90s pop icons B*Witched on why Pride festivals are always the best shows to play
Author: Marcus Wratten
It has been 25 years since Irish girl band B*Witched shot to the top of the UK charts with their smash hit “C’est La Vie”.
What followed was a string of wildly successful singles, including “Rollercoaster” and “To You I Belong”, an ITV documentary series and a tour with Britney Spears. They even managed to bag a top ten hit in the US.
A quarter of a century after launching their debut hit, and B*Witched – made up of the original, double-denim divas Edele and Keavy Lynch, Lindsay Armaou and Sinéad O’Carroll – are still going strong.
PinkNews: B*Witched are headlining Margate Pride on 12 August. You’ve performed at a few other Pride events this year, too. How does an LGBTQ+ audience differ from any other?
Edele: To be honest, they’re my favourite events to do. I always feel that everybody who turns up is wearing their heart on their sleeve, and they’re ready to have the freest, best day of their lives. We can feel that coming up to us on the stage, and we kind of get sucked in with that energy, then give it back.
From day one to Margate Pride, B*Witched has always had a lot of love from the LGBTQ+ community. Did you recognise that connection when you were starting out, and why do you think the gays love you?
I think it’s because our band is really easy-going and fun and free. I don’t think we were super aware of it at the time [but] as the first year unfolded, we could see the freedom that we were giving the LGBT community and how we made them feel. It’s such a beautiful gift to be able to give people. Equally, I think we’re really lucky to have their support because we’ve had an awful lot back from them.
We absolutely know 100 per cent that we’re just going to have one of the best shows ever when we’re playing a Pride event. It’s so gorgeous to be welcomed like that.
Other than Pride events, B*Witched has taken to the stage at London’s club G-A-Y a few times. What’s the experience there like?
That is a wild night out. It’s absolutely amazing. We just love playing that show. When we do G-A-Y it usually gives us a little bit more freedom creatively. We normally try to come up with something different than what we would everywhere else. We try to put our own touch on it.
Do you remember when your first performance in a queer venue was?
We did G-A-Y. I think it was around “Jesse Hold On” [the band’s fourth single, released in 1999], so that’s pretty early on. We’re dressed up as boys in the video momentarily – not that everybody actually knew that, I don’t think – so we brought that to the stage. I think we had some scaffolding there, and we dressed up as boys then ripped all our clothes off.
You’ve been moving and grooving to the “C’est La Vie” choreography for 25 years now. At this point, do you even need to rehearse it?
A lot of the time we know what we’re doing but we do need to every now and again. Also, we’ve put a new spin on a lot of the routines.
It was so funny because the other day, we did a gig and my sound went down. I was just getting what I could barely hear from the front of house. Because I was concentrating so much on hearing the timing from the front of house, I reverted back in my mind to the routines that we were used to. I was doing the old routine, and the girls were looking at me going: “What is she doing?”
We’re seeing a huge renaissance of 90s British pop bands, from B*witched to Steps and S Club. Why do you reckon that is?
Lockdown put a lot of pressure on a lot of people, and they just wanted to find a little bit of freedom again and be somewhere they actually felt happy and where they remembered things being a bit easier. I think the 90s are very much about that for a lot of people.
A lot of the 80s and 90s babies love you, of course, but what about Gen-Z? Do you ever get approached by the teens of today who are big fans?
Yeah, we do because I think TikTok opens you up to a new kind of audience, which is lovely. It’s quite weird when you see teenagers singing in the front row. They’re just like: “We came across you guys on TikTok and thought that it was really cool.”
Twenty-five years on from “C’est La Vie” hitting number one, how do you reflect on how that felt at the time? You were all so young and were introduced to a world of fans overnight.
We were just hoping for maybe a top 40 or top 20, we hadn’t even been considering what a number one would look like. It was the weirdest day. [The song’s producers] were like: “You guys are number one”, and we said: “Are you joking?”
Even telling you now, I can feel shivers right down my body, exactly like I did that day. I remember Lindsay screaming and running out of the room. It’s really hard to compute: these four girls from Dublin, rehearsing for their dreams one minute, and in the next, you’re being told you’re top of the UK charts.
I remember touching down in Australia for the first time. We went straight to the beach looking absolutely wrecked from a 24-hour flight. The whole beach stopped talking and just stared, watching us. It was at that moment that I thought: “Oh gosh, something’s really going on.”
B*Witched will headline Margate Pride on 12 August.
Actual Story on Pink News
Author: Marcus Wratten