In the summer of ’95, an 18 year old Claire Richards entered a recording studio for the first time as part of all girl trio TSD. In their 18 months together, they toured the country performing to massive audiences with the likes of Ant & Dec and Peter Andre.
Unfortunatly for TSD the dream came to an end after their two singles “Heart & Soul” and “Baby I Love You”.
It was around 6 months later that Claire’s Mum, Nina spotted an advert in The Stage magazine advertising auditions for a boy / girl group. After some persuasion from her sister Gemma, Claire went to the audition and sang Tina Turners ‘River Deep, Mountain High’ and Eternals ‘I Am Blessed’ for her audition, she not only impressed management, but Faye, who was also at the audition, three rooms away.
Life changed forever for Claire, Lee, Faye, H and Lisa on May 7th 1997 as they formed “STEPS”. They released the line dancing classic 5,6,7,8 in December 1997, peaking at 14 it is officially one of the highest selling singles never to make it into the British top ten, selling almost 200,000 copies. However it was 5,6,7,8 that also became Steps first ever number one, hitting the top spot in Australia.
In the four years that followed, Steps would tour the world, sell out more arenas in 1999 than any other British Band, which saw them win the BRIT Award for Best Selling Live Act of the year’ in 2000. They released 15 singles and achieved 13 consecutive Top 5 singles, two of those “Heartbeat/Tragedy” and “Stomp” hit the number one spot. To date Steps have sold over 20 million singles and albums.
2001 saw Steps release “Gold: Greatest Hits”, their hugely successful greatest hits, this brought with it the “Gold Tour”, Steps’ biggest arena tour to date. Steps shocked the pop world on 26th of December 2001 by announcing they were to split up – breaking the hearts of many fans across the world.
Claire didn’t stay out of the spotlight for long, as she teamed up with H to record an album together. Another You, Another Me was released in November 2002, with the title track having been written by Benny & Bjorn from Abba. Along side the recording of the album H&Claire became presenters of ITV’s SM:TV with Cat Deely and Brian Dowlng. After three top ten singles and the release of the album, H&Claire took some time out to work on their own projects.
After four years out of the lime light, Claire announced in OK! Magazine that she was engaged to her first love Reece, and they were expecting their first child together. Charlie was born on the 8th of May 2007.
2008 saw the proper start of Claire’s comeback. Claire and Reece were planning their wedding for November 2008, which was documented in a BBC3 documentary “Claire Richards: My big fat wedding.” The documentary focused around Claire’s weight loss, a battle she’s been fighting since she first auditioned for STEPS. Claire successfully got down to a size 10 for the big day, and on November 1st 2008 Reece and Claire married.
Having lost nearly 5 stone, Claire released her fitness DVD “5 Step Fat Attack” on 26th of December 2008.
Since returning Claire has been part of several TV shows, she’s learnt to sing opera for ITV’s “Popstar to Operator”. She learnt to dance with fire for ITV’s “Get Your Act Together” and she was a housemate on Channel 5’s Celebrity Big Brother. Claire finished fourth.
In 2011, Claire took part in a Sky Living documentary “Steps Reunion”. The show had Steps get together to discuss the issues behind their untimely 2001 split and to discuss the possibility of working together again.
The series ended with Steps’ Ultimate Collection album entering at #1 on the charts, and more dates being added to their tour due to demand.
And now, finally, almost 20 years after she started, Claire is recording her debut solo album. She’s teamed up with legendary producer Steve Anderson (The man behind the likes of Kylie, Leona Lewis & Delta Goodrem) and songwriter Karen Poole (Kylie, Lily Allen & Will Young) to record an album that she’s hoping people will get to hear later in 2015.