Mel B in 2017
|Born||Melanie Janine Brown
(1975-05-29) 29 May 1975
Harehills, West Yorkshire, England
|Residence||Los Angeles, California, US|
|Education||Intake High School|
|Net worth||US$50 million (est. 2015)|
|Partner(s)||Christine Crokos (2002–06)
Eddie Murphy (2006–07)
Melanie Janine Brown (born 29 May 1975), better known as Mel B or Melanie B, is an English singer, songwriter, presenter, television personality, dancer, actress, author, and model. Brown rose to fame as a member of the girl group the Spice Girls, in which she became known as Scary Spice. Brown is also known for supporting girl power and earlier global tours, which grossed an estimated $500–800 million between 1996 and 2000.
Brown began her solo career when she released “I Want You Back” with Missy Elliott on Virgin Records. The single charted at number one on the UK Singles Chart, followed by the release of her debut album, Hot (2000). The album also saw the release of two 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, which saw the release of one single, “Today” in June that year. 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. The first single from the album, “For Once in My Life” was released in September 2013, becoming Brown’s first record to be released after eight years.
Since 2000, Brown has concentrated on a variety of non-singing projects. She became the presenter of shows such as This Is My Moment, Top of the Pops, Party in the Park and The All Star Animal Awards. In September 2007, she became a contestant on the fifth season of the American dance competition, Dancing with the Stars; in which she placed runner-up overall partnered with Maksim Chmerkovskiy. Brown returned to television work becoming a judge for the Australian version of The X Factor from 2011 to 2012, replacing Kyle Sandilands and having previously been a celebrity mentor on the show in 2010. In June 2012, she was a guest judge during the Manchester auditions for the ninth series of The X Factor UK, as one of the temporary replacements for Kelly Rowland; before the role eventually went to Nicole Scherzinger. She later joined The X Factor UK for its eleventh series in 2014.
During this time she became the female co-host for Dancing with the Stars Australia, in which she hosted the twelfth season alongside Daniel MacPherson. However, Brown resigned from the show and did not return for the thirteenth season in 2013. In February that year, she officially signed on to become one of the four judges for the variety talent show America’s Got Talent, replacing Sharon Osbourne from the eighth season onwards. On 1 February 2014, she was revealed to be a coach on The Voice Kids in Australia, which aired in mid-2014.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 Personal life
- 4 Filmography
- 5 Stage
- 6 Discography
- 7 Bibliography
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Melanie Janine Brown was born in Harehills, Leeds, and grew up in the Burley area of the city, the daughter of Andrea (née Dixon) and Martin Brown. Her father is from the Caribbean island nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis; while her mother is English. Brown studied performing arts at Intake High School, in Leeds, before entering the entertainment industry. For a time, she worked as a dancer in the holiday resort, Blackpool, Lancashire. 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.
1994–1998: Spice Girls
In 1994, Brown, along with Mel C, Geri Halliwell, and Victoria Beckham responded to an advertisement in The Stage magazine. Around 400 women, who answered the advertisement, attended auditions at Danceworks Studios in Mayfair, London. Halliwell, Chisholm, Beckham and Brown were originally chosen as the members of the group, and then formed a quintet with Emma Bunton. The group felt insecure about the lack of a contract and were frustrated by the direction in which Heart Management was going and broke with them. In 1995, they toured record labels in London and Los Angeles and finally signed a deal with Virgin. Their debut album, Spice was a huge worldwide commercial success and peaked at number one in more than 17 countries across the world, and was certified multi-platinum in 27 countries. Conceptually, the album centred on the idea of Girl Power, and during that time was compared to Beatlemania. In total the album sold 30 million copies worldwide and became the biggest-selling album in music history by a girl group and one of the most successful albums of all time. The first single, “Wannabe” reached number one in 37 countries and all the following singles – “Say You’ll Be There“, “2 Become 1“, “Who Do You Think You Are” and “Mama” – also peaked at number one in United Kingdom.
In 1997, they released their second album, Spiceworld, and their first two singles “Spice Up Your Life” and “Too Much“, entered the UK Albums Chart at number one, making it the group’s 7th consecutive number one hit single, an all-time record for a musical group. The album was a global best seller, selling 20 million copies worldwide. The group also starred in their own film, Spiceworld: The Movie, which grossed $100 million at the box office worldwide and became the second most watched movie of the year. The next single, “Stop“, peaked at two, breaking the sequence of number ones, the only single to not reach the top of the charts. “Viva Forever“, another number one, was the last single before Geri Halliwell‘s departure from the group in May 1998. “Never Give Up on the Good Times” was planned as fifth single, but was canceled after this event. With four members, the group released “Goodbye“, before Christmas in 1998 and when it topped the UK Singles Chart it became their third consecutive Christmas number-one – equalling the record previously set by The Beatles. Before the split of the Spice Girls, Brown went on to 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 itself sold 218,000 copies and became the 82nd Bestselling British Single of the year.
1999–04: Hot and acting
In 1999, while recording her album, Brown worked with producers such as Sisqó, Teddy Riley, and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (Janet Jackson, Prince), with whom she was also working on the Spice Girls’ third album, Forever. 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 began their solo careers. Brown’s debut album, Hot was released in November 2000, a month before the Spice Girls final album, Forever was released. At the suggestion of her then-husband Jimmy Gulzar, Brown covered Cameo’s 1986 hit “Word Up” as her next solo release. 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. Turning to television work, she hosted Pure Naughty, a weekly BBC2 magazine show focusing on black music. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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 of release. It sold approximately 100,000 copies, making it the 158th “best seller” of 2000. In late 2000, after the first solo work of members, the Spice Girls released their third and final album, Forever, sporting a new edgier R&B sound. “Holler” and “Let Love Lead the Way” was released as singles in 23 October 2000 and the songs reached number one in United Kingdom. The album sold 5 million copies and after the group split. A fourth single was released in February 2001, “Feels So Good” which had peaked at No. 5, followed by a fifth single, “Lullaby“, a pop number dedicated to her daughter. 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. The single entered and peaked at No. 13. The album was not a success and garnered mediocre reviews, 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. In 2002, Brown released her autobiography, Catch a Fire, which reached No. 7 in the official books chart, and saw her touring the UK to promote it with a run of book signings. In 2003 Brown’s first movie role came in the form of a British drama, Burn It. She appeared in a horror film entitled, LD 50 Lethal Dose, which was released directly to DVD in 2005. 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. In April 2004, Brown was approached to take part in the musical Rent in the role of Mimi Marquez.
2005–09: L.A. State of Mind and Spice Girls reunion
In 2005, after Rent, Brown became interested in recording new songs. Since her breakup with Virgin in 2001, she remained distant music, not interested in a return. She had a leading role in the thriller Telling Lies, and decided to release them a year later through an independent label, Amber Café. 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. 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. In a scathing review, AllMusic stated that this album was one of the worst pop albums of the decade. The album was also released with a bonus DVD featuring an in-depth documentary filmed and directed by Mark McConnell. Brown said she did not sign with a major label because the album was a non-commercial project. She also shied away from recording in an R&B or hip hop style again, instead focusing on using adult themes and rhythms such as in acoustic music following an appearance in the film Love Thy Neighbor.
In September 2007, Brown joined the fifth season of the US television dance competition, Dancing with the Stars with her partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy. On 27 November 2007, they took second place in the show, losing to Helio Castroneves and his partner, Julianne Hough. That year, the Spice Girls re-grouped and announced plans for an reunion tour, from which they were said to have earned £10 million each (approximately $20 million). The band said that they are still enjoying doing their “own thing”. 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. During the reformation filmmaker Bob Smeaton directed an official film of the tour entitled Spice Girls: Giving You Everything. 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. 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. 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.
2010–present: Television projects
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. In September 2010, her own reality show aired on the Style Network called Mel B: It’s a Scary World. In November 2010, Get Fit with Mel B, was released in North America and Europe. Brown served as a celebrity mentor on the second season of the Australian version of The X Factor during week 8 of the live shows in 2010. During the results show, she performed a duet with the remaining five acts singing “Stop” originally by the Spice Girls. In April 2011, it was announced that Brown would replace Kyle Sandilands as a judge for the third series of the Australian version of The X Factor alongside Ronan Keating, Guy Sebastian and fellow new judge Natalie Bassingthwaighte (who replaced Natalie Imbruglia). For her first series on the show, she was given the Under 25 Girls category. In February 2012, Brown was announced to replace Sonia Kruger as co-host on the Australian version of Dancing with the Stars. 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. On 31 March, it was announced that Brown signed a global partnership with EMI Music Australia for the release of her third studio album, but then she broke the contract.
Brown returned for the fourth series of The X Factor and mentored the Under 25 Boys category. Her act Jason Owen reached the final, but finished in second place after losing out to Samantha Jade, mentored by Guy Sebastian. In June 2012, it was confirmed that Brown would become a guest judge for the Manchester auditions of the British version of The X Factor alongside Louis Walsh, Gary Barlow and Tulisa Contostavlos. It was confirmed in March 2013 that Brown would judge Australia’s Got Talent along with fellow Brit Dawn French. The same month, it was confirmed that Brown would not return as a judge for the fifth season of The X Factor due to her commitments with Australia’s Got Talent. Brown was replaced by Dannii Minogue. On 9 April 2013, the Australian Associated Press reported that Brown was off the chain and 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. 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. The Nine Network confirmed rumours on 29 April that they had hired former fellow Spice Girl Geri Halliwell to replace Brown.
She had a small part in the final episode of the ITV2 drama series Secret Diary of a Call Girl. In 2013, she returned to acting in the Lifetime movie Twelve Trees of Christmas. From August to September 2013, she became a judge on the televised dancing show, Stepping Out, alongside choreographers Wayne Sleep and Jason Gardiner. That month, Brown released her first single in eight years, “For Once in My Life“, from her untitled and unreleased third studio album. The single peaked at No.2 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs charts. In 2014 she appeared on The Big Fat Quiz of the Year , during the taping she had to be told to settle down by producers. Many of the live audience and high-profile celebrities watching felt she marred an otherwise great show, and took to Twitter and social media to express these views. In February 2014, it was announced that she would become a coach on the Australian version of The Voice Kids, alongside singers Joel Madden and Delta Goodrem. In June, she was confirmed as the fourth judge for the eleventh series of the British version of The X Factor, replacing Nicole Scherzinger. Emma Bunton joined her in Cancun, Mexico for the judges’ houses stage of The X Factor.
In December 2014, it was announced that Brown would miss The X Factor final due to illness. Brown is currently a daily guest co-host on the Breakfast program on Sydney radio station 2Day FM, alongside Jules Lund, Merrick Watts and Sophie Monk. Brown’s and co-hosts replaced top hosts Kyle and Jackie O who moved to KIIS 106.5 taking majority of audience, leaving 2Day FM with the least listened to station in Sydney. On 16 June 2015, it was confirmed that she would not return for the twelfth series of The X Factor and was replaced by Rita Ora. She began presenting Lip Sync Battle UK, the British adaption of Lip Sync Battle, on Channel 5 in January 2016, alongside Professor Green. In 2016, Brown guest judged at The X Factor at the London auditions, standing in for Scherzinger, while she had other commitments. In 2016 she announced that the Spice Girls – except for Victoria Beckham and Melanie C – were working on a 20-year anniversary tour for 2017. She also confirmed to be returning to The X Factor Australia, after a three-year absence. As only three categories were announced, she got a new category, named, Underdogs, where she chose an eliminated act from each of their categories to bring back.
2013-present: America’s Got Talent
On 20 February 2013, NBC had announced that Brown would be replacing Sharon Osbourne as a judge on America’s Got Talent for its eighth season, alongside Howie Mandel, Howard Stern and fellow new judge Heidi Klum. Currently, she is judging alongside Mandel, Klum, and newcomer Simon Cowell, who replaced Stern in 2016.
From 1996 to 1997, Brown dated Icelandic businessman Fjölnir Thorgeirsson.
In March 1998, while on the Spiceworld Tour, Brown began a relationship with Dutch dancer Jimmy Gulzar. The couple became engaged on 13 May 1998. Melanie became pregnant in June of the same year, and the couple were married in Little Marlow, Buckinghamshire, on 13 September 1998. Melanie B changed her stage name to Melanie G while they were married.
Their daughter, Phoenix Chi Gulzar, was born on 19 February 1999. Brown filed for divorce in 2000, and the divorce was finalized later the same year. Brown won custody, and paid an alimony settlement of $2.8m to Gulzar.
From 2002 to 2006 Brown was in a relationship with film producer Christine Crokos. Brown and Crokos lived together in Los Angeles, California. Asked about the relationship, Brown said: “People call me lesbian, bisexual or heterosexual, but I know who’s in my bed and that’s it. I have a huge libido and a great sex life”. Brown and Crokos’ relationship ended in 2006.
In 2006 Brown became the subject of tabloid stories due to her relationship with Hollywood actor Eddie Murphy, who would eventually acknowledge he was the father of Brown’s then unborn second child, a daughter named Angel Iris Murphy Brown, born 3 April 2007. By early December 2006, Brown and Murphy had ended their relationship, 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 was performed. In 22 June 2007, a court-ordered DNA test confirmed that Murphy was the child’s father. Murphy admitted paternity and indicated that a paternity settlement of $7 million had been reached.
In February 2007 Brown began dating film producer Stephen Belafonte. Brown and Belafonte secretly married on 6 June 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The couple subsequently renewed their vows in front of their families on 8 November 2008 in Hurghada, Egypt.
On 18 December 2014, it was revealed Brown had been blinded in one eye after a botched laser eye surgery 15 years prior.
|1993||Coronation Street||Amy Nelson||Recurring role|
|2001||This Is My Moment||Presenter|
|2002||Voodoo Princess||Presenter||Television documentary|
|2003||Burn It||Claire||Main role (Season 1)|
|2005||Bo’ Selecta!||Herself||“Avid Merrion’s Christmas Special” (Season 5, Episode 1)|
|2007||Dancing with the Stars||Contestant||Season 5|
|2008||Miss Universe 2008||Presenter|
|2008||The Singing Office||Presenter|
|2008||Step It Up and Dance||Guest judge||“A Scary Surprise” (Season 1, Episode 1)|
|2009||Loose Women||Panellist||Series 14|
|2009||Living on the Breadline||Mother||Television documentary|
|2010||Dance Your Ass Off||Presenter||Season 2|
|2010||Mel B: It’s a Scary World||Herself||Reality television|
|2011||Secret Diary of a Call Girl||Sylvia Burke||“4.8” (Season 4, Episode 8)|
|2011 – 12||The X Factor Australia||Judge / Mentor||Season 2 (guest)
Season 3–4 (principal)
|2012||The Spice Girls Story: Viva Forever!||Herself||Television documentary|
|2012||Dancing with the Stars||Presenter||Season 12|
|2012||Britain’s Next Top Model||Judge / Mentor||“13 August 2012” (Season 8, Episode 6)|
|2012–16||The X Factor UK||Judge / Mentor||Season 9 and 13 (guest)
Season 11 (principal)
|2013 – present||America’s Got Talent||Judge|
|2013||Miss Universe 2013||Presenter|
|2013||Twelve Trees of Christmas||Cordelia||Television film|
|2014||Whose Line Is It Anyway?||Herself||“Mel B” (Season 10, Episode 1)|
|2014||The Voice Kids: Australia||Judge / Mentor|
|2014||The Pro||Herself||Television film|
|2014||Text Santa||Santa’s Body Guard||Television special|
|2014||Black Dynamite||Herself||Voice; “How Honeybee Got Her Groove Back” (Season 2, Episode 4)|
|2015||RuPaul’s Drag Race||Guest judge||“ShakesQueer” (Season 7, Episode 3)
“Countdown to the Crown” (Season 7, Episode 13)
|2016||Running Wild With Bear Grylls||Herself||Featured as a guest celebrity.|
|2016 – present||Lip Sync Battle UK||Presenter|
|2016||The X Factor Australia||Mentor / Judge|
|1997||Spice World||Scary Spice|
|2003||LD 50 Lethal Dose||Louise|
|2004||Happy Birthday Oscar Wilde||Herself||Documentary|
|2005||The Seat Filler||Sandie|
|2005||Telling Lies||Maggie Thomas|
|2006||Love Thy Neighbor||Lonnie|
|2007||Giving You Everything||Herself||Documentary|
|2014||Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast||Fury||Voice (UK version)|
|2017||Blazing Samurai||The Giraffe||Voice; Post-producing|
|2017||Chocolate City: Vegas||Brandy||Post-producing|