Claire Richards

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About Claire Richards

British singer Claire Richards became famous in the hugely popular '90s pop quintet Steps before departing the group in 2001. Following the success of their 2011 re-formation, she tentatively began a solo career, finally releasing her debut solo single "On My Own" in 2018. Her smooth, retro-influenced pop sound showcased her impressive vocal technique. Born in 1977 and brought up in Hillingdon in west London, Richards began her pop career in 1995 in the short-lived girl group TSD, who scored a couple of minor hits on the U.K. charts. Following their demise, she briefly worked as a receptionist before winning an audition to become part of the new group Steps. The quintet's fun, catchy pop was wildly popular, and over the next three years they toured the world, scored numerous hit singles, and sold millions of copies of their first three albums, with their sophomore effort Steptacular giving them a U.K. number one. But in 2001, the group split after Richards and fellow member Ian "H" Watkins left to form their own duo, H & Claire. The duo released three U.K. Top Ten singles and one album, Another You Another Me, in 2002 before dissolving the following year. Richards started a family and spent several years out of the spotlight. In 2008 she appeared on a reality TV weight loss show, revealing that she had suffered from depression and an eating disorder. In 2011 she returned to music with an appearance on the TV talent contest Popstar to Operastar. She finished in third place, winning acclaim for her performance of the fiendishly difficult "Der Hölle Rache" (the "Queen of the Night" aria) from Mozart's The Magic Flute. That year, Steps re-formed, appearing in a reality TV show about their reunion. They released a greatest-hits package and, in 2012, a Christmas album, before going on hiatus, during which they all pursued solo projects. Richards took her time, releasing only a couple of tracks to tide fans over in 2015 -- stripped-down acoustic versions of the Steps songs "One for Sorrow" and "Deeper Shade of Blue." Steps returned in 2017 with their fifth album, Tears on the Dancefloor, and embarked on a successful U.K. tour. The following year Richards began her solo career in earnest with her debut single "On My Own." It and the follow-up singles "Deep Waters" and "End Before We Start" had a smooth, retro-influenced pop sound showcasing her impressive vocal technique. Her debut album, My Wildest Dreams was scheduled to be released by Sony in February 2019. ~ John D. Buchanan

Hillingdon, London, England
17 August 1977

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