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Claire Richards is “always talking” with her Steps bandmates about what to do next.
The 46-year-old singer is part of the 1990s pop group alongside Faye Tozer, Lee Latchford-Evans, Lisa Scott-Lee, and Ian ‘H’ Watkins - who since reuniting in 2017 have enjoyed a string of hit albums and sellout arena tours - and she has now released her second solo album ‘Euphoria’ but teased that fans won’t have to wait “too long” until the ‘Tragedy’ hitmakers are back on the scene once again as a five-piece.
She exclusively told BANG Showbiz: “We've no solid plans for anything. I think because we said at the end of last year that we were going to have a little bit of a break. And we did do Brighton Pride, so it almost feels like we haven't had one! And obviously, I've got the album and hopefully, next year will be spent doing more of kind of solo stuff.
"Probably towards the end of next year, we'll start talking about what we're going to do. But yeah, we're always talking to each other and coming up with ideas and things so I'm pretty sure it won't be too long.”
Meanwhile, the ‘One For Sorrow’ singer – who reached the Top 10 in 2019 with her debut solo record ‘My Wildest Dreams’ – has now released a covers collection of tracks originally recorded by her own music idols including the likes of Karen Carpenter and Celine Dion and explained how they all influenced the kind of singer she has become.
She said: “The idea for it came from a conversation with [producer] Steve Anderson about how I ended up singing the way I do really, I didn't start off singing like this, I was very much musical theatre and a bit like Julie Andrews, very well spoken and every word was pronounced properly and, and it wasn't pop at all.
“And then I discovered Karen Carpenter and started discovering these voices that told stories. With musical theatre songs, you tell a story through song, but I think through pop music, it's there are not many people who can kind of deliver a song in a way that makes you believe every single word that they're saying. People like Karen Carpenter, Whitney Houston, and Celine.
“And a lot of those, like Whitney didn't write her own songs. And Karen Carpenter didn't write her own songs.
“But they have a way of telling that story through their voice. And that was what I became a little bit obsessed with, I think, and certainly with Karen Carpenter, I just spent hours and hours and hours just listening to her and her voice. I wanted to sing every single record exactly the same as her and would just sing along and every little inflection and it really taught a lot about my voice and what it was capable of and what kind of singer I've turned into.”
The tracklist includes Claire’s version of Donna Summer classic ‘This Time I Know It’s For Real’, ‘Xanadu’ – originally made famous by late ‘Grease’ star Olivia Newton-John – and a duet with fellow pop star Delta Goodrem on Barbra Streisand classic ‘No More Tears (Enough is Enough
Claire added: “Delta was the top of the list and Steve said, ‘Well, I can ask her’. I said, ‘Well, that'd be great. I'm not expecting her to say yes, but she can only say No, right? What's that's the worst that can happen’. And she said yes. We got our first choice! I just couldn't quite believe it!”
Claire Richards releases her new album ‘Euphoria’ on 25 August.