Rachel Lauren Stevens (born April 9, 1978) is a British singer
and an occasional actress. Formerly with the successful pop group
S Club 7, she has now launched a solo recording career.
After a successful audition Stevens became a member of the British
pop group S Club 7, selling sixteen million records worldwide and
achieving four number hit singles in the United Kingdom. The band
broke-up in 2003 due to undisclosed reasons. Stevens' became the
first member of the band to sign a multi-million dollar recording
contract and released her first solo single, "Sweet Dreams
My LA Ex", in late 2003, reaching number two on the UK singles
chart. Her first album did not fare so well, peaking at disappointing
number nine on the UK albums chart and quickly disappearing. Stevens'
follow-up single also failed to gain much attention. Critics began
to write her off as a one-hit wonder until she came back with the
song "Some Girls" (2004) which became an instant hit in
the UK, peaking at number two. In late 2005 Stevens released her
second solo album, which failed to perform on the charts, becoming
a commercial failure even though it was praised by the pop music
press and other outlets, such as The New York Times.
Stevens was born in Southgate, London. Her now-estranged father,
Michael Stevens, is notable for producing a guide to the best places
to solicit prostitutes in London. Her mother is Linda Stevens. She
attended Ashmole School in Southgate, London.
From a very early age, Stevens was drawn to entertaining people.
At the age of five she began taking acting lessons at a drama school
near London, but as time went on she seemed to be more interested
in fashion than acting. At the age of fifteen her first big break
when she beat out 4999 competitors in a modeling competition sponsored
by Just 17 Magazine. Following her first modeling gig Stevens attended
the London School of Fashion and after graduation worked in fashion
PR, but began to lose interest and started to seek out a career
in music instead.
Then, at the age of twenty, Stevens accompanied her brother to
an audition in London for a new pop group, which was being put together
by Simon Fuller, the one-time manager of the Spice Girls. Whilst
waiting for her brother to audition, she was approached by the judges.
After many calls and auditions she was chosen as a member of the
new band S Club 7 , along with Tina Barrett, Paul Cattermole, Jon
Lee, Bradley McIntosh, Jo O'Meara and Hannah Spearritt.
S Club 7
Stevens and S Club 7 quickly rose to fame, with their debut single
"Bring It All Back" reaching number one on the UK Singles
Chart in June 1999. The band's follow-up, "S Club Party"
was also a hit, the bands self-titled debut album also sold well.
The success of their debut album landed the band their own TV show,
S Club 7 in Miami. Minor success in the United States followed.
Stevens probably enjoyed more success then the rest of the band
members, as she received the most media attention and was a fan
favourite. Despite the negative press the male members of the band
had been receiving, Stevens was not affected by it and in 2000 was
voted the second sexiest woman on the planet by men's magazine FHM.
Around 2002 to 2003, Jo the lead singer had vocal problems for a
number of weeks. Rachel took over the job of the lead vocals during
Soon after 2000 the band began to lose steam and they could not
live up to past success with both record sales and television ratings
down. The band was able to release a successful film in 2003 called
S Club Seeing Double but after a UK tour, the members of S Club
7 decided to break up.
After S Club 7 broke up, Stevens signed a £1.5 million solo
four-album deal with Polydor Records and re-signed with S Club 7
manager, Simon Fuller. Breaking out on her own after success with
S Club 7 was hard for Stevens, "I think we ended up conforming
to what people's perceptions was," she said about the band.
"This one was the ditzy one, this one was the singer, this
one was the dancer. And to come out of that and be a whole person
has been a real challenge for me. I didn't have my say, really,
in the group. None of us did." Stevens was the first member
from the group to sign a solo recording contract and expectations
were high for her first release to be a success.
Her first solo single, written by Cathy Dennis (who has also written
for Britney Spears and Kylie Minogue) and produced by Bloodshy &
Avant, was "Sweet Dreams My LA Ex", released in September
2003. The single was a hit, debuting at number two on the UK singles
chart, beaten to the top spot by the Black Eyed Peas and their international
hit single "Where Is The Love?. The single was also a hit worldwide
peaking in the top ten in multiple countries including Ireland and
Taking inspiration from R&B music most reminiscent of TLC and
Sugababes, and adult-style pop music by Madonna, Stevens' debut
solo album, Funky Dory was released later that month. The album
was a minor hit, reaching number nine on the UK albums chart and
quickly fading away in subsequent weeks almost without a trace.
Although the album was not a huge commercial success it did gain
praise from pop-critics. Jamie Gill, in a review for Yahoo! Launch,
said that Stevens "eschews the cheap and cheerful approach
of her old band for a slinky adult confidence and musical eclecticism."
That December, the album's title track, "Funky Dory"
was released as the second single. The song was hailed as being
sophisticated and sexy, like its predecessor, and featured a sample
of the David Bowie song "Andy Warhol" from his album Hunky
Dory. Hopes were high that the single would be able to match the
success of "Sweet Dreams My LA Ex", but like her album
the single made a low showing on the charts, peaking at number twenty
six and then quickly disappearing. The song was given mixed reviews
by pop-critics with some calling it "musically better than
"Sweet Dreams My LA Ex" with a hybrid of pop, Latin and
even a hint of jazz infusion" but not a good choice as a single
as it lacked anything special and different, as it did not live
up to Stevens' previous single.
In July 2004, Stevens released a brand new single, "Some Girls"
which was produced by Richard X. After the commercial failure of both
her album and previous single hopes were high for "Some Girls"
to perform well on the charts, with critics calling the single her
career make or break release. The single became a hit across Europe,
and reached number two in the UK. All profits from the single went
to the BBC Sport Relief charity. On its release HMV.co.uk called the
single Stevens' "finest song to date", and Yahoo! Launch
commented "she came to save her career. She ended up saving pop."
Due to the success of "Some Girls", Funky Dory was re-released
to include "Some Girls" and another new track, a cover
of Andrea True Connection's "More More More". On its single
release, "More More More" peaked at number three in the
UK, giving Stevens her third top ten solo single in the UK. The
song was not well received by critics who called the vocals on the
song weak and the fact that the song is a cover uninspiring. Stevens
herself has stated that she dislikes the song. Nevertheless, the
song was a hit and due to the re-release of the album, Funky Dory
has sold close to 200,000 copies in the UK to date and was a minor
That November, Stevens was nominated for seven awards at the Smash
Hits Poll Winners Party. She took home two awards, Most Fanciable
Female and Best Dressed Star.
Come And Get It
In late 2004, Stevens began working on her second solo album with
producers and songwriters Richard X, Alexis Strum and Xenomania.
The following March she released the first single from her upcoming
album, "Negotiate With Love". The song was a minor hit
in the UK, reaching the top ten and received good reviews by critics
for its mature and confident sound.
"Negotiate with Love" was followed-up by the song "So
Good", which was released in July and was another success when
it peaked at number ten in the UK. It was hailed as a good pop song
that was "tastily produced and sassily delivered."
The singles were followed by Stevens' second full length studio
album, Come And Get It in October 2005. The album was, like her
previous effort, a minor success peaking at number twenty eight
in the UK. Come And Get It sold only 18,000 copies in Britain in
its first 3 months and has been deemed a commercial failure, even
though the British pop magazines hailed it as a great pop album.
The album was also released as a special 'Limited Edition' CD and
DVD, which subsequently became a highly priced item at online auction
sites like Ebay.com
The last single released from the album was "I Said Never
Again (But Here We Are)", released in October 2005 the song
peaked at number twelve in the UK. The single received some of the
best reviews of Stevens' career with it being hailed by HMV.co.uk
for its "astonishingly flawless vocal performance" and
as Stevens' "most commercially accessible and quirky single
since "Some Girls"."
Due to the low charting of the album and its singles no further
singles were released, although multiple rumors stated that "Nothing
Good About This Goodbye" and the Richard X produced "Crazy
Boys" were going to be released as singles. In early January
2006, rumors surfaced that Stevens was dropped from Polydor Records.
However, a statement arose from the Polydor executives stating that
she is still with Polydor.
Just before the release of Come And Get It, Stevens was featured
in a documentary, Rachel: My World which was shown on Channel 4's
teenage strand T4, with cameras following Stevens around for the
summer, at roadshows, recording her album, and doing more humble
things such as eating out and going to the gym.
Future in music
Stevens plans to continue her music career, and will begin recording
her third album in mid-2006, as stated by her label. The album will
most likely be released at the end of the year. Also, she has planned
a "UK return" with a new single in the late summer or
autumn of 2006.
During her times with S Club 7, she was able to act in all S Club
series like Hollywood 7, S Club in Miami, Viva S Club and all of
it got high ratings worldwide. Before their break up, they were
able to release an S Club movie entitled Seeing Double which was
a huge success.
In her solo career, Stevens was offered and auditioned for many
acting projects. She auditioned for a role in the Jude Law movie
Alfie, but lost the role to Sienna Miller. She also secretly auditioned
for a role as the leading lady in the re-make of the hit series
Doctor Who, but also lost the part to Billie Piper. Stevens appeared
in a minor role in Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo. She has also
been called numbers of times to star in the Dr. Who spin-off Torchwood,
and has been called for a meeting to sit with the show's producers.
She has recently stated to New! magazine that she would like to
attend drama school to receive proper training. She has previously
announced that she would love to act with Oscar nominees such as
Clive Owen and Hollywood heartthrob Brad Pitt.
Stevens spent the first few months of 2006 in Los Angeles in preparation
for launching an acting career. According to Stevens, she is working
with the William Morris Agency, one of the largest acting agencies
in the world and she has been seen visiting the same acting class
that Brad Pitt used to attend.
On Valentines Day in 2002, Stevens made headline when she became
engaged to her longtime boyfriend, actor Jeremy Edwards. The engagement
would not last long though, the couple broke up in early 2004 after
they had been dating for over three years. Stevens made headlines
in March 2004 when she was dumped by her rumoured boyfriend, businessman
Simon Brodin. The couple were rumoured to have dated for two months
after Stevens broke-up with Edwards. The relationship was never
confirmed by either side. Six months later Stevens again was in
the tabloids as she started dating Gavin Dein, son of Arsenal vice-chairman
David Dein, the relationship would not last long with the couple
splitting up in August 2005. Since then she has been linked to Arsenal
midfielder Freddie Ljungberg after taking interest in him because
she wanted him to star as her boyfriend in an upcoming music video.
Stevens' commented on the rumors by telling Neil Sean of Sky Showbiz
Gossip "It's all top secret but my dream is to have the lovely
Freddie in the video for the song as my boyfriend. I'd like that
in real life too, but Ill start with the video." She
has also been spotted recently in LA in February 2006 with a mystery
man claimed to be her new boyfriend, but it has neither been confirmed
nor denied. She has also been spotted with the same man in Barbados
in the last week of April 2006. The April 30, 2006 issue of The
Daily Star and The News of the World claim she met the man in LA
and since then their relationship has grown romantically and she
is surely smitten. The People also reported a similar story as did
The Daily Record who quote an onlooker as saying they look very
much in love.
Although 2005 did not bring the commercial success of earlier years,
Stevens made headlines when she followed in the footsteps of fellow
British popstar Robbie Williams to front the Everyman Testicular
Cancer Awareness campaign. Stevens' role was notable as she was
the first woman to front the campaign. Her television commercial
raised eyebrows with its suggestive content that included her telling
men to "put one hand down their trousers and give their testicles
a good feel". On the commercial, Stevens commented, "Sometimes
men need a little encouragement to think about their health. This
is a funny way of raising awareness about a serious subject."
In 2005 Stevens also took part in the Make Poverty History campaign,
which aims to eliminate poverty in third world countries by supplying
aid to them through food, money and other resources that these countries
do not have. Stevens donated an undisclosed amount of money to the
campaign, and also starred in television and magazine advertisements
supporting the cause. Her official website also displayed the campaigns
official online banner.
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