Music Eyz Interview With Tina Barrett
You may remember we reviewed the new solo single from former S Club 7 band member, Tina Barrett last week. Well we caught up with Tina as prepares for the official launch event of the new single ‘Fire’ tonight.
Now I have interviewed many artists in the past. For some reason this was one I wasn’t entirely convinced I knew how this one would pan out. Tina Barrett was a member of one of the most successful UK groups of all time. They sold over 60m records, had their own TV shows which aired globally, they even had their own dolls.
So was Tina going to be quite blazhay about the whole thing and just go through the motions. Or would she be some desperado that needed to get attention and was crying out for fame.
Well if I am honest, she was neither. This was one of the most enjoyable interviews I have conducted in a long time. Tina was a lovely, chatty person. She has a passion for her music and has a maturity that means she is focussed and is doing this for her. No subject was off bounds and we had a really fun and lengthy chat.
There is no way we will be able to convey the upbeat nature and fun of the conversation, but I think you will get her passion for her music. Read on…
Music Eyz: Tina many thanks for taking the time out. I know you must be crazy busy with the single launch. What does it mean for you?
Tina Barrett: Thanks for talking to me. This week is crazy, but its kind of reward for all the hard work. Its really exciting as well as being quite scary. I am putting the single out all by myself. Already just by getting it out, I feel I have achieved so much, regardless of any reward or recognition.
Music Eyz: You must be doing some crazy hours and doing stuff you have never done before.
Tina Barrett: Yes, I am working until gone midnight most nights just making this happen. It makes you realise just what hard work went on behind the scenes with S Club 7.
Music Eyz: Yeah I bet. So before we go too far, for those readers that may not know you can you give a brief background to Tina Barrett?
Tina Barrett: Sure. I am a singer/songwriter and dancer. I have a single being released called ‘Fire’ and I used to be in a little pop band called S Club 7
Music Eyz: Yeah weren’t so little though
Tina Barrett: Nah, we did alright. We had a hit TV show that was shown all over the world, in 132 countries. We sold over 60m records, travelled the entire world. We also won two Brit Awards
Music Eyz: Brit Awards, that is a huge achievement. Do you still have them?
Tina Barrett: Yeah we got two each and they take pride of place on my mantelpiece. I don’t know why people say they didn’t get to keep them or they are in my toilet.
Music Eyz: Yeah it is a big honour and a huge achievement.
Tina Barrett: Definitely. I make sure everybody can see them. It genuinely was a reward for all the hard work we all put in. Its kind of the British way to pretend that things don’t matter not me.
Music Eyz: Yeah all those people that go on TV and say the gongs don’t matter. They are probably the ones that have set up shrines and thrust them in people’s faces when they get visitors “Oh did I tell you I have a Brit?”
Tina Barrett: <laughs> Yeah exactly. I am really proud of ours.
Music Eyz: So thats you and what the public know or see, tell us an interesting fact that may be a surprise to people.
Tina Barrett: Oh no. I can’t think. <laughs> I am going to sound really boring now. Something the S Club fans will probably know but most people won’t is that I am a classically trained dancer. I worked with artists such as Simply Red, Pulp, Jarvis Cocker and Toni Braxton.
Music Eyz: Wow huge names and a real mix of music
Tina Barret: Yeah I was lucky to get those jobs as a teenager, really loved it and gave me exposure to some influential people. Also, I wasn’t born in to pop. I have a really wide range of music tastes. I do listen to other music <laughs>
Oh I have another. I was an original member of Mys-Teeq
Music Eyz: Really? I had no idea
Tina Barrett: Yeah, it was me Alesha and Sabrina. They had no deal at the time. I had an audition for something completely different with Simon Fuller. He asked me to consider joining S Club. I couldn’t really turn it down. They had a deal, backing and everything in place.
The girls understood and it probably worked out for the best, as my replacement was probably better suited to the band as well. It could have all been so different.
Music Eyz: Yeah you could have been a judge on Strictly.
Tina Barrett: Yeah. No I think that is great and Alesha has done so well on those shows, she is brilliant.
Music Eyz: With S Club being so big, do you see that as a help or hindrance to you now. After all, they were huge!!!
Tina Barrett: Yeah I think that kind of thing depends on the person and how it effects them individually. I used to think how can I get past this, its just so big. But as you think things through, I realise that I owe everything to S Club. It got me in front of big audiences, provided a great platform to some of the most loyal fans. There is still a big S Club fanbase out there, they are the best fans ever, still so loyal and wanting us all to do well. Its natural others may be sceptical. It may take some people time to see me as Tina Barrett as me and not Tina Barrett of S Club.
But you just have to do what you have to do. Do what makes you happy.
Music Eyz: You know what thats so true. Live your life for you, don’t live it how others would want you to.
Tina Barrett: Exactly, you really need to make sure you are happy in everything you do.
Music Eyz: On that kind of theme, what sacrifices have you had to make? I mean you had this fame really young.
Tina Barrett: Yeah you’re right. I wasn’t some kind of child star though. The thing that made it different for me growing up though is that it made me more focussed on my career than most people my age. Its a tough industry, so you always have to work hard. I suppose I had to give up some things. Like I couldn’t go and stay and late and get drunk every night. Music business is long hours.
But its what I want to do and I have to put in the work. It is great fun. Its not like I have to study loads and do the same long hours and not have the excitement. Lawyers have just as much time and effort they have to put in, but they don’t have the perks.
Music Eyz: Yeah, I know what you mean. Hardly as exciting, I couldn’t be a lawyer.
Tina Barrett: <laughs> Yeah me neither
Music Eyz: So do you keep in touch with the S Club guys then?
Tina Barrett: Yeah we always keep in touch. The guys have all been tweeting, given me so much support. The thing is we get on and got on so well. We saw each other grow up. We know what makes each other tick and been through so much together. We had loads of good times but saw each other at the worse. When we have had no sleep and get ratty or when people are slating us. Just makes us tighter.
Music Eyz: That’s really good, you still talk about the S Club days with fondness and with a lot of passion. Could a full reunion be on the horizon?
Tina Barrett: Well I suppose it could happen, although there isn’t anything planned. The likes of Steps have done it and of course Take That are the comeback kings. I wouldn’t close it off. Like I said there is still a great fan base, so who knows. Right now I need to concentrate on this solo work.
Music Eyz: On to your solo career. We obviously reviewed ‘Fire’ its a departure from what people may expect of Tina, what was behind the change in style?
Tina Barrett: Well I am really in to my Hip Hop and RnB, much more in to that kind of music that standard pop. Fire was originally written as a much more soulful tune. But I experimented and listened to a few other people and moved it to a more dancey style. It suits me perfectly with my dance background and allows me to express myself.
Music Eyz: In our review we said the track really lends itself to some dance remixes, so it can make it on the club scene.
Tina Barrett: Yeah I would love that. Would love some great DJs to take it and deliver a new flavour for clubs. Weirdly it is really big in South America at the moment. Its been picked up by a couple of DJs and is getting a lot of club plays. I love that as I am half South American, my mum’s South American.
Music Eyz: Wow thats great.
Tina Barrett: Yeah thats the great thing about the internet you can hit a big audience quickly.
Music Eyz: So what were the influences behind the track? Why did you write it?
Tina Barrett: This is embarrassing. I wrote it one night because I couldn’t sleep. It started as a poem. Then I added a chorus and then built verses. I truly wanted to make a song that was a little darker than what people are used to seeing from me. Make sure it was also a little bit sassy.
Music Eyz: So taking on the fact its a little darker, what is the song about?
Tina Barrett: Its basically a story of a girl who is addicted to a boy. He is a bit of a bad boy, so its a bit wrong. But he seems to be addicted to her as well. Its that whole story and all the things that are right and wrong in those circumstances
Music Eyz: So looking at the video, taking the track. The shift from S Club Tina to what we see now is huge, what kind of reaction have you had?
Tina Barrett: Some people have said the weirdest things. What you have to remember in S Club I was very young. I used to wear loads of fake tan back then, now I don’t wear any and have cut back on the make-up. Some people have asked me “What have you done to your skin, have you bleached it?” I am amazed at that. Its also a little worrying, because there could be people reading these things and copying, it could be dangerous. Its just simply that I have grown up.
Music Eyz: Well yeah, you were really young and appealing to a younger audience back then.
Tina Barrett: That’s right, but we weren’t really trying to. Thats just what girls wore at the time. We wore crop tops and combats, I’m not exactly going to do that now. It was the fashion, the All Saints girls did it too.
Music Eyz: Its amazing when you think about it, but makes complete sense.
Tina Barrett: Well yeah. I don’t have a bob now, I am a woman. I enjoy being sexier and expressing myself. I am a woman, rather than a girl.
Music Eyz: So who are the biggest influences on you and your style and your music?
Tina Barrett: Well of course, friends and family are all a big part in my life. In terms of music, Prince is amazing. I find him so fascinating and he is a big influence. Obviously love Michael Jackson as well. I love Nicki Minaj as well. Her videos are amazing and her music is really doing it for me.
Music Eyz: Nicki Minaj is brilliant and she has real stand out. Kind of for the right reasons, not like Lady Gaga, who does it for the sake of it.
Tina Barrett: Yeah but I do love Lady Gaga. She really pushes the envelope. A real artist who wants to express herself and create an aura around her. I can relate to that. But Nicki Minaj is better from a music perspective.
Music Eyz: So if you can relate to Lady Gaga, could we see you in a meat dress?
Tina Barrett: No way it must have smelt. Imagine sitting next to her. But what she does I can relate to. Once in our dance class we painted ourselves white, wore shredded clothes and rolled around in loads of red to make it look like blood. Lady Gaga reminds me of college, because its the same kind of thing.
Music Eyz: So where has Tina been all these years? What have you been up to?
Tina Barrett: I needed time out from the industry. I was offered a lot of things, but decided that they weren’t right for me and needed a break. Its hard work. But I have always wanted to perform. I wasn’t sure about going solo at the start. I was writing for others and it seemed to make sense. It may not get massive critical acclaim but I am doing it for me.
Music Eyz: After such a big successful career, what has been the highlight to date?
Tina Barrett: In all honesty, this solo work, getting it off the ground. Its taken a lot of guts and determination for me to get here, it definitely hasn’t been easy. S Club now feels easier because everything was in place and done for us, we just had to get up and perform and enjoy our music. The fan base helped then and now though. The fan base is amazing, they still talk about S Club as if it were yesterday.
Music Eyz: So what next for you? Gigs, albums
Tina Barrett: Yeah as you can probably tell I love performing. I have done a few gigs and more to come. I did Gay Pride and loved that. I just love singing live. Its definitely the bit I really love.
Music Eyz: And an album?
Tina Barrett: Yeah I am working on it now and it should be out soon. I have worked with some great people on tracks, including the likes of William Orbit and Beenie Man.
Music Eyz: Wow, sounds like a varied mix and one to definitely look out for. Tina thank you so much for all the time you have given us and good luck with the single.
Tina Barrett: Thanks to you and all your readers.