“It was quite unusual,” Fuller recalls in a recent interview, “for these five young girls to confidently storm into the office and say, ‘You have to lead us, and we’re not leaving until you agree.” It was just very contagious, that energy.”
From the girls’ perspective, “it just clicked,” Chisholm said. “When we met him, it felt very much like he understood.”
Rather than turn the Girls into clones of each other, as the Herberts intended, Fuller told them to focus on who they really were and just call it. “If you like pink and fuzzy and your mom is your best friend, be pink 24/7 and wear fuzzy all the time. If you’re the boisterous northern girl who has no airs and grace, sexy and domineering and boisterous, be that ,” Fuller explained. This idea, Fuller revealed in a 2014 BBC documentary, was inspired by Lennox, who, when he met the Girls, encouraged them to “hoard” their personalities.
The approach suited the Spice Girls perfectly.
The band’s “girl power” message, Chisholm said, also gave the group a focus: “In the beginning, we wanted to make music and have fun and travel the world and do all those fun things. But the messages gave us more motivation.” We were expressing ourselves, as young women, in the mid 90’s, it fueled this fire.”
Their first single, “Wannabe”, was released in the UK on July 8, 1996 and by the end of that year reached number 1 in over 20 countries. Their debut album, ‘Spice’, released in November 1996, also went to number 1 and was nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize, awarded to the best British or Irish album of the year.
“It was like, you know, the preparation, the waiting, the frustration,” Chisholm said. “And then ‘Wannabe’ is released and bam – just two years of chaos.”