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EDITIONS
 Monday, 30 December, 2002, 11:01 GMT
Atomic Kitten's perfect year
Atomic Kitten
2002 was a successful year for the trio

2002 has been a phenomenal year for pop favourites Atomic Kitten.

Atomic Kitten - Lil McClarnon, Tash Hamilton and Jenny Frost - completed their first ever UK tour, had number one single and album simultaneously and published their autobiography in 2002.

Hamilton even found time to have a baby.

Some people's fans are obsessive and it can be quite scary

Lil McClarnon
But the group's journey to the top has been no pleasure cruise. Two years ago, Atomic Kitten were on the verge of fading into obscurity.

With disappointing debut album sales and their record company's axe hanging over them, they made a last-ditch bid for survival with the single Whole Again.

It topped the charts for four weeks and they haven't looked back since.

Punishing

Atomic Kitten ended the year by releasing The Tide Is High (Get The Feeling) and double A-side The Last Goodbye/Be With You back-to-back.

Lil McClarnon
McClarnon looks forward to a long career in pop
Their schedule is punishing, but McClarnon says the pop star lifestyle is manageable.

"I haven't had any other job so I can't compare it to a 9 to 5 job.

"I left school to come to this job and I just accept this as a normal job."

Despite their success, the group come across as down-to-earth. McClarnon says this has a lot to do with her home city.

"That's a Liverpool thing. People are always offering to help each other, whether they know each other or not.

"I was in Liverpool the other day and this lady was struggling with her bags and I offered to help her."

Determined

Atomic Kitten's members seem to have a genuine affection for each other.

McClarnon says this is reflected in their Right Here Right Now video and DVD, which covers their excitement over Hamilton's pregnancy as well as videos and live performance footage.

Will Young
Atomic Kitten support Pop Idol-style programmes
Unlike Kerry Katona, who left Atomic Kitten after falling pregnant with Westlife singer Bryan McFadden's baby, the pregnant Hamilton was determined to re-join the group.

She was back at work just weeks after giving birth to son Josh in August.

McClarnon says the baby is gorgeous, but he hasn't made her feel broody: "I don't want a baby of my own, thank you very much."

Atomic Kitten's fans have supported them through thick and thin and McClarnon describes them as "really nice people".

"Some people's fans are obsessive and it can be quite scary - they threaten each other and say: 'He's mine' or 'Don't speak to her', but our fans say: 'We like Atomic Kitten - if you do, that's cool; if you don't, that's your choice'."

'Merrier'

Much of Atomic Kitten's material appeals to the same audience who follow the Popstars and Pop Idols of this world.

McClarnon says she does not have time to watch TV talent shows, but she is not opposed to them.

"I think it's good for the industry. The more the merrier. There are 40 spaces to fill in the chart every week."

But unlike many of the wannabes who appear on these shows, McClarnon's heart was not always set on a pop career.

She started doing four A-levels, before dropping her studies to concentrate on the group.

"When I was at school, all I ever wanted to do was law," she says.

"My family are really career-minded. There were bookcases all over the house. It was like: 'Don't read that book, read this classic'.

"I used to read really grown-up books - just so I could learn things and have a full-on conversation with my dad."

Nonetheless, McClarnon intends to stick with the music business.

Festive season

In 10 years' time, she imagines herself in the studio. "Not performing, but writing at least."

For the time being, McClarnon is looking forward to spending time with her family over the festive season.

Asked what her dream Christmas present would be, she says: "A month off work."

Somehow, Atomic Kitten's schedule is unlikely to allow it.


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See also:

25 Sep 02 | England
15 Sep 02 | Entertainment
10 Sep 02 | Entertainment
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