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Heather Small


Heather Small – ‘Colour My Life’ review

M People’s greatest hits are reworked along with one of Small’s solo classics.

Heather Small is one of the UK’s most distinctive vocalists, rising to fame in the 90s as part of the hugely successful dance group M People. During the band’s heyday, they released four studio albums with their last, ‘Fresco’, released in 1997. Once the band stopped recording together, Small found limited success as a solo artist releasing two studio albums – 2000’s ‘Proud’ and 2006’s ‘Close to a Miracle’. In the years since M People have reunited and toured together, and Small has toured as a solo artist. 16 years on from her last solo album, Small is back with ‘Colour My Life’, a greatest hits collection with a twist.

For ‘Colour My Life’, Small has collaborated with producer Robert Christie and the London Metropolitan Orchestra to re-record M People’s greatest hits along with her solo hit ‘Proud’, new track ‘Love Me Or Not’ and a cover of Paul Weller’s ‘You Do Something To Me’. As is becoming something of a tradition with artists looking back on their career, Small’s approach to ‘Colour My Life’ is to deliver something very familiar while giving it a new twist and she does that ably. Of course, it’s her voice that’s the star of the show and the minute you hear that husky tone, you’re transported back to the 90s when pop music was fun and not as contrived as it is now.

Opening with ‘Moving On Up’, the album throws you straight into the middle of a nostalgic party. Interestingly the song doesn’t sound all that different from the original version and Small’s voice is as strong as it ever was. New track ‘Love Me Or Not’ suggests Small still has an ear for a catchy pop tune and perhaps it’s time she gave us a new album of original material? One of the album’s more interesting moments is ‘How Can I Love You More?’, M People’s debut single from their first album ‘Northern Soul’. Sounding more like a song from a West End musical, at least initially, the song is softened for this new interpretation.

Elsewhere on the album Small’s enduring hit ‘Proud’ continues to prove timeless, ‘One Night In Heaven’ has a pumping energy that would still be a dancefloor hit today, and ‘Search For The Hero’ sounds absolutely heavenly. ‘Excited’, the fourth single from ‘Northern Soul’, sounds dreamier than the original version with Small’s big voice driving the instrumentation. The only moment on the album I didn’t love was ‘Don’t Look Any Futher’ which features Alfie Boe. For me, it’s not a patch on the original.

Why this wasn’t an M People project, rather than just a Heather Small project, is a little baffling given the majority of the track list is drawn from M People’s streak of 90s hits. Small recently suggested the band has moved on and don’t stay in touch, but the other members – Mike Pickering, Shovell and Paul Heard – were just as responsible for these songs becoming hits (and Pickering and Heard wrote most of them). Regardless ‘Colour My Life’ is a celebration of songs that will forever be in the pop hall of fame and it’s a timely reminder that pop would be a much more boring place without the incredible voice of Heather Small.

Heather Small - Colour My Life
Credit: eastwest

Track list: 1. Moving On Up 2. Love Me Or Not 3. How Can I Love You More 4. Proud 5. One Night in Heaven 6. Excited 7. Don’t Look Any Further (feat. Alfie Boe) 8. Search For The Hero 9. Sight For Sore Eyes 10. Colour My Life 11. You Do Something To Me Record label: Warner Music Release date: 29th July 2022 Buy ‘Colour My Life’ now


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