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Tuesday, 1 October, 2002, 13:11 GMT 14:11 UK
Hear'Say split up
The group are said to be tired of constant criticism
Popstars group Hear'Say have split up less than two years after first entering the limelight, citing pressure and public abuse.

They were formed after winning the ITV talent reality show and released their first single in March last year.

The break-up was confirmed by their management company as well as record label Polydor, with the group blaming public hostility and the rigours of music industry life for the break-up.

It's a fad thing, a novelty - it's like a pair of trainers

Suzanne Shaw
In a statement, Polydor said the group felt "they had lost the support of the public and Hear'Say had come to a natural end".

"The group's first plan is to spend more time with their families."

Pop Idol winner Will Young said he did not fear a backlash against artists chosen from talent shows because he was voted for by the public.

"Hear'Say were chosen by judges. But you never know how long it is going to last."

After two number one singles, sales started to slow and they were overtaken by Liberty X, the group formed from the runners-up on Popstars.

Polydor pointed to the record sales of the first single Pure and Simple which sold 1.2 million copies and their first album which shifted more than a million.

It's over as a phenomenon, it's no longer exciting,

Andre Paine, NME

They were also hit in February this year, when member Kym Marsh left Hear'Say and were criticised when, after an open audition, they chose a dancer they already knew.

Band-member Danny Foster said insults from members of the public in the street and excessive cynicism had helped hasten the split.

Hard work

He was quoted in the Sun saying: "Hear'Say was a phenomenon at the time and people have seen us grow and evolve into pop stars.

"We were just cleaners and waiters. It's been hard work and the pressure has got too much.

"Two months ago we were held up by a gunman and the next day people thought we had made it up as a publicity stunt."

Kym Marsh
Kym Marsh was the first to leave
It is not uncommon for manufactured acts to have short lifespans and the Australian version of Popstars produced a group that lasted only two-and-a-half years.

But the production line of manufactured acts looks like continuing.

ITV's Popstars: The Rivals is currently in the process of creating two groups, one consisting of girls and one of boys while the BBC is about to launch Fame Academy.

But music critics believe the public has tired of the practice.

"It's over as a phenomenon, it's no longer exciting," Andre Paine, of British music magazine NME, said.

"Popstars and Hear'Say took the magic away.

"The public may have given them a fair run but there's no star quality or mystique. No one really believed in it properly."

'Brutal' education

Hear'Say member Suzanne Shaw agreed.

She said: "It's a fad thing, a novelty. It's like a pair of trainers, one minute they're in and the next minute they're out."

Singer Myleene Klass said they had had a "brutal" education in the tough life within the music industry.

Lisa Scott-Lee and Johnny Shentall
Johnny Shentall's arrival caused problems
She added: "If I went to see a pop band I'd want 100% and we can't do that so we are splitting."

Brother Don Klass, an aspiring actor, said the abuse directed at his sister was unacceptable.

"It's not like she's a politician, she's in a pop group, you know?

"It does hurt when I see stories about my sister in the paper. I've seen the media build this group up and then take them down again.

"But I know that my sister will work twice as hard to build herself back up again."

Smash Hits editor Lisa Smosarski told BBC News Online rows in Hear'Say had alienated fans.

"They have had problems from within the band, particularly the disputes between Myleene and Kym. Fans were forced to take sides.

"When Kym left she took a lot of their fans with her. Johnny Shentall coming in also caused problems."

Smorsarski added Hear'Say's members would find solo careers as much of a struggle as their life in a group.

The BBC's Kevin Geoghegan
"Just over 18 months ago Hear'Say seemed to have the world at their feet"
Hear'Say split


In pictures


See also:

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