One of the most iconic members of the Spice Girls, the best-selling girl group of all time, is Emma Bunton, also known as Baby Spice. She was only 18 years old when she joined the group in 1994 after auditioning for a magazine ad. With her blonde pigtails, pink outfits and babydoll dresses, she brought a cute and innocent charm to the group.
But Emma was more than just a pretty face. She also had a beautiful voice that stood out among her fellow Spice Girls. Her voice was sweet, soft and angelic, but also powerful and expressive when needed. She could sing high notes with ease and add emotion to any song. Ballads such as “2 Become 1”, “Viva Forever” and “Goodbye”, where she sang lead vocals or harmonised with her bandmates, were especially suited for her voice. She also shone on upbeat songs like “Stop”, “Who Do You Think You Are” and “Spice Up Your Life”, where she added a playful and bubbly touch.
Her voice was not only appreciated by fans, but also by critics and peers. She appeared on ELLE’s Song Association series in 2018, where she sang snippets of songs by various artists such as Whitney Houston, New Edition and Adele. She impressed viewers with her vocal range, accuracy and versatility. She also proved her vocal skills as a solo artist after the Spice Girls went on hiatus in 2000.
Emma started her solo career in 1999 with a collaboration with Tin Tin Out, an electronic music duo. They recorded a cover version of “What I Am”, a song originally released by Edie Brickell & New Bohemians. The song was a pop-rock track that had a catchy chorus and a guitar riff. It showcased Emma’s raspy vocals, which were different from her sweet and girly voice in the Spice Girls. The song was released as the second single from Tin Tin Out’s album Eleven to Fly and later appeared on Emma’s debut album A Girl Like Me. The song was a hit in the UK, reaching number two on the UK Singles Chart and becoming Emma’s first solo top-ten hit. The video for the song featured Emma singing in front of various backgrounds and wearing different outfits.
Between 2001 and 2019, she released four studio albums: A Girl Like Me, Free Me, Life in Mono and My Happy Place. Her solo style was more pop-oriented than her Spice Girls work, but she also experimented with different genres such as R&B, soul, jazz and country. Some critics regard some of her solo tracks as being cheesy, but they stand the test of time because they showcase her voice in different ways.
Emma made her solo debut in 2001 with A Girl Like Me. The album’s first single was “What Took You So Long?”, a pop-rock anthem that she co-wrote with some of the Spice Girls’ collaborators, such as Richard Stannard and Julian Gallagher. The song was about being impatient for love and had a catchy chorus that stuck in your head. It was a huge hit for Emma, reaching number one on the UK Singles Chart for two weeks and becoming her first solo chart-topper. It also did well in other markets, such as Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and Norway. The video showed Emma having fun in the desert with her beau. She performed the song live at various occasions, such as the Pepsi Silver Clef Concert in 2003.
Her second single “Maybe”, from her second album Free Me, was a retro-inspired pop song that showcased her smooth and sultry vocals. Her third album Life in Mono featured a cover of “Downtown” by Petula Clark, which was a cheerful and upbeat song that displayed her bright and clear vocals. Her fourth album My Happy Place included duets with artists such as Robbie Williams, Will Young and Josh Kumra, which demonstrated her ability to blend and harmonise with different voices.
Emma Bunton is not only a Spice Girl, but also a talented singer who has a distinctive and versatile voice. She deserves far more recognition and appreciation for her vocal contributions to the music industry. She is a great example of an artist who managed to leave a successful group and have a successful solo career. She proved that she had talent, versatility, and charisma to stand on her own. She also maintained a good relationship with her former bandmates and reunited with them several times.
However, not every artist who leaves a group can achieve solo success. Some artists may struggle to find their own identity, style, or audience after leaving their group. They may also face competition from other solo artists or new groups. Some examples of artists who left their bands for unsuccessful solo careers are Freddie Mercury, who left Queen but failed to match their popularity; Geri Halliwell, who left the Spice Girls but could not sustain her initial success; and Zayn Malik, who left One Direction but faced criticism and controversy.
Leaving a group is a risky move for any artist. It can either lead to more fame and fortune or obscurity and failure. It depends on many factors, such as talent, timing, luck, and fan support. Emma Bunton was one of the lucky ones who made it work. She showed that she was more than just Baby Spice.