M People

I was listening to the Deconstruction Classics album the other day which featured three M People songs (How Can I Love You More, Moving On Up and Sight For Sore Eyes) plus Hot House's Don't Come To Stay (Ride On Time is the Loleatta version for fear of Heather overload), and it was nice to hear them again. Today I had a listen to Excited again as that is an overlooked gem - not a huge hit but being from Manchester I heard it a lot on Key 103 so I feel like it was bigger than its chart position suggests. I saw them live in 1995 and they were great. I'd lost interest by the time Fresco came out. Although Just For You was a lovely lead single which showcased a slightly mellower sound, the following two (Angel Street and Fantasy Island) just seemed like M People by numbers and a bit stale. I only bought Fresco in a charity shop about 10-15 years ago.
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Following on from their stunning cd boxset in 2020 they have these limited edition colour vinyls coming in July

They look quality and beautiful and im so glad they're being released.

There's also this great interview from 2020 i'd missed


M People were really unique and trend setters back in the day. To see their early shows at the Hacienda would have been a trip for all those clubbers, the serotonin levels would have been through the damn roof.

Shame that Mike and Paul don't get more recognition and respect. How they took house music into arenas with a full band was revolutionary. Their shows at wembley in the 90s - still the best sound system I've experienced - were like being in a club on e.

Heather was of course essential to the mix and as they say in the above interview they were more than the sum of their parts. I've said elsewhere she is still the greatest performer i've ever seen on stage, even to this day she can still give a damn good show and can comand a stage in a way that very few can. It's a Shame though that she has apparently fallen out with the guys from m people. She still performs the m people songs but her live arrangements of the songs dont have the same deep bass 90s club feel to them and some of those incredible adlibs she is capable of seem to have been forgotten.

Hoping one day bridges will be mended as those songs are M Peoples and should be arranged and performed by M People with Heather showing the youngsters hows its done. She and M People should be iconic legends and their legacy could do with being treated with the respect it deserves.
Did Heather fall out with the guys? I think it's such a shame they're not still recording and touring. You'd think they'd be the sort of act that would get Radio 2 support and still be having top 10 albums now.
I remember when she announced that she would no longer be performing with M-People at the end of their final show together at Rewind Festival in 2015, the whole band looked shocked. They had an album ready for Heather to lay vocals down back in in the 2000's as well as having a real banger in the vaults apparently but she doesn't want to record new music with them. When ever asked about even performing again as part of m people she always gives a very firm and absolute no. A shame as they were so tight and like a family which really translated into their live shows.

I personally would love to hear what they could come up with now. With regards to their music i think a bunch of it stands up well today, not the radio edits though, the full length album versions of their hits have the full adlibs, bridges and outros that give their songs a depth I personally find lacking in the shortened versions, particularly Renaissance, One Night in Heaven and Sight For Sore Eyes.
Yeah, some of those radio/single edits were treated like chopped liver which served a purpose for Top of the Pops, and it was good to have shorter versions, but there was probably a happier middle ground between the album version and sparkly upgraded single versions. For me, much of their stuff continues to sound fresh, but then I really liked the production on M-People's songs.

It is a shame Heather has walked away from the others but I'd be quite okay with M-People carrying on without Heather ... they should give Jamelia a call, or Kym Mazelle or Eve Gallagher or Alexandra. Heather's shoe's ain't so big they can't be filled, and I'd rather a new M-People album fronted by Jamelia et al, than no new M-People album at all.
I agree, there's a whole bunch of singers who could come along and sing the songs old and new. I would love Heather to return but if she doesn't want to sing new songs or perform with M People then they should definitely just go for it without her. They can easily book large festivals under the name and having a different singer would create a lot of press so why not. I get the feeling the guys are just being respectful and hoping she'll change her mind. Which is a damn shame cause they deserve to be out there performing their songs and as a huge fan of both M People and Heather I would b happy to see other singers take them - Jamelia and Alexandra are both great ideas as well.

(EDIT ok yeah Jamelia is perhaps not such a great idea)
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I'd be quite happy for Heather to return, but my connection is to the songs more than the singer in this case, and there's plenty of big-voiced female singers out there who'd do a great job (dare I say, in some cases, better).

Jamelia especially made sense for me as she took off literally within months of M-People ending as a new release act, so throw the occasional Superstar, See It In A Boys Eyes, Beware Of The Dog or Thank You into an M-People hits packed set and its a night out bopping to near 20 years worth of hits (alongside new stuff hopefully).

I did love in the '90's that M-People pushed back on the faceless, generic club-culture trend and felt like an actual band who just happened to do dance music while constantly filling out stadiums and conquering the album charts, but a whole new M-People era with a new singer is something I'd be interested in. So if they have an album and an absolute banger ready to go, then let Heather go free to do her thing and give Jamelia a call!

If there's legal issues with the name, then change it to M-P-2 or N-People (Northern) or Renaissance. Fair play if they're holding out on Heather having a change of heart, but she seems to be cracking on with her life and we all need Proud (Pride 2022), Proud (Pride 2023) and Proud (2054) mixes in our lives I'm sure.

It does all pique my interest in what on earth could have happened so much more than the usual run-of-the-mill band fall-outs.
I think, if they want to, the guys should move on without Heather if they still want to record or book gigs. Heather contributed a lot but I didn’t buy their records because of her specifically. I agree a good featured vocalist or someone who has been a strong session vocalist would be a better fit than someone who’s had hits themselves.
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Doesn't Heather spend the majority of her time now performing M People tracks on tour anyway? I'm surprised she wouldn't want to make it official and just re-join the band. Therefore I assume there must be real problems between the band members still? It's not like Heather has even released new music herself.

Replacing the singer is fine but when I think about bands like Morcheeba or The Brand New Heavies etc. people always prefer the original singer and things never really seem to take off when that singer is replaced.

The only time I can think where a band benefitted from a new singer coming in was probably in The Beautiful South when Jacqui joined. They had most of their success with Jacqui but then after she left and they replaced her it just wasn't the same.

Heather is so ingrained in M People, and it's success, it's not like she was just there for 1 or 2 albums. Anyone coming in now, performing all those hits, will always be unfairly compared to Heather. The whole thing would feel very karaoke.
True it could run the risk of sounding karaoke. I think i've seen a few of their songs covered and they sounded empty, search for the hero particularly would be very hard to make work. But i wouldn't be mad to see that dropped from a setlist without Heather. Im more here for the house classics anyways. They could easily fill a set with songs from from the first 2 albums Northern Soul and Elegant Slumming. Also she doesnt have writing credits for those albums so perhaos it makes sense to drop the following albums. Though i love Sight for eyes so that could be an exception.
They always split everything equally as far as i've heard so she would definitely recieve royalties for songs she wrote on. Mike and Paul are in it for the love of the music and not the money. They were hugely sucessful, wrote and produced their music and of course were a prolific touring force selling out arenas so am sure they are sorted financially for life.
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I love the collective approach of Northern Soul that has a variety of vocalists. However it would be a bit weird if they reverted back to that now. If they made more music it would probably be more appropriate to do it under a new name.
Actually have Mike Pickering and Jimmy Helms recorded or produced anything of note post-M People?
I'm not sure mike has recorded anything post m people. He still Djs and was heavily involved in Hacienda Classical I guess. The interview above seems to imply he still signs acts, though Calvin Harris is the most recent big name which would have been a decade ago. With regards to Paul Heard again the interview says he's an in demand television and film composer and scored a number one with Wretch 32 in 2011.

With regards to the name I figure as Heather promotes herself as the voice of M People and if she wants nothing more to do with M People then it seems fair enough that mike and Paul continue with the name M People seeing as it stands for Mike's People and was their collective to begin with. They also created the sound which was a fusion of mikes birth of UK house beginnings with Pauls background in gospel as the son of a church preacher as well as his own involvement in 80's uk house. Though this again relates more to the first 2 records as later with Heathers involvement it shifted away from their house roots.

Personally I would LOVE to see them all on the big reunion but can't see that happening.
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