Relive your teenage years, ladies! East 17 are back in town (sort of)
Faces in the line-up may have changed since the ’90s, but the new-look East 17 – which sees Robbie Craig of Artful Dodger fame on lead vocals – sound better than ever. So reckons original band member Terry Coldwell, in this interview with our friends at Hype…
East 17’s band name comes from the postcode for Walthamstow, in London. What was it like growing up there? Walthamstow was a tough neighbourhood. Growing up there was fine but we were doing things that kids do, like getting into trouble.
What were you doing when Stay Another Day reached No.1 in the UK charts back in ’94? I was round my mother and father’s house having Christmas dinner and listening to the charts on the radio. Everyone was very quiet as the charts counted down from No.10 to No.1, and when the presenter said that East 17 was No.1 all of my family cheered. What an amazing moment: I’ll never forget it.
Stay Another Day has become a perennial Christmas classic. How do you feel when you hear it these days? Everywhere I go at Christmas the song is being played, even when I go food shopping. But I’m very proud of the song and it’s the legacy that will stay around even when I’m long gone.
What were the pitfalls of success at such an early age? There were a few pitfalls along the way but more than anything I’m very grateful to have seen the world and experienced many cultures and countries. It’s shaped my character very well: seeing how life is on both sides of the scales, both rich and poor.
East 17 have split up and reformed with different line-ups down the years. Tell us about the make up of the band at the moment. The line-up is John Hendy, Robbie Craig and me, Terry Coldwell. We actually met Robbie for the first time at a gig in Dubai. He’s on the same booking agency as East 17 so this is how we linked together. Robbie is a fantastic vocalist and songwriter who’s won awards and had chart success himself. John, Robbie and I have become like brothers. We sound amazing together and it feels right.
Are you making fresh music? Yes, East 17 will be in the studio very soon and we’re all very excited about making new songs.
What piece of advice would you give to youngsters breaking into the music industry today? Be positive, work hard, don’t give up, and be nice to everyone.
In 2011 you performed on The X Factor in Romania. If talent shows like that had been around when you’d started out, would you have entered? I’m not sure. Maybe yes. Then again, maybe not.
Are talent shows good for the music industry or are they the devil in disguise? I think talent shows have helped the public get into the music industry. But everything seems to be about reality TV nowadays, which has made it harder for other artists in the industry.
What bands or artists influence you these days? We love all kinds of music – soul, R&B, dance, swing, pop, whatever. A good song is a good song whatever genre it is.
You’re coming to Dubai on March 7. Have you had a chance to explore Dubai before? We love Dubai and we’re really excited to be heading there again. Last year, John and I had Christmas dinner on the beach, which felt very surreal. We’ll explore more this time around too.
Millions of young girls had posters of East 17 up on their bedroom walls in the ’90s. Is there still mass hysteria amongst female fans at your gigs? Yes. Always.
The Music Room, Majestic Hotel, Mankhool Road, Bur Dubai. Tel: (04) 5012534. Cost: Dhs100. How: Taxi: Majestic Hotel