and her eighth studio album, Melanie C, marks a return to floor-filling dance-pop full of collaborations with young UK artists like Shura, Nadia Rose, Little Boots, Rae Morris and the LGBTQ+ collective Sink The Pink – an approach that came about, in part, thanks to a moment of reflection during the Spice World 2019 Tour. 

“I think for all of us there was a realisation of the impact we’d had on a generation,” Melanie says. “That goes for our fans but also a lot of artists who were kids in the 90s. Working with someone like Shura was so fun. She’s so brilliant and a lovely northern girl; we have a similar background. Working with Nadia Rose, who’s also brilliant, was similar. Both girls are so different to each other and different to me, so to have everyone in their own lane just come together and create was really lovely. It’s like all these magical little things have fallen into place!”

Melanie C’s Baker’s Dozen traces a chronological journey from scratching her mum’s records in her childhood living room through to a darker adulthood. When I deviate and say I want to begin with the one that stood out the most, she lets out a loud, roaring cackle and points her two index fingers at me in a ‘gotcha’ move. “I KNEW YOU WERE GOING TO SAY THAT! I TOTALLY KNEW YOU WERE GOING TO SAY THAT!”

Melanie C is released via Red Girl Media on 2nd October, 2020. Click the picture below to begin reading her Baker’s Dozen selections

First Record

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