More than 23 years after the Spice Girls took over the world and arguably changed pop forever, Emma Bunton has suggested that their message was about more than just the music, and instead was a movement still being felt around the world.
Its a message weve always had – its not just the music, we are a movement, and we still pinch ourselves, she says, clearly understanding the power and the impact she and the other four girls have had on fans.
Acknowledging that she, Melanie Brown, Melanie Chisholm, Victoria Beckham and Geri Horner are normal people and make mistakes and cant therefore take on too much pressure, Emma has also come to recognise that she is in what she calls an extraordinary position.
When our fans say “you dont understand what youve done for me” or “you dont understand because youre all so different I felt like I fitted in”… its never normal to hear those things because its extraordinary and I always feel liberated by that and thank Goodness, it feels special, she says.
At 43, Emma still maintain that winning smile that your parents trusted and the glint in her eye that told you that she could lend you an ear but also take you on your wildest night out.
But amid the ongoing furore surrounding her Spice Girls family and Mel B and Geris did-they-didnt-they have sex scandal, Emma is doing her own thing and concentrating on what the girls always set out to do rather than focus on the headlines.
After all, there have been, as Emma says, too many stories over the years for her to pick the craziest.
Its been just over 12 years since Emma released her last studio album, 2006s Life In Mono, and she admits to nerves before heading back into the studio before suggesting perhaps it wasnt nerves but not knowing if it was something that was right.
What was right though was the decision to head back out on tour with the Spice Girls, seven years after their famous reunion at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Tickets went on sale on 10 November and were sold out in minutes, causing sites such as Ticketmaster to crash and leaving many fans disappointed.
But although Emma cant – or wont – spill the beans (the girls would kill me!) or even offer any clues as to whether well see her in a baby doll dress and pigtails, she does promise loads of fun and energy and believes that the tour will bring people together at a time when divisions run high.
Its so hard at the moment as everyone is divided and weve all got different opinions but when we put these tickets on sale… it was like having a gathering, and everyone is coming together, and there will be Mums and Dads and kids and it will be so lovely.
The question on everyones lips of course is if Victoria Beckham will make an appearance and Emma insists there will be no surprise cameo and that the girls now feel very comfortable as a four and we feel we have created the show as a four-piece – but she pauses when I ask if we may hear some of her new album on the tour.
I think we will be too ram packed with songs for fans and the Spice songs… if we miss any Spice Girls songs, she eventually says.
When I suggest that their solo singles are perhaps also songs for Spice fans, she admits that things are probably going to change during rehearsals which were due to begin on 11 April.
Things are changing all the time, she adds, weve created the show and set lists and working on music but things can change.
The Spice Girls are, says Emma, so supportive of her new music, and have all heard the album – Geris favourite is a duet with Jade – but they didnt have any input in the album even thought she was working on it at the same time as planning the upcoming reunion tour.
Her original motivation was to record a song that her 12-year-old son, Beau, was born to but soon she had the bug again and one song became two became three – and soon she found herself writing again.
It was such a natural thing to do, she says.
I just started recording songs that I love; a Norah Jones song that Jade and I fell in love to, and then Dont Call Me Baby which I have loved, and always thought “shit why didnt I write that?” – so tongue in cheek, obviously – but just a brilliant fun song I love, she laughs.
Then I started writing which, again, I was nervous about, as it is very personal thing and you dont know how it is going to work out but I am very happy.
The Baby nickname has stuck with Emma over the years but she insists that she feels lucky to have the name.
I was the youngest, I loved pink and didnt care who knew it, I was close to my mum and the girls looked after me but I also had a voice, and I could do what I wanted, she says.
I was business-led but just because I had pigtails in and a baby doll dress didnt mean I had nothing to say.
The chosen 10 songs on the album include three songs written by Emma – including a cover of the Spice Girls 2 Become 1 with Robbie Williams – as well as songs by Dusty Springfield and The Beatles, and three duets with Robbie, Will Young – and Jade, who she admits she was unable to keep her hands off when they hit the booth.
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