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Love the Spice Girls? Pod of the Pops celebrates their career ahead of the 2019 reunion tour. What took you so long... Its time to respect the solo career of Emma Lee Bunton.

Baby Spice was one of the last to do solo release – but it was worth it. Pre-Forever, 1999, she recorded a song for the Pokemon movie soundtrack, (Hey you) Free up your mind. Yep, the Pokemon movie soundtrack.

I didn’t realise but Baby Bunton had a really solid solo launch. She presented her own TV show on VH1, in October 1999, at a similar time to releasing the Tin Tin Outs cover of “What I am”.

In 90s chart fashion it was in a battle for number 1. Against former bandmate, Geri Halliwells. Then after the Forever album, and hiatus, she went straight into presenting. Her current Heart FM gig is not a pleasant little surprise Baby had always been carving herself a position as a presenter. We’d wait to wait until April 2001 (What took you so long) to get Baby Bunton proper with the release of her debut single and its accompanying album, Girl Like Me.

Wrote the song herself with Richard Stannard, who had been a big part of the Spice and Spiceworld albums (2 become 1, Spice up your life). Songwriting credits on almost every track – theres two covers, but other than that. Consistently through her solo career, actually. I think with all of them that was the case. Even Victoria Beckham.

The album charted at number 4. Went gold. Critics were mixed – they said it was pleasant, she was pleasant, the songs were pleasant, it was just…. Pleasant. NME called her “Ewok spice”. It had a long metaphor comparing it to the movies that really wasn’t aimed at her target market.” her heart is in the right place but her soul is nowhere to be seen.”

She had 2 further singles, summery ballad “Take my breath away” – Its nice but it does sound very much like an album filler track. I think this was voted for as a single by fans on her website. Then we got the remixed version of “Were not gonna sleep tonight” – a party anthem about slopping around on the dancefloor until the early morning, just in time for christmas. Both saw diminishing chart returns. 5 for take my breath; and 20 for Sleep. Which ultimately led to her parting ways with Virgin records.

Of course, around this time she starts dating Jade Jones from Damage. They met in 1998 during Spice Girls peak mania. Apparently, she flirted with him trying to get him to help her programme her phone – classic.

They split a couple of times at the turn of the century. For about a year after their first year of dating, and then again in 2002 when she started working with Simon Fuller again. So, she may have not been single for long but when she was she went for top gradebatchelor. Dated:
- Rio Ferdinand
- Justin Timberlake (On Ellen this year he revealed he hooked up with one of them.

Their last split was in 2002 and was triggered by Bunton signing a new record deal with none other than spice Tsar, Simon Fuller/19 management. Apparently, Jade wasn’t that happy about it and Emma wanted to get back on it.

In 2003, Bunton had to move out of her mansion because neighbours moaned about the noise from her latenight partying (We’re not gonna sleep tonight). Gives you a bit of context for her new album. She reinvented herself as a 60s siren in 2003, when she released the Bond Theme sounding Free Me. We had to wait nearly two years but it was worth it. It peaked at number 5 and paved the way for the greatest song of her career, Maybe.

We also talk about:
- Her stint on Strictly come dancing
- Her attempt at Actress Spice: appearing in Absolutely Fabulous
- Bollywood Spice: Emma appeared in 2 Bollywood movies and a documentary
- Her controversial Howard Stern interview that resurfaced recently where he treats her
- Her third album, life in mono – cover of Downtown.

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