Mel B

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Mel B
Melanie B 2012.jpg
Brown in Sydney, Australia on 30 March 2012
Background information
Birth nameMelanie Janine Brown
Also known as
  • Melanie B
  • Melanie Brown
  • Scary Spice
Born(1975-05-29) 29 May 1975 (age 38)
Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom
  • Recording artist
  • songwriter
  • actress
  • television presenter
  • author
  • dancer
  • model
Years active1994–present
Associated acts
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Mel B
Melanie B 2012.jpg
Brown in Sydney, Australia on 30 March 2012
Background information
Birth nameMelanie Janine Brown
Also known as
  • Melanie B
  • Melanie Brown
  • Scary Spice
Born(1975-05-29) 29 May 1975 (age 38)
Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom
  • Recording artist
  • songwriter
  • actress
  • television presenter
  • author
  • dancer
  • model
Years active1994–present
Associated acts

Melanie Janine Brown (born 29 May 1975),[1][2] better known as Mel B or Melanie B, is an English R&B and pop recording artist, songwriter, dancer, actress, author, television presenter and model. Brown rose to fame as a member of the girl group the Spice Girls, in which she was famously known as "Scary Spice". She is known as Mel B in order to distinguish her from her Spice Girls bandmate Melanie C.

The Spice Girls signed to Virgin Records and in 1996 they released their debut single, "Wannabe", which hit number one in more than 30 countries and helped establish the group as a "global phenomenon". It was followed by their debut album, Spice, which sold more than 28 million copies worldwide,[3][4] becoming the best-selling album by a female group in music history. The band's second album, Spiceworld, went on to sell over 20 million copies world wide.[5] As of 2013, the Spice Girls have sold over 75 million albums worldwide, making them the biggest selling female group in history and also one of the best-selling music artists in the world.[6] Brown is also known for supporting Girl Power and their global earlier tours grossed an estimated at $500–800 million between 1996 and 2001.[7] The Return of the Spice Girls was the band's comeback tour in 2007-2008 and is said to have grossed US$200 million and won the Billboard 2008 Touring Award. Brown net worth as of July 2013 is estimated to be around $85million.[8]

Brown began her solo career when she released "I Want You Back" with Missy Elliott on Virgin Records. The single charted at number 1 on the UK Singles Chart, followed by the release of her debut album, Hot. The album also saw release of 4 top 10 singles "Tell Me" and "Feels So Good". L.A. State of Mind was Brown's second studio album, released in 2005 on the independent label Amber Café, and saw the release of only one single—"Today". In mid-2012, Brown announced a return to her solo recording career with the release of her third studio album by signing with EMI Music Australia. The scope of the deal with EMI office includes concessions for global partnering with EMI.

Brown returned to television in 2011 when she joined the judging panel of the Australian version of The X Factor where she sat alongside Ronan Keating, Guy Sebastian and Natalie Bassingthwaighte. She later became the co-presenter of the Australian version of Dancing with the Stars. It was later announced that Brown would appear as a guest judge on the UK's version of The X Factor after a replacement for Kelly Rowland had not yet been found. In February 2013, it was announced that Brown was hired as a judge on the variety talent show America's Got Talent, replacing Sharon Osbourne.

Early life[edit]

Brown was born in Harehills, Leeds, England, to an English mother, Andrea, and a Nevisian father, Martin,[9] and grew up in Burley, Leeds, West Yorkshire. She has a younger sister named Danielle,[9] who is an actress.

Brown studied performing arts at Intake High School, in Leeds, before entering the entertainment industry.[10] For a time, she worked as a dancer in the holiday resort, Blackpool, Lancashire.[10] After seeing an advertisement for an audition in a newspaper, Brown started her music career in a band known as Touch. The group left the original management team and eventually teamed up with music manager Simon Fuller. In this pairing, she and the other girls became known as the Spice Girls.

Musical career[edit]

1994–99: Spice Girls[edit]

"WANTED: R.U. 18–23 with the ability to sing/dance? R.U. streetwise, outgoing, ambitious, and dedicated? Heart Management Ltd. are a widely successful music industry management consortium currently forming a choreographed, singing/dancing, all-female pop act for a recording deal. Open audition. Danceworks, 16 Balderton Street. Friday 4 March. 11 am-5:30 pm. Please bring sheet music or backing cassette"

—Heart Management Ltd.[11]

Brown, along with Melanie Chisholm, Geri Halliwell, Emma Bunton, and Victoria Adams responded to an advertisement in The Stage magazine.[11] Around about 400 women who answered the ad went to Dance Works studios. At Brown's audition she sang "Greatest Love of All".[12] Brown, Chisholm (who did not attend), Adams, and a few others got a callback. The group felt insecure about the lack of a contract and was frustrated by the direction in which Heart Management was steering them. In October 1994, armed with a catalogue of demos and dance routines, the group began touring management agencies. They persuaded Bob Herbert to set up a showcase performance for the group in front of industry writers, producers and A&R men in December 1994 at the Nomis Studios in Shepherd's Bush where they received an "overwhelmingly positive" reaction.[13]

Melanie Brown performing in 2007 with the Spice Girls

Due to the large interest in the group, the Herberts quickly set about creating a binding contract for the group. Encouraged by the reaction they had received at the Nomis showcase, all five members delayed signing contracts on the legal advice from, amongst others, Adams' father Anthony Adams. In March 1995, because of the group's frustration at their management's unwillingness to listen to their visions and ideas, they parted with Heart Management. The group began a relationship with Simon Fuller of 19 Entertainment and finally signed with him in March 1995. During the summer of that year the group toured record labels in London and Los Angeles with Fuller and finally signed a deal with Virgin Records in September 1995. From this point on, up to the summer of 1996, the group continued to write and record tracks for their debut album while extensively touring the west coast of the United States, where they had signed a publishing deal with Windswept Pacific. On 7 June 1996, the Spice Girls released their debut single "Wannabe" in the United Kingdom. In the weeks leading up to the release, the video for "Wannabe", got a trial airing on The Box music channel. The video was an instant hit, and was played 502 times a week. After the video was released, the Spice Girls had their first live TV slot on broadcast on LWT's Surprise Surprise.[14] The song proved to be a global hit, reaching number 1 in 29 countries.[15] and becoming the biggest-selling single by an all-female group of all time.[16] It was followed by nine further number-1 singles from their albums Spice, Spiceworld and Forever.[17] Each member of the group received a nickname from the media. Brown was named "Scary Spice".[18][19]

The group is currently the best-selling girl group of all time selling 75 million[20] Which also makes the group one of the best-selling music artists[21] After the release of their third album, Forever (UK number 2), which was far less successful than their previous two albums, the Spice Girls stopped recording and the members to begin their solo careers.[21]

2000–05: Hot and L.A. State of Mind[edit]

Melanie B at the Who Sexiest People Party (2011).

Before the split of the Spice Girls, Brown went onto release music with Virgin Records, the label who she was signed to when a member of the Spice Girls. "I Want You Back" was released as the first official single from the album, which charted at number 1 on the UK Singles Chart and also had success around the globe. The song was recorded for the soundtrack of the film Why Do Fools Fall in Love. The single sold 218,000 copies and became the 82nd Bestselling British Single of 1998.[22] While recording the album, Brown worked with producers such as Sisqo, Teddy Riley, and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (Janet Jackson, Prince), with whom she was also working on the Spice Girls' third album, Forever.[23] Brown's debut album, Hot was released in November 2000, a month before the Spice Girls final album, Forever was released.[24] At the suggestion of her then-husband Jimmy Gulzar, Brown covered Cameo's 1986 hit "Word Up" as her next solo release.[23] The track was already released on the soundtrack to Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. The song charted poorly, peaking at fourteen on the UK Singles Chart making it the lowest-charting Spice Girls-related single of the 90s.[25] Turning to television work, she hosted Pure Naughty, a weekly BBC2 magazine show focusing on black music.[23] She also hosted the MOBO Awards on two occasions, in 1998 with Bill Bellamy and in 1999 with Wyclef Jean, and took part in a BBC-funded short film entitled Fish.[23]

The third single from the album, "Tell Me", which debuted at No. 4 in the UK charts with about 40,000 copies sold in its first week.[23] It sold approximately 100,000 copies, making it the 158th "best seller" of 2000.[26] A fourth single was released in February 2001, "Feels So Good" which peaked at No. 5, followed by a fifth single, "Lullaby", a pop number dedicated to her daughter.[23] It was accompanied by a video shot in Morocco and featured Brown with Phoenix Chi. The media criticised Brown for using her child in the music video and single artwork, labelling her Desperate Spice and insinuating that she was exploiting her child as a marketing tool.[23] The single entered and peaked at No. 13. The album was not a success and garnered mediocre reviews,[27] selling a disappointing 7,419 copies in its first week and charting at a weak No. 28 leading to Virgin dumping Brown from their label.[28]

In April 2004, Brown was approached to take part in the musical Rent in the role of Mimi Marquez. A few weeks after Brown finished her Rent stint, she played her second gig, performing some songs from the musical and showcasing some new material she had written.[23] Brown decided to release them a year later through an independent label, Amber Café.[29] The only single from the album, "Today", saw a UK release in June 2005. "Today" entered the singles chart at No. 41, selling around 1,000 copies in its first week.[30] The album, LA State of Mind, was released on 27 June 2005 in two formats: as a regular CD and as a Limited Edition with a 30 minute DVD documentary detailing Brown's life in Los Angeles.[31] In a scathing review, Allmusic stated that this album was one of the worst pop albums of the decade.[32] The album was also released with a bonus DVD featuring an in-depth documentary filmed and directed by Mark McConnell.[33] One of the producers which had worked with Brown's album was Rodney Jerkins, aka Darkchild, who previously worked with Brown while in the Spice Girls.[34]

2007–08: Return of the Spice Girls[edit]

In 2007, the Spice Girls re-grouped and announced plans for an reunion tour,[21] from which they were said to have earned £10 million each (approximately $20 million).[35] The band said that they are still enjoying doing their "own thing".[36] The group decided to release their first compilation album, Greatest Hits, in early November 2007 and the tour began on 2 December 2007. During one Spice Girls performance at London's The O2 Arena, the band's children, including Brown's children accompanied her on stage during "Mama", along with the other Spice Girls' children.[37] During the reformation filmmaker Bob Smeaton directed an official film of the tour entitled Spice Girls: Giving You Everything.[38] As well as their sell-out tour, the Spice Girls were contracted to appear in Tesco advertisements, for which they were paid £1 million each.[39]

2011-present: Television roles and third studio album[edit]

In 2011, Brown joined the Australian version of The X Factor as Kyle Sandilands' replacement for the third and fourth series. She joined returning judges Ronan Keating and Guy Sebastian and fellow new judge Natalie Bassingthwaite, who replaced Natalie Imbruglia. Brown had previously served as a celebrity mentor on its second season during week 8 back in 2010.[40] In February 2012, Brown was also announced to replace Sonia Kruger as co-host on the Australian version of Dancing with the Stars.[41] It was announced on 24 February that Brown was planning on releasing the second season of It's a Scary World in summer 2012. Brown also revealed that the Spice Girls will be having some projects later in the year dealing with the musical.[41] On 31 March 2012, it was announced that Brown signed a global partnership with EMI Music Australia for the release of her third studio album.[42] In June 2012, it was confirmed that Brown would become a guest judge for the Manchester auditions of The X Factor UK.[43] She took the place of Kelly Rowland and sat alongside Louis Walsh, Gary Barlow and Tulisa Contostavlos. Brown did not return for The X Factor Australia's fifth series and was replaced by Dannii Minogue.

On 20 February 2013, NBC announced that Brown would be replacing Sharon Osbourne as a judge on America's Got Talent for its eighth season. It was confirmed in March 2013 that Brown would judge Australia's Got Talent along with fellow Brit Dawn French.[44] However on 9 April 2013, the Australian Associated Press reported that Brown was banned from judging on Australia's Got Talent after Seven, the Australian TV network that airs The X Factor, filed suit to prevent Brown from appearing on any rival networks.[45] The judge ruled that Brown was still under contract with Seven until January 2014, thus preventing her from appearing on a program aired by another network until after that date.[46] The Nine Network confirmed rumours on 29 April that they had hired former fellow Spice Girl Geri Halliwell to replace Brown.[47] She had a small part in the final episode of the ITV2 drama series Secret Diary of a Call Girl. In 2013 she will return to acting in the Lifetime Movie Twelve Trees of Christmas. In December 2013 she appeared on The Eric Andre Show.

In September 2013, Brown released her 1st single in eight years, "For Once in My Life".[48]

The Today Show[edit]

Since July 2013, Brown has been filling-in as a co-host on the third hour NBC's The Today Show.[49]

Non-musical works[edit]

Brown at Australian Commercial Radio Awards in October 2012.

From 2000, Brown concentrated on a variety of non-singing projects. She hosted a number of TV shows such as This Is My Moment (a talent show) for ITV1 and shot a documentary called Voodoo Princess for Channel 4.[50] She took part in smaller projects as a presenter such as Top of the Pops, Party in the park for the Prince's Trust and The All Star Animal Awards.[24] She has appeared as herself in an advert for the Yorkshire tourist board in a series which included contributions from other Yorkshire-born celebrities, and in the film Happy Birthday Oscar Wilde.[51][dead link]

In 2002, Brown released her autobiography, Catch a Fire, which reached No. 7 in the official books chart,[10] and saw her touring the UK to promote it with a run of book signings. Brown's first movie role came in the form of a British drama, Burn It.[10] She appeared in a horror film entitled, LD 50 Lethal Dose, which was released directly to DVD in 2005.[52] She acted in a long run of shows as part of the cast for the Vagina Monologues. She was in the movie The Seat Filler, co-produced by Will Smith and starring Destiny's Child star Kelly Rowland. Brown also appeared as Mimi in the broadway production of Rent.[10] Brown played herself in episodes of the comedy series Bo' Selecta and A Bear's Tail.[citation needed] In 2003, Brown made a cameo appearance in the music video Bo Selecta's Proper Crimbo.[citation needed] In 2005, she had a leading role in the thriller Telling Lies, released to DVD the following year.[53]

Following an appearance in the short film Love Thy Neighbor,[54] in September 2007, Brown joined the fifth season of the U.S. television hit Dancing with the Stars with her partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy. On 27 November 2007, they took second place in the show.[55] In April 2009, Brown joined actress and former Dancing With the Stars champion Kelly Monaco as original stars of a Las Vegas revue called Peepshow at the Las Vegas Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino.[56] On 17 August 2009, Brown was announced as a visiting panellist on ITV1's daily lunchtime show Loose Women. She appeared for a week of shows during September 2009.[57] In September 2009, Brown took part in the filming of ITV1 series Seven Days on the Breadline during which she spent part of a week staying with a family living in poverty in Leeds.[58] Subsequently, Brown wrote an article in The Mail on Sunday, titled 'My Week in Apathy City.'[59] In January 2010, Brown was selected to replace Marissa Jaret Winokur as the new host of Oxygen's weight loss show Dance Your Ass Off.[10] In September 2010, her own reality show aired on the Style Network called Mel B: It's a Scary World.[10] In November 2010, Get Fit with Mel B, was released in North America and Europe.[60] On 7 November 2010, Brown became the celebrity mentor for the eighth week of the Australian version of The X Factor. During the results show she performed a duet with the remaining five acts singing "Stop" originally by the Spice Girls. According to Entertainment Weekly, Brown will be joining the judging panel of the eighth season of America's Got Talent, replacing Sharon Osbourne.[61]

Personal life[edit]

While on the Spiceworld Tour, Brown began a romantic relationship with Dutch dancer Jimmy Gulzar. After she became pregnant, they married in Little Marlow, Buckinghamshire, on 13 September 1998.[62] Mel B changed her stage name to Melanie G. Their daughter, Phoenix Chi Gulzar, was born in Westminster, London, on 19 February 1999.[62] In 2000, Brown filed for divorce, which was finalised later that year.[63] The custody battle for her daughter was highly publicised. Gulzar claimed Mel's breast implants and adultery were the reason for their split.[64] Brown won custody, but had to pay an alimony settlement of $2.8m to her ex-husband.[65]

In 2006, Brown became the subject of tabloid stories on the basis of her relationship with Hollywood actor Eddie Murphy. On 17 October 2006 AOL claimed that Brown was having a baby with Murphy.[66] In early December 2006, news came that Brown and Murphy were no longer a couple, and Murphy told a journalist of the Dutch TV show RTL Boulevard at the Dreamgirls film premiere that the parentage of Brown's unborn baby could not be proven until a paternity test has been performed.[67][68] Brown gave birth to daughter Angel Iris Murphy Brown on Eddie Murphy's 46th birthday, 3 April 2007.[69] On 22 June 2007, People reported the results of a court-ordered DNA test, confirming through Brown's publicist that Murphy was indeed the father of Brown's baby. Murphy then admitted paternity and indicated that he would reimburse Brown for the cost of the pregnancy and agreed to pay over $7million to Brown.[70]

In February 2007, Brown began dating long term friend and film producer Stephen Belafonte.[71] Brown and Belafonte secretly married on 6 June 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada,[72] and they subsequently renewed their vows with a lavish ceremony in front of their families on 8 November 2008 in Hurghada, Egypt. On 1 September 2011, Brown gave birth to her third child, a daughter named Madison Brown Belafonte.[73][74] Brown is also a stepmother to Belafonte's daughter, Giselle Belafonte.


1993Coronation StreetAmy Nelson
2001This Is My MomentPresenter
2003Burn ItClaire
2003Bo' SelectaVarious roles
2005Avid Merrion's Xxxmas SpecialHerself
2007Dancing with the StarsHerself
2007Entertainment TonightCo-presenter
2007Giving You EverythingHerselfDocumentary
2008Access HollywoodCo-presenter
2008Step It Up and DanceHerself1 episode: "A Scary Surprise"
2008Miss Universe 2008Presenter
2009, 2011Keeping Up with the KardashiansHerself2 episodes
2010Dance Your Ass OffPresenter
2010Mel B: It's a Scary WorldHerself
2011Secret Diary of a Call GirlSylvia Burke
2011–2012The X Factor AustraliaMentor/Herself/Judge
2012Dancing with the StarsCo-presenterSeason 12
2012Britain & Ireland's Next Top ModelHerself/Guest JudgeCycle 8
2012The X Factor UKHerself/Guest JudgeSeries 9; Only in Manchester auditions
2012The Spice Girls Story: Viva Forever!HerselfDocumentary for ITV about the Spice Girls
2013–presentAmerica's Got TalentMentor/Herself/JudgeSeason 8 Season 9
Today ShowFill-in/Guest Co-host
Stepping OutHerself/JudgeNew ITV dancing show
2013Miss Universe 2013Presenter
2013The Eric André ShowHerself
1997Spice WorldScary SpiceRazzie Award for Worst Actress
Nominated — Razzie Award for Worst New Star
Nominated — Orange Blimp Award for Favorite Movie Actress
Nominated — Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actress – Comedy
1998Creche LandingLolaVoice
2003LD 50 Lethal DoseLouise
2004The Seat FillerSandie
2005Telling LiesMaggie Thomas
2006Love Thy NeighborLonnie




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  8. ^ [1][dead link]
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  39. ^ Levy, Megan. Levy, Megan (12 November 2007). "Spice Girls front Tesco advertising campaign". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 20 December 2007. 
  40. ^ Mel B – Judge, X Factor Australia
  41. ^ a b Duck, Siobhan (4 February 2012). "Mel B set to spice up Dancing with the Stars". Herald Sun. Retrieved 18 February 2012. 
  42. ^ Jolly, Nathan (4 April 2012). "Mel B signs to EMI: "Love me or hate me, Scary Spice is back"". Retrieved 17 May 2012. 
  43. ^ "Mel B to be guest judge for 'X Factor' auditions in Manchester" 3 June 2012, Digital Spy
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  45. ^ "Melanie Brown Banned From Australia’s Got Talent". 2013-04-19. Retrieved 2013-04-20. 
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  49. ^ Mel B Co-Hosting The Today Show | Melanie Brown Official
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  51. ^ ??
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  61. ^ Ross, Dalton. "'America's Got Talent' hires Mel B as new judge | Inside TV |". Retrieved 2013-04-02. 
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  64. ^ "MRS. DE NIRO RAGING GRACE-FULLY?" 6 September 2000 New York Daily News
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  66. ^ "Murphy and Scary Spice Set to Marry?",, 23 August 2006. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  67. ^ Lehner, Marla. "Eddie Murphy Questions Paternity of Mel B's Baby",, 5 December 2006.
  68. ^ "Eddie: Prove baby is mine". The Sun (London). [dead link]
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  70. ^ "Eddie Murphy Admits To Fathering Mel B.'s Baby", Access Hollywood, 4 August 2007. Retrieved 4 August 2007.
  71. ^ Melanie Brown linked to new man, producer Stephen Belafonte » Fametastic
  72. ^ Mel B. Secretly Weds Boyfriend Stephen Belafonte People
  73. ^ "Spice Girl Mel B Reveals Baby Name—Is It Scary?" 7 September 2011, E Online
  74. ^ "Melanie Brown Welcomes a Daughter" 2 September 2011, People


External links[edit]