Melanie B (born 29 May 1975 as Melanie Janine Brown and also known as Melanie Brown, Mel B or Mel G, in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England) is a British r&b singer, songwriter and actress known as one of the members of the girl band, the Spice Girls, where she was known as "Scary Spice", apparently because of her in-your-face attitude and her hairstyle.
In 1998 while the Spice Girls were touring and Missy Elliott called her to ask if she was interested in singing a song called "I Want You Back", which went on to become part of the soundtrack to the film Why Do Fools Fall in Love. The song was recorded in one afternoon and went on to sell 218,000 copies. It was the 82nd best seller of 1998 in the UK, giving Brown her first and only #1 in her own country. She became the first Spice girl to release a solo single. and the first to get a number one solo single. The news came the day that the Spice Girls played their last concert of the World Tour at the Wembley Stadium in front of 52,000 fans.
A week earlier, on September 13, Brown became Melanie G, having married dancer Jimmy Gulzar (father of her then unborn child). He was also featured in the video to "I Want You Back" and went on to direct Melanie's second solo video for the single "Word Up", in 1999.
Brown hosted the 1998 Edition of the Music Of Black Origin (MOBO's). She also started working on her first solo album with producers such as Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (Janet Jackson, Prince) who also worked on the Spice Girls' third album: Forever. On the 19th of February 1999, her daughter Phoenix Chi was born.
Melanie's second solo single, "Word Up" (a cover of a song by Cameo), was released in May, and due to her pregnancy, Brown didn't appear in the video. It was animated and was considered too explicit by some. It was censored in a few countries. The song was part of the soundtrack to Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and the singer had to shoot a different version of the video for the American market, in which the character of Mini-Me (Verne Troyer) is featured. The single charted at #14 in the UK. The disappointing results were partly due to a problem that made the weekend sales of all the singles released in that week not be counted.
In the same year, Brown hosted a TV Show called Pure Naughty about black music. She interviewed artists like Usher, hosted the 1999 Edition of the MOBOs with Wyclef Jean, and took part in a short film called Fish. She kept on working on her debut album and was dealing with marriage problems; by summer she had filed for divorce, which was finalized in January of 2000. The custody battle for her daughter was highly publicized; Brown won custody but large as large alimony settlement was awarded to her ex husband.
In September of 2000 she released the first single from the it, "Tell Me". The single went to #4 in the UK charts with about 40,000 sales in its first and ultimately sold approximately 100,000 copies, and was the 158th best seller of 2000. "Hot", Melanie's first solo album was released one month later, October 3, and it only sold 8,000 copies in its first week, limping in at a disappointing #28 and falling out of the top 50 the next week.
Following the release of Feels So Good, which was only a relative hit, rumours started circulating that if her next single flopped, Melanie would be dropped by her record company, Virgin Records. In May Melanie performed a small set at the London G-A-Y Astoria club, her only solo performance until 2004. Eventually a 3rd single was released in June 2001, "Lullaby", a pop number dedicated to her daughter which was accompanied by a very simple video shot in Morocco and featured Brown and Phoenix Chi. The media criticized Brown's child's participation in the video and artwork; they labelled Brown as "Desperate Spice", intimating she was using her child as a marketing tool. The single peaked at #13 and Virgin promptly dumped Brown from their label.
From 2001 to 2004 Melanie B concentrated on a variety of projects. She hosted a number of TV shows such as This Is My Moment (a talent show) and shot a documentary called Voodoo Princess which got many good reviews. She took part in a British drama, Burn It and shot her first movie, Lethal Dose, released on DVD in 2004. She also took part in smaller projects such as Top Of The Pops and The All Star Animal Awards. She has appeared in an advert for the Yorkshire tourist board in a series which included contributions from other Yorkshire-born celebrities. She also played a long run of shows as part of the cast for the Vagina Monologues which was a big success in the UK. In 2003 she moved to the US with her daughter and has stated she plans to reside there permenantly. She shot another movie there, The Seat Filler, directed by Will Smith and starring Destiny's Child star Kelly Rowland.
In 2002 she released her autobiography, Catch A Fire, which reached #7 in the official books chart and saw her touring the UK to promote it with a run of booksignings.
In April 2004 she was approached to take part in 'Rent'. She played the role of Mimi, a drug-addicted young girl, and achieved positive reviews. A few weeks later she played her second and last gig to date with the cast of 'Rent' in a New York club showcasing some new songs she had written. The songs received positive feedback she decided to release them a year later through an independent label called "Amber Cafe".
The first single from the album, "Today", was released only in the UK in June 2005. It made the singles chart at a highly disappointing #41 selling around 1,000 copies in its first week. The album, L.A. State of Mind, was released the 27th of June 2005 in a double edition (regular edition and a limited edition which came with a DVD featuring a 30 minutes documentary of Brown in L.A.) charting at an even more disappointing #453 selling just 670 copies in its first week and dropping down to number #1,581 the next week.
It was announced on February 24,2012 that Brown was planning on releasing her third studio album in Summer 2012 along with a Second Season of It's A Scary World. Brown also revealed that the Spice Girls will be having some projects later in the year dealing with the musical