'HOW WOULD THE OTHERS DESCRIBE me'.’ l‘at. llumpty [)umpty with a limp. hurgh. arrgh. I don‘t kitty” don‘t care.’ I

‘Ilumpty Dumpty’ isn't first name that springs to mqu when describing Mel Blatt. one quarter of... ~ the all-singing. all-dancing All Saints. Along with half-Jamaican. half— Barbadian Shaxnay T. Lewis. and (‘anadian/linglish sisters Natalie and Nicole Appleton. the four mates who have known each other since they were kids are the newly crowned queens of the British pop aristocracy.

Whether sighing seductively through the heartbreak harmonies of hit singles like 'Never liver“. sashaying through countless TV interviews or beaming out from yet another front cover. All Saints have captured the heads. the hearts and the wallets of a large part of the population. Alloying a sultry sexiness (check the sirens song of ‘Booticall') to a soulful take on hip hop and R&B. All Saints draw their fans from both sides of the gender divide. if not always for the satne reasons.

So. ‘Ilumpty Dumpty"? Not Mel. Think bee-stung lips; voice like a younger I’elicity Kendall; doe—like eyes; and a laugh that gurgles more than a little roguishly.

More obviously. the word ‘pregnant‘ looms as large as Mel‘s belly. She's currently expecting her first child with boyfriend Stuart '/.ender. bassist with Jamiroquai. If all goes well. then on 20 November. Mel will give birth to a baby girl. They‘ve decided on a name but Mel says she and Stuart aren‘t going to make any final decisions ‘until she comes out and we‘ll see if the name suits the face‘.

Their daughter will round off a year that has had more peaks for the All Saints than the sales boom in combat trousers and crop tops -~ which their distinctive look has inspired. The pop equivalent of ()—(i()mph in three seconds. they‘ve released three Number One singles.



'l'm pretty strong and firm and I wanted a child. I've got one, I'm dealing with it and I'm dealing with my career at the same time. It's not a problem.’ Mel Blatt

.110 5 been nomina” _ F fit; awards for Best (it'oup. est Album. Best Single and Best Breakthrough (it'ottp all in less than a year. Most recently. they won the Music Of Black ()rigin award for the video of their last single ‘L'nder The Bridge‘.

'11 was cool.‘ purt‘s Mel of the award ceremony. ‘We were there last year. right at the beginning when we‘d

a Nun '

.jl "0’

just started. so it was nice to go back

there after all the success we‘ve had. It was good to have a table. We didn‘t have a table last year.’

Success can also be measured in other ways. In the rarefied air of the


the perceived problems of mixing motherhood with being a pop star. Along with Posh and Scary Spice. Mel Blatt has been held accountable for encouraging young girls to fall pregnant and chastised for not getting married before daring to have sex. Of course. the split of All Saints has been predicted because. obviously. unlike countless other young women. there is no way that Mel will be able to juggle a job and a child. Doh. Needless to say. Mel hasn‘t let people‘s expectations of what constitutes proper pop star behaviour stand in her way.

‘I don‘t let there be this expectation of me.‘ she says. ‘The girls know I‘m

celebrity A-list. famous people attrggtrx.magisgong and firm and that I wanted

famous people and. while .\1.-v‘(°I't'it"fs‘r fallen for the Jamiroquai bassé‘player. Natalie is head over heels witflkids TV ptpsenfet' Jamie 'l‘heakston. T'hough

,gSlia/nay's love‘l'i't’e is shrouded in. ,

mystery. Nicole more-than makes up

for it with her gossiptas‘fic‘ relationship with Robbie \\"il‘l‘l;.t_1_1,15,..'STtC and Robbie are recording together in the studio at the moment. 'They‘ll do anything to be together.‘ giggles Mel.

So what are they all like'.’ What sort of person sells millions of records before the age that tnost of tts have even decided what kind ofjob we want to do'.’

According to Mel. Sha/nay is ‘shy. not shy. funny. not funny. serious‘: Nicole or Nicci is ‘my best mate. with a heart of gold and so funny. Natalie is bossy. interested in everything and quite serious. She‘s got this motherly thing going on.‘

Motherly thing or not. Mel is not one to encourage much in the way of broody clucking.

‘She tries . . . She was always the big sister.‘ says Mel of Natalie. ‘When I was at school she was always with the slightly older ones that we couldn‘t hang out with because she was too cool. Now she tries to tell me and Nic stuff. but we just don't listen and we‘re

just as big as her now'.‘

Natalie isn‘t the only one who has tried to tell Mel what to do. Since her pregnancy was announced. countless column inches have been devoted to



a child.T"ve got one. I’m dealing with it and I'm dea‘ ’ng with my career at the same time. It is not a problem.‘

Mel is taking the next three months offto be with her daughter (‘lt‘s not going to be a break for me.‘ she giggles. ‘I shall be a full-on mumfl but the All Saints hit machine will keep on rolling. There's the new single ‘War Of Nerves‘ out on 16 November and there’s also a remix album and a limited edition box set coming out just before Christmas.

loads of different people have worked on that.’ considers Mel. 'I'm not exactly sure who. I haven't seen the list because that‘s Pete's domain. Pete Tong. we let him deal with the trendy dance stuff.‘

If that‘s the immediate future taken care of. then the long term is a lot less clear. There‘s no five—year world domination plan on the All Saints‘ drawing board.

‘We don‘t look that far forward.’ explains Mel. ‘lt‘s such a fickle business. It‘s hard to say and I wouldn‘t want to jinx anything. In live years. we might be on the third or fourth album. the second world tour . . . Who knows'.’ We could all be retired. living on a beach somewhere.‘

All Saints play Edinburgh Playhouse, Sun 18 Apr; Glasgow SECC, Tue 15 June. War Of Nerves is released on

Mon 16 Nov.

' “I , P ‘4 t 4

5 t9 “lo: t908 THE “ST 15