As the daughter of a black man and a white woman, Melanie Janine Brown, born on born May 29, 1975, learned to stand up for herself at an early age, battling bullying and criticism for being mixed race and coming to terms with her identity. This childhood challenge was probably one of the main factors that helped mold her strong personality.

Melanie B was a born performer, gifted with tons of energy which she was able to pour into dance classes she took when she was a little girl. She had her first taste of fame at the age of seventeen, when her mother signed her up for the Miss Leeds Weekly News competition–without her knowing it! She ended up winning the contest and took home a car and a Disneyland vacation. Eventually, she also did a bit of modeling and performing, and soon, she spotted the ad for the Spice Girls, singing Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love of All” during the audition, and blew everyone away with her sass and style.

Life as Scary Spice

As one-fifth of the Spice Girls, Melanie B undeniably brought spirit to the group, proudly proclaiming the tenets of Girl Power and basically stepping up and letting the world see the Spice Girls as the dominating force that they are. Her roars, her huge hair, and her fashion sense were what helped turn her into Scary Spice, the Spice Girl with a brash attitude, a loud mouth, and an impressive approach to life. During their earliest days, however, Melanie B was most notably at loggerheads with Geri, whose performing background wasn’t as extensive as those of the other girls and whose attitude was just as fierce as Melanie B’s, therefore causing blazing arguments, during which the other girls simply sat back as the heated words flew. Melanie B and Geri gradually came to terms with their differences and settled into their roles as the parental figures in the Spice Girls.

Melanie B was particularly well known for her clothes splashed with animal-print designs, her singing, and her attitude. She also endured having an ex-boyfriend come out and sell the story of their relationship to the tabloids, something she took with finesse.

After the Spice Girls

When Geri unexpectedly left the Spice Girls in 1998, a falling-out with Melanie B was one of the rumored reasons, something which Melanie B has never confirmed, only saying that Geri had her own plans and that everyone in the Spice Girls had their own ideas for the future as well. Such plans inched their way into the scene, with Melanie B marrying Jimmy Gulzar, with whom she had a daughter named Phoenix Chi; Jimmy also appeared in Melanie B’s video for her first solo single, “I Want You Back”. She released her first album, Hot, which featured a sizzling cover photo and also accepted roles in a few films. In 2002, she also released an autobiography entitled Catch a Fire. She followed up her first album five years later with L.A. State of Mind.

Indeed, Melanie B was in an L.A. state of mind, moving to the celebrity-rich city in 2003. A year later, she joined the cast of Rent, bagging the role of Mimi. In 2007, she was locked in a feud with Eddie Murphy, whom she dated for a while and who denied that he was the father of the baby she was carrying at the time; the baby turned out to be his. Melanie B didn’t seek a renewal of her their relationship though; earlier that year, she started dating Stephen Belafonte, marrying him in June 2007. Melanie B’s involvement with Eddie Murphy was just one of the things that drove Melanie B back in the awareness of the U.S. audience. She also joined Dancing With the Stars, performing a brilliant routine week after week with her partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy, and eventually landing in second place overall. After the sold-out Spice Girls tour, Melanie B just keeps powering on, landing a gig as the host of Miss Universe 2008, hosting The Singing Office with Joey Fatone, and becoming the face and body of Ultimo Lingerie.

Since then, she has been a staple in various TV shows; she hosted the 2013 Miss Universe pageant and was a judge on The X Factor UK, and she is currently a judge and mentor on America’s Got Talent.

Melanie B’s plan to live life to the fullest and be all that she can be are paying off, and while she has acknowledged that she’ll never attain the same level of success that she did with the Spice Girls, there seems to be no chance that her star power is going away anytime soon.

Melanie Brown’s solo albums

Hot was Melanie B’s first solo album released on October 9, 2000. From this album came singles like “Tell Me,” “Feels So Good,” and “I Want You Back,” her number one single which had a saucy video featuring Missy Elliot and Jimmy Gulzar, who was Melanie’s husband at the time.

Tracklist
1. Feels So Good
2. Tell Me
3. Hell No
4. Lullaby
5. Hotter
6. Step Inside
7. ABC 123
8. I Believe
9. I Want You Back
10. Pack Your S**T
11. Feel Me Now

L.A. State Of Mind came five years after Hot, with “Today” being the lone single released from the album.
Tracklist
1. Today
2. Stay In Bed Days
3. Beautiful Girl
4. Music Of The Night
5. If I Had My Life Again
6. In Too Deep
7. Sweet Pleasure
8. L.A. State Of Mind
9. Say Say Say
10. Bad Bad Girl
11. Hold On