Spice Girl Emma Bunton wasn't the first to venture off from her dance-pop band the Spice Girls for a solo career. Melanie C. was most triumphant with her 1999 debut A Northern Star while Melanie B. and ex-Spice Geri Halliwell earned mild reviews. But like her fellow musical mates, Baby Spice aimed for solo success during the new millennium. However, it wouldn't have been nearly as possible if it weren't for her millions and massive praise made while fronting one of Britain's biggest pop acts to emerge during the 1990s.
Emma Lee Bunton was born on January 21, 1976, in Barnet in north London. Her father, Trevor, and mother, Pauline, split when Emma was 11, but the event wasn't traumatic like it is for most children of divorce. She was already busy with extracurricular activities such as modeling and doing commercials. Bunton's time spent at St. Theresa's Roman Catholic primary school was typical, yet Bunton's passion for her hobbies turned full-scale as she spent her formal theater years at Sylvia Young Theatre School. Already a natural in front of the camera, she left secondary at 16 and began studying drama at Barnet Technical College. It would be several years later that she met the group that would make her a star. Bunton was still a young, bubbly teenager when she was christened Baby Spice in 1993. The rest of the decade was a whirlwind with winning the world over with the Spice Girls' infectious pop energy. Five years spanned a career in entertainment, and at the dawning of the new millennium, Emma Bunton had other ideas. She was now a woman in her twenties and a bright mind of creative ideas. Her soul sisters were already moving on with solo projects and Baby Spice wouldn't be left behind.
She guested on Tin Tin Out's "What I Am in 1999, but two years later, a fresh-faced Bunton returned with her debut album A Girl Like Me. Its first single "What Took You So Long?" shot to number one during its first week of release in mid-April, sustaining a two week reign. Bunton became the only Spice Girl to have a solo single stay at number one for more than one week. Her chart success continued into 2003 with "Free Me" and "Maybe," two singles from her second effort, Free Me. The sophisticated pop sound caught on with fans and earned Bunton her third hit, "I'll Be There", in 2004. Free Me was released in the States in early 2005. ~ MacKenzie Wilson, All Music Guide
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