‘We got dropped!’ Steps star Claire Richards opens up on life before joining iconic band

Sunday Brunch: Claire Richards reveals what she did before Steps

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Steps star Claire Richards joined Simon Rimmer and Tim Lovejoy on Channel 5’s Sunday Brunch to discuss her upcoming stint in War of the Worlds on stage. Whilst with the hosts, they discussed her success with pop group Steps and how the group were first formed back in the 90s. Claire revealed what she was doing before the group, to which she revealed her former girl band was “dropped” from their record label.

Introducing Claire to the show, Tim said: “There’s a lot of love though for Steps though, isn’t there, I was watching that video yesterday, and I just went ‘I love Steps’ nobody dislikes steps, do they?”

Laughing, Claire replied: “It’s taken a long time for people to admit that, people never used to like to admit it.

“Especially in the early days, it was all a bit guilty pleasure, but I found this time around a lot more people are saying, oh yeah, I love Steps!”

Steps recently celebrated 25 years of being a group, to which Tim asked: “What are you doing for the 25 years, you were doing some gigs that had to stop, is that right?”

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Confirming what Tim had asked, Claire said: “Yeah, we did a tour at the end of last year, so full-on arena tour which was one of the first to get out on the round.

“We had to postpone the last two, we got most of it done, so we did alright, after all these years!”

Tim went on to ask how the group was formed, as Claire revealed: “Yeah, it was just after Spice Girls came about.

“Because that’s how the Spice Girls got together through an advert at the back of the Stage, so I started buying it!”

Interrupting Claire, Simon asked: “What were you doing at the time Claire before Steps?”

Claire revealed: “I was in a girl band before, but then we got dropped, I was temping, I didn’t have any skills, so I was just doing reception work so.

“I can’t remember the exact words, but it was for a mixed group as well so, Ian ‘H’ Watkins and Lisa Scott-Lee had already done the audition and were in the band already.

“Three other people had left, so myself, Lee Latchford-Evans and Faye Tozer were found at the same audition!” to which Tim went on to ask: “And you were only signed up for one single, is that right?”

“Yeah, we had one single deal,” she said, “It had options for two more singles and an album, but it was literally one single, and that was 5,6,7,8.

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“And do you know what, it was Pete Waterman, it had nothing to do with us, we were all young, we were excited, and 5,6,7,8 did really well.

“But Pete saw something in us that nobody else really did, the idea behind Steps was to do line dancing songs forever.

“It certainly wouldn’t have lasted 25 years if that had happened, and yeah, Last Thing On My Mind was his idea as well.

“Then the album started being written, and we had One For Sorrow, and we recorded Tragedy for a charity album!”

Speaking on their biggest hit, Tragedy, Simon asked: “Was that the big turning point?”

Claire revealed: “Yeah, people coming up to us in the street doing that [tragedy dance] do you know what, I think that was our biggest hit.

“But I think it was One For Sorrow when people started to kind of actually they’re not a novelty act that’s a proper song, and they’re a proper group!”

Simon touched on how long it took for the five of them to before friend and gel, also speaking about their brief split.

Claire explained: “Yeah, it’s different this time around, I think when your young, there is so much pressure, competition almost as well.

“So, we’re there because we want to be now, 100 per cent, obviously we wanted to be then, but we were on a treadmill of work, and we didn’t stop for anybody!”

Sunday Brunch airs Sunday from 9:30am on Channel 4. 

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