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Brit Awards Monday, 15 February, 1999, 12:56 GMT
Where have all the newcomers gone?
oasis
Oasis winning best British newcomer in 1995
The best newcomer prize is one of the most sought-after Brit awards - but it doesn't guarantee success in the future.

The Brit Awards
While more recent winners like Kula Shaker and Gabrielle are still active in the music industry - and Oasis have gone onto worldwide stardom, others seem to have disappeared entirely.

One is Betty Boo - who won 1991's award following Top 10 hits Where Are You Baby? And Doing The Do. But she quickly fell out of favour, and left her record company two years later.

But now she is making a comeback under her real name, Alison Clarkson - writing and co-producing songs for a new girl group from the men who brought the Spice Girls together.

The as-yet-untitled group have been created by Bob and Chris Herbert, who also created boy band 5ive. The experience has inspired her to return to the studio and start working on her own material again.

Launching girl group

betty boo
Betty Boo: Now writing for a new girl group set up by the creators of 5ive
She told BBC News Online: "It's very low-key at the moment and we're still trying to think of a name, but they're about to sign a huge record deal and they'll be launched in the summer.

"The industry and the marketing is so different now than when I was around - I just had lots of different influences and had to put them together.

"I've just been being lazy, playing tennis, and living a very suburban life. But working with these girls, I realised how much I liked writing and performing."

She was approached after the group told the Herberts how much they admired her sound.

"A lot of girls have been doing what I used to do, Geri Halliwell said on the Parkinson show how she was inspired by me - and I could do with a cut of her earnings!"

Now Clarkson is gearing up to attend her first Brit Awards in six years, saying: "It'll be nice to be a fly on the wall this time.

"My grandmother uses my Brit as a door stop - I gave it to her then and that's what she does with it now."

This year's nominees

billie
Billie: Shot to number one with Because We Want To
This year the Herberts' proteges' 5ive do battle with fellow pop acts Steps, Cleopatra, Another Level and Billie. Also nominated are cult Glasgow band Belle & Sebastian, club favourites Propellerheads, Southport-based blues-rock act Gomez, as well as pop singer Hinda Hicks and the Asian-influenced Cornershop.

Last year's winners, Welsh band Stereophonics, beat the hotly-tipped Embrace to the title and have gone from strength to strength. Their recent single Bartender And The Thief was their first number one and their second album, Performance And Cocktails is due out in March. A new album is also due next month from 1997's winners, Kula Shaker.

Tasmin Archer saw her name in lights in 1993 when her number one single Sleeping Satellite helped her to a Brit. She made a low-key comeback in 1996, and will be far away from the London Arena when the Brits are announced.

A spokeswoman said: "She took about 18 months off when the promotion for her last album, Blue, finished, and now she's in her home town of Leeds working on new material."

Beverley Craven's ballad Holding On made her a big name and 1992's best newcomer - but she has not been in the charts since 1993. However, she has continued to play concerts and she is planning to release a new album, Mixed Emotions, in May.

Previous Brit newcomers have fared better -1990 winner Lisa Stansfield's career is still going strong. Although hearthrobs Bros (1989) are no more, Luke Goss has been appearing on the London stage in the musical Grease, while brother Matt joined the group CO*BRA with Italian dance music producer Joe T Vannelli.

Wet Wet Wet are still going strong, 11 years after they were best newcomers - although drummer Tommy Cunningham left last year in a row over the band's musical direction.

Nostalgic fans will be hoping for another Happy Hour for the Beautiful South's Paul Heaton - nominated for best British group - and DJ Fatboy Slim - also known as Norman Cook and nominated for best dance act, best male and best single.

Heaton and Cook are old hands at Brits success - they won best newcomers with The Housemartins in 1987.

Links to more Brit Awards stories are at the foot of the page.


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