By Sergio del Amo
Everybody thought they would become icons - imitated by teens, subjects of wet dreams - but destiny (or rather poor marketing) decided otherwise. The ladies below were all set to top hit lists - but have had to settle for the tag “wannabes”. Here we celebrate the great moments they gave us. If Kylie could rise like a phoenix from the ashes, we are sure they can also have their comeback - vindicating themselves as the stars they really were, are and will be.
1. Sophie Ellis-Bextor
It was 2001 when this British girl earned the acclaim of the entire dance scene with two impeccable singles: “Murder On The Dancefloor” and “Get Over You”. We heard and danced to her first tracks without stopping, but before long, the brunette (who made an extra quid on the fashion runways) inexplicably left the scene unnoticed. A few weeks ago she returned with “Make A Scene” alongside Freemasons and Richard X; our faith in her is restored.
The Norwegian had her personal “Chinese Democracy”, delaying her second album “Don’t Stop” for five years. Although her name will forever by synonymous with calibre (from “The Greatest Hit” produced by her late boyfriend, Tore Kroknes, to that larger-than-life remix of “Anthonio” by Fred Falke), she was never rewarded with the break-through she deserved. Annie will always be in our hearts. In spite of being an indie diva, we don’t doubt the world will one day give her the credit she deserves.
Before Beyoncé and Rihanna we had Brandy. Combining her TV work ( “Moesha”) with the recording studio, the girl who wanted to follow the path trod by Whitney Houston - beyond North American soil - never got the credit she deserved. She is, however, still making records (her most recent one, “Human”, was released three years ago). We’re sure she’s the first one asking herself what happened.
4. Dannii Minogue
The poor lass has always come in second to her big sister. After her one hit wonder “I Begin To Wonder” - from the great “Neon Lights” - the Australian more often appeared in the tabloids for her former love of free drinks, than because of her music. As a member of the jury on the UK version of “X Factor”, she returned to the spotlight. But right now, a new mother, we don’t think she’ll be recording anything for a while.
The Ed Banger princess, at twenty-and-a-bit, made her life into a soap opera. She got married, had a baby and got divorced shortly after - postponing the release of the electro-pop record of the decade. In the end, almost by surprise, “Sex Dreams And Denim Jeans” got released. However, it wasn’t half as successful as the blogosphere expected, in spite of the production by SebastiAn and Mirwais. Perhaps if she’d slowed down a bit, none of this would have happened. 6. Cassie
Many moons have passed since the release of “Me & U” in 2006. The impressive Philipino-Mexican has been talking about her second album coming out soon since 2007. Unfortunately, we no longer believe her - in spite of “Electro Love” (with producers like her mentor P. Diddy, Danja and RedOne on the credits) being expected for release this very year. The small group of fans she’s got left continue to play her old videos.
Natalie and Nicole Appleton, after the first hiatus of All Saints in 2001, decided to get together as good sisters and start the failed project Appleton (yes, their creativity shows no bounds). As was to be expected - after timeless mainstream pop anthems like “Black Coffee” and “Pure Shores” - they didn’t make any waves. So we’re doomed to keep squeezing their legacy as a prefab girl band .
8. Soffy O
At the height of electro-clash, blonde Soffy O and Tok Tok came up with a landmark track that still gets us going: “Missy Queen’s Gonna Die”. Dragging around the “great promise of synthetic bastard pop” tag, she released her debut “The Beauty Of It” in 2006. Few people heard about it, which is why she’s been gone for a couple of years now.
Coinciding with the apocalyptic “Y2K effect”, she was touted as the new Lio. After breaking off her liaison with Mylène Farmer (the French Madonna who protected her when she was an innocent Lolita), Alizée received the help of the now defunct Institubes label. Together, they created her album “Une Enfant Du Siècle”, which drank from the wells of Italo and vintage pop. She will always be one of our favourite guilty pleasures.
Whigfield stormed the euro-pop scene in the mid-nineties with her huge single “Saturday Night”. The Dane got the dance-floor moving with a simple synchronised dance routine, to be performed to her song. Between 1994 and 1997 she sold more records than Blur and Oasis combined – her career, however, hasn’t received quite the longevity . . . although we hear she is still recording.
There are many women who try to make a name for themselves in the cruel pop universe - but few end up with the success they long for. Here we celebrate them, so that the rest of the world won’t forget them completely.