Do you know your “Zig-a-Zig-ah” from your Bootylicious? Do you fondly recall the days when low slung khaki cargo pants were the must-have for teenage women everywhere?From TLC to The Spice Girls, the 1990s were a heady time for all-girl bands that not only pushed boundaries and crossed genres. And although there was plenty of bubblegum and fun, some artists – like The Dixie Chicks – were part of serious feminist movements or political statements that would come to dominate aspects of their careers.
Most of those super attractive and (sometimes) talented groups saw a quick rise to fame in the heyday of the girl group, and disappeared into obscurity just as fast. So what became of them? Where are they now, and what are they doing? Read on to rediscover your youth and find out what became of those once-familiar bright young things.
14. All Saints
British Band All Saints – comprising Shaznay Lewis, Melanie Blatt, and sisters Nicole and Natalie Appleton – rose to international fame with their single Pure Shores, which was featured on the soundtrack of cult hit film The Beach. The band followed a steady course of international success, but not without their own personal tragedies and set backs. One of the band’s original members, Simone Rainford, passed away from kidney cancer in 2013.
Since the band broke up (and got back together… and broke up again) Melanie Blatt recorded a solo album in 2005 and is currently a host on X Factor New Zealand. Sisters Natalie and Nicole Appleton dated and married Oasis brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher, though Nicole later dropped Liam for fathering a child outside of the relationship. The Appleton sisters still appear in a heady mix of reality TV and talent shows.
Shaznay Lewis also joined a recent reunion of the band, and had a brief part in the hit film Bend it like Beckham. She maintained her musical roots with arguably the greatest success, as a songwriter for various other high-profile bands.
This year, All Saints have stated that they’re working on new material to release in 2015.
13. The Sugababes
This girl band flipped and changed their members with a notorious frequency, right up until their official breakup. The original line up included: Mutya, Keisha and Siobhan, then it was Heidi, Amelle and Keisha. The band called it quits finally in 2013, but not before the original line up had achieved international success individually. Siobhan had a reputable solo career, Amelle is said to be releasing a debut solo album in 2015. Former member Jade Ewen appeared on Saturday Night Live to positive reception and is also said to be working on solo material. Heidi has been the most active, cashing in on a host of reality TV shows such as Dancing on Ice and Celebrity Masterchef. Heidi has also moved on to a career in musical theater, appearing at a lead in Happy Days.
12. Spice Girls
The infamous Ginger, Scary, Posh and Sporty spices (Geri Halliwell, Melanie Chisholm, Melanie Brown, Emma Bunton and Victoria Beckham) were formed originally way back when in 1994, and had a cult following across the world. Their demise arguable began with Ginger Spice’s departure to launch a solo career, although the Girls still remained intact long enough to release one last album entitled Forever in 2000 (before their official split that same year). All members attempted solo careers to various degrees of success and reunited in 2012 to perform at the closing ceremony of The Olympics.
Victoria Beckham achieved the most significant success, turning herself from a pop starlet, to footballer’s wife, to hugely successful fashion designer. Melanie Brown hit headlines in the mid-2000s when she had a child with Eddie Murphy, who denied the child until DNA tests proved his paternity. Brown had her own reality TV show called Mel B: It’s a Scary World and has gone on to work as a radio DJ in Sydney, on Australian show: Breakfast. Melanie Chisholm had a somewhat successful career releasing the well known hit When You’re Gone with aging pop star Brian Adams in 2007. She has appeared in musical theatre on the West End, is known for her commitment to charity work and has traveled to Africa to support charities that provide clean drinking water to the world’s poorest. Emma Bunton is now a radio host in the UK and has appeared on TV reality show Strictly Come Dancing. Geri Halliwell was a judge on Australia’s Got Talent, where she also debuted a new single (after a ten year hiatus), to negative reviews. It has been said she has now quit music.
11. Destiny’s Child
Originally Girls Tyme, Desinty’s Child were originally formed in 1990, managed by Beyonce’s father. The last line up before their split was Kelly Roland, Beyonce Knowles, and Michele Williams. The group enjoyed international success with hit singles such as Survivor and Bootylicious. The group’s official split date was 2006, though the girls performed together again in 2013 at The Super Bowl Half Time.
The most successful star to break out of the 90s girl group world, Beyonce has gone on to achieve untold success since the group dissipated, with a musical empire, a superstar husband, sell out tours and a new feminist icon status to boot. Rowland has also met with considerable success in her solo career, and she has recently begun recording her fifth solo album. Michelle Williams also continues to create and record music, and her new single Say Yes features both Kelly Rowland and Beyonce. Despite rumors of jealousy and domineering personalities in the Knowles family, the trio remain friends.
Who can forget Waterfalls, the iconic TLC single that was a mega hit across the globe in the late 1990s? This R&B act had a string of other hits including No Scrubs and Creep but the band faced a number of personal challenges during their time in the limelight, from bankruptcy to the death of Lisa “Left eye” Lopes in 2002. “Chilli” and “T-Boz” are still active, and performed at the Super Bowl Blitz just this year, reportedly using Lopes’ vocals. The two are currently working on a new album.
As regards the particulars of the members: Rhonda “Chilli” Thomas was featured on Rachel vs Guy: Celebrity Cook Off. Rhonda is also a successful purse designer with her own line across stores in the USA. Tione “T-Boz” Watkins unfortunately suffered serious health problems, with sickle cell anemia in 2002 and a brain tumor in 2009. This did not stop her however from being executive producer on the TLC Biopic Crazy Sexy Cool: The TLC Story which aired in October this year, and from working on a new TLC album that is said to be recorded this year and early next year.
9. Alisha’s Attic
This sister duo (Shelly and Karen Poole), chose their imaginary childhood friend Alisha as the name of their band. They rose to fame in the UK in the 1990s and 2000s to great critical and commercial acclaim. Their debut album, Alisha Rules The World, led to a 1997 Brit award nomination and they were nominated for an Ivor Novello award that same year. Their single I Am, I Feel was a top 20 hit in the UK. They made the critically acclaimed album The House We Built with producer Bill Botrell, from which two singles, Pretender Got My Heart and Push It All Aside were featured in award winning videos by Sophie Muller. They had several other success before their split in 2003.
Both artists stayed with their publishers and became successful song writers for other artists, which they continue to maintain today. Shelly has written for the likes of Kylie Minogue, Will Young, Janet Jackson, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Liberty X and The Sugababes. She is also reportedly about to release a second solo album.
8. Atomic Kitten
Ten years after their split, the original line up of Atomic Kitten reunited on the UK TV show The Big Reunion this year, with Kerry Katona, Natasha Hamilton and Liz McClarnon confirming details of the bands early years.
The band’s debut album Right Now originally peaked at a disappointing 29 in the UK charts and after only 4 top ten singles Kerry Katona quit the band. She was soon replaced by Jenny Frost, and their next single Whole Again became their best selling single of 2000. Their album was re-released in the UK and went platinum, selling over 600,000 in the UK. Two additional albums were released by the group, Feels so Good (which also went platinum in the UK) and Ladies Night.
After Hamilton fell pregnant and refused to tour with the band, they split in 2004 – arguably at the height of their success. After appearing on British TV the band has reunited and plan to release a new album in 2015.
The first band member to leave, Kerry Katona, was scorned by press due to several failed romances, alcohol addiction and a penchant for laying her life bear on reality TV. The original band members ventured into TV presenting, reality television and the pantomime circuit after the breakup.
At the top of this British Girl group’s career they were the first female girl group to sell over one million copies of their album in the UK – but the band also suffered enormous set backs that ultimately led to their downfall and split.
The original line up included Louise Redknapp with sisters Easther and Vernie Bennett. Louise was replaced by Kelle Bryan in 1995, and went on to pursue a solo career as a singer and TV presenter Although the band had a number one album Always and Forever the band suffered from racism during their spell in the limelight. In addition, a rift developed between Kelle and the Bennett sisters.
By 1998 things had taken a turn for the worse with Kelle recording her vocals for the band in isolation from the others. Eventually she left the group and they continued as a duo until 2000.
Kelle Bryan had some success with a single Higher than Heaven in 1999 but her debut solo album was never released. She went on to launch her own Artist Management company. Esther Bennett recorded and released a string of cover songs in the UK charts to some success and has written for various UK bands such as Atomic Kitten. Her sister Vernie chose to step out of the limelight to finish her studies in law.
In 2013 the band reunited for the British TV show The Big Reunion; it was, reportedly, the first time the band as a trio had spoken in 15 years.
Cleopatra was a girl group from the UK consisting of sisters Yonnah, Zainam, and Cleopatra Higgins. They featured on a British kids’ TV show and their debut single Comin’ At Ya hit the UK charts at number 3 and the Billboard hot 100 at No 26. The had marginal success with their next three singles, a cover of Jackson Fives I Want You Back and Thank Abba For The Music.
Cleopatra supported the Spice Girls on tour and they performed at a Vatican Christmas concert. Changes within Warner music, however, led to a failure to appropriately promote Cleopatra’s single Come And Get Me and their album was pushed back for release. Warner showed interest in signing Cleopatra Higgins as a solo artist which promptly led to the whole band parting ways with the label.
In 2005 the band came together for a one off performance on UK TV show Hit Me Baby, One More Time but by 2013 the band had yet to release any new music. Cleo Higgins tried to reignite her career by competing in The Voice UK, but was voted off the show after the semi finals.
This Irish four piece band included twin sisters Edel and Keavy Lynch, Lindsay Armaou, and Sinead O’Connell. They topped the charts with their albums internationally in the 90s. All their singles made the top 20 in the UK and the band were helped by Edel and Keavy’s famous brother Shane (part of the boy band Boyzone) to sign to Epic Records in 1998. Although having sold over a million records, B*witched were dropped by their record company in 2002. O’Connell also decided to leave the group and the band later split up in 2006.
That same year the twins formed a new group, The Lynch Sisters, while Armaou worked on her own solo material before joining the new band Clayton in 2003. Keavy Lynch formed a production and song writing company called Ziiiing. Sinead O’Connell went on to manage the girl group Minx in the UK until 2004 when she established her own performing arts academy.
In 2012 B*witched reunited as a result of the UK TV show The Big Reunion. Due to the success of the show and the demand for new songs, the show took the girls on a UK tour in 2013. Their new single in May 2013 entitled Love is Money was a success and led to the increased support of their fan base, which led to a recent announcement that the group has properly reformed and is set to be releasing new material in 2014/2015.
4. En Vogue
This R&B powerhouse (Dawn Robertson, Terri and Cindy Herron and Maxine Jones) was responsible for some pretty major hits in the 1990s. After forming in 1989, they produced My Loving (You Never Gonna Get It), Hold On and Free Your Mind. Even though the group lasted for almost 23 years, by 2012 Dawn Robertson had left amidst a host of legal concerns and battles by some of the other members. Due to the major legal battle, Robertson was unable to comment on the break up of the group for many years, but later suggested that the legal constraints put on her were too much, leading to potential injustice.
Both Maxine and Dawn were sued by the other two members, Terri and Cindy Herron, over the use of the band’s name plus $1 Million in damages in 2012. They claimed that the two were illegally touring under the band’s name although they had broken up, and were making considerable and unshared profits. The judge later sided with Cindy and Terri and Dawn and Maxine were ordered to pay the others their share. Robertson went on to become a front woman for another R&B group, Lucy Pearl and the trio continued to perform under a new name EV3, until their eventual split in 2012. Robertson later returned to the group and they are now said to be recording a new studio album to be released in 2015.
M2M was a pop duo formed by Marion Elise Raven and Marit Elisabeth Larsen. They released three albums with Warner Music Norway and were signed to Atlantic records in 1998. The duos’ first single Don’t Say You Love Me appeared in 1999 and was helped to success by being featured in Pokemon: The Movie. The duo released their first album in 2000 and toured with pop act Hanson that same year. In 2002 the group released a second album with a distinctly different sound, more mature and less pop driven. Singles from the album were played on hit TV show Dawson’s Creek.
Whilst on tour with Jewel, M2M were dropped by their record label citing lack of record sales, (though the group had sold well in Asian countries, Australia and Norway). Shortly after the group parted ways, Marion Raven was immediately signed as a solo act whilst Marit went to finish high school. Marion released three songs in 2005 and toured Latin America and Europe. In 2006 Marit performed live on NRK and her debut album went platinum in Norway. Both singers still perform and record under their own names.
2. Babes in Toyland
This band (Kat Bjelland, Lori Barbero and Maureen Herman) was formed in 1987 by Kat Bjelland and rose to serious critical acclaim in the 90s before splitting in 2001. At their height, the band released three albums, before becoming inactive in 1997. The band lost their contract with their record company in 1996 and by 1997 were constantly breaking up and reforming. Bjelland later formed a new band Katastrophy Wife and almost straight afterwards released one record, All Kneel, before taking a break from the music industry all together. In 2001 the band performed a reunion show, cited at the last official show ever.
Bjelland then laid low for ten years, rarely performing live and raising a family. However, she did continue to write songs and it’s likely that she will release an EP next year. Kat Bjelland and Maureen Herman also confirmed this summer that that they were getting back together to write new material and play shows.
1. The Dixie Chicks
The Dixie Chicks was formed in Dallas Texas in 1989 by Martie Erwin Maguire and Emily Erwin Robison, and lead singer Natalie Maines. Originally intending to be an entirely bluegrass band they in fact achieved a great crossover in style, from pop to dance and beyond. The band is still going strong and releasing new material.
In 2008 the band went on hiatus for a couple of years to spend time with their young families, but they soon reformed. As of 2014, the band has won 13 Grammy Awards, and sold 30.5 million albums worldwide. Dixie Chicks have caused controversy for their political standpoints in not supporting the USA war in Iraq. Whilst performing on tour, Maines made a statement that she ‘did not support this war’ which led to numerous boycotts against the band by conservative leaders in the USA, as well as to various threats against Maines. Whilst her statements increased support for the band elsewhere across the world (noticeably in the UK). The band refused to recant, releasing new music to back their previous political standpoints.