Now Magazine: Why we had to split
The UK end of year charts are out now, showing sales from 1 January 2001 through to 31 December 2001.
On the singles chart, Steps only managed to get two singles in the top 100. Chain Reaction was the 37th biggest-selling single of 2001. It’s The Way You Make Me Feel was the 60th biggest seller of 2001.
On the albums chart, Gold Greatest Hits was the 6th biggest-selling album of 2001, above releases from S Club 7 (17th) Hear’say (14th) and Westlife (12th).
This article from this week’s NOW Magazine:
WHY WE HAD TO SPLIT
Steps fans are a deeper shade of blue as one of pop’s biggest success stories calls it a day after five years of chart-topping hits. In their last interview together, Claire Richards, Lisa Scott-Lee and Faye Tozer revealed their plans for the future without Steps.
There’s nothing like going out with a bang. But Steps singers Lisa, Lee, H, Claire and Faye excelled themselves this Christmas when they made the shock announcement that they were splitting. After and exhilarating sell-out tour for their No 1 album Gold, all five band members insisted they were looking forward to a much-needed rest before beginning their work on their fourth album in 2002.
But on Boxing Day, fans were left shell-shocked when Steps issued a joint statement saying they’d had enough: ‘After five incredible years we’ve all decided that its time to move on to new challenges.
‘We’ve always said that when the time came we would leave as good friends and go out while we’re on top and, although we are all very sad, that’s what we’ve done.’
The timing of the news has surprised everyone, including the man who discovered them, Pete Waterman.
‘I found out at 9pm on Boxing Day when the world media told me,’ he says. ‘I felt like a fool, not knowing what was going on. It’s very rude that people who have worked with Steps had to find out this way.
‘I’m not surprised about the split. They’re the hardest working kids I have ever seen in 40 years of show business, but they’ve worked themselves to a standstill.’
With 12 million album sales under their belts, the five singers are now enjoying a well-deserved rest as they contemplate their future. But while there will be no shortage of record deals on offer, Lisa already has other plans. She’ll be managing new boyband 3SL – who also happen to be her younger brothers Steve, 22, Andy, 20, and 18-year-old Anthony. ‘We’re the Welsh version of the Corrs,’ laughs Lisa, ‘only better, with our dad Tony as the tour manager.’ Signed to Sony, 3SL, which stands for Three Scott-Lees, release their first single in March.
‘I like to think they’re getting a lot of attention because they look and sound great,’ says Lisa, 25. ‘But there’s no doubt that me being their big sister does help. ‘The boys have grown up with Steps and know how hard we work – that’s the best training they could have. They were in the Tragedy video and know what it’s like to be on an 18-hour shoot. They say we’ve inspired them to do it.
‘When Steps first started we didn’t have any support. We really had to fight for what we wanted because everyone said we’d be one-hit wonders. That’s why I want my brothers to have a good start in life.’
Claire, 24, is hoping the split will signal a new start for her too. ‘I’ve had a couple of difficult years recently,’ she admits.
Two years ago Claire was the ‘other woman’ who broke up a family when she dated record boss Reece Hill. It’s something she looks back on with regret. ‘I went down to under 8st,’ says Claire. ‘My emotions were all over the place, all because of this relationship. I looked ill.’ Claire eventually ended the relationship and has found love with Steps dancer Mark Webb. With her time no longer monopolised by Steps, she hopes to see a lot more of him, but admits she isn’t in a rush to become the third Steps member to get engaged, after Faye and Lisa both said ‘yes’ to their boyfriends, rock musician Jasper Irn and dancer Johnny Shentall.
‘I’m leaving it up to Mark to propose,’ laughs Claire. ‘If he wants to, that’s fine by me. But we’re very happy at the moment, doing what we’re doing.’
Instead, Faye, 26, will be the first to wed when she marries Jasper in Hertfordshire this August. The wedding means Faye will officially become stepmum to Jasper’s 13-year-old daughter Luna. ‘I’ve been stepmum to Luna since she was eight,’ says Faye. At first we didn’t get on at all because it was scary for her dad to be going out with someone. ‘Then it became a novelty when I was in Steps because he dad’s girlfriend was a pop star in England. Now she’s great – lanky and tall, blonde and beautiful – she’s a really cool kid. She lives with her mum, but comes to England every six weeks.’
Although both Claire and Lisa have written songs for Steps, Faye is the singer most likely to branch out on her own. She says: ‘I’ve been writing seriously for six years now. I’ve got my own studio so I can put things into practise and work on my own vocals.’ Faye admits being in Steps was restricting. ‘Steps is very specific. I wouldn’t have been able to release my own music and still be in Steps. It would have confused people. Now I’m free to do something different. I want to go for an older market.’
Faye is not the only member of Steps to sacrifice outside interests for the band. Lee Latchford-Evans, 16, was frustrated when he was offered an acting role in a new Friends-style sitcom, but had to run it down because of his pop commitments. A close friend said: ‘He was really pissed off about that. He’s been talking about acting seriously for nearly two years and now he’s got chance to pursue it.
‘He’s already made a guest appearance in Crossroads, and will no doubt be looking at bigger roles now he hasn’t got any other ties.’
Ian Watkins, 25, better known as H, has recently had a lot of experience presenting BBC’s kids talent show Steps To The Stars with Claire.
‘All five of these kids could go far on their own,’ says Pete Waterman. ‘I can’t see any record company turning them down. ‘Everything comes to an end and Steps have had a fantastic time creating pop history. But someone always fills the gap left behind. Who knows – it could even be a Pop Idol.’