STYLE YOUR HAIR DAILY
Following the many disturbing headlines relating to Mel's health between 1987 and 1988, 1989 appeared quiet on the Mel & Kim news front. As far as the public were concerned, Mel was getting stronger but, career wise, there seemed little to report. Behind the scenes however, the sisters had parted ways with Supreme Records and signed a new deal with EMI, under the watchful eye of the company's highly talented and respected A&R director Clive Black. Here Clive provides us with an insight into the duo's plans following their EMI signing, as well as some of his memories:
Hi Clive. What made you want to sign Mel & Kim to EMI, and were they different in private, from the fun-loving image that they portrayed?
Signing Mel & Kim to EMI was a no brainer. They had achieved great success with PWL and I knew the worldwide machine of EMI would lap up their music and their look. To me, they were the same in private as their public image. They were two East End girls with tons of energy and charisma! They were streetwise and cool… and they loved to laugh!
Were you instrumental in moving the duo away from the Stock, Aitken & Waterman production team, and how much time did you spend assisting in the development of their sound and image?
No. Mel & Kim had already parted ways with Stock, Aitken & Waterman before we became involved, and they had been working on a lot of music with Kim’s boyfriend (ex Bros member Craig Logan). The music was getting there. It needed work, A & R’ing, and additional people brought in to make it special, although the idea was always to involve the girls in the writing and not to take outside songs. Mel wasn’t well, but the hope and belief was she was on her way back to a full recovery. Sadly, that wasn’t the case and Mel’s illness, and her passing, changed all our plans. Eventually we focused on a solo album for Kim and, with bringing in the producers - Pete Shweir & George DeAngelis - we made a good debut album with one killer single, Don’t Worry! Pete & George knew the standard I wanted, and it worked very well. Don’t Worry would not have worked without George’s brilliant work!
Kim voiced her feeling that the public never really got to see what Mel & Kim could really do as live performers. Was the live performance aspect a part of the grand plan with EMI, and were there any discussions around changing the musical direction the sisters had become known for?
That was Mel & Kim’s wish. Mine and EMI’s was to try to make a record that was good enough to follow Pete Waterman, as Pete was a Svengali who made great pop records.
How did marketing Mel & Kim, who were already a very well know act, differ from marketing an unknown act and did this make for an easier or more challenging marketing process?
Marketing Kim was easier than a new act but harder than the brand ‘Mel & Kim’. Unfortunately, we never got to release and work records by Mel & Kim.
If you look back on your time with the girls, what are your fondest memories, and how do you feel their career would have gone had Mel not lost her battle with cancer?
My main memories are around the laughter! When they both got going you couldn’t help ending up in fits of laughter. If Mel had not been ill, she would have gone on to be a big star. Kim was rounded, clever and wise to the game and Mel had a youthful sexiness that was irresistible! Before I met them, I had a picture of Mel on my office wall, she was a superstar in waiting!
Finally, what do you think would surprise people the most about Mel & Kim if they had met them?
People would be most surprised by the fact that they were real, clear in their vision, stubborn and as 'Indie' spirited as The Smiths! They were no pop puppets!