Pop singer and television personality Melanie B. (aka Scary Spice) is best known as a member of the '90s all-girl pop group the Spice Girls. Born Melanie Janine Brown in Leeds, England, in 1975, Brown was interested in performing from a young age and attended the Intake High School Arts College in Leeds. After school she worked for a time as a dancer before auditioning for the group that would eventually become the Spice Girls. Joining the dance-pop group in 1994, Brown was soon dubbed "Scary Spice" by the media -- who nicknamed all the members of the Spice Girls -- due to her high-energy, brash stage persona. In 1998, Brown scored a solo number one hit with the single "I Want You Back," recorded with rapper/producer Missy Elliot for the soundtrack to the film Why Do Fools Fall in Love. She followed up the track with a cover of the Cameo funk classic "Word Up" for the soundtrack to Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. Around this time, Brown also began appearing as a television presenter for various shows, including several awards programs as well as the BBC2 music magazine Pure Naughty.
In 2000, Brown released her full-length solo debut album, Hot, on Virgin Records. Featuring a bevy of name producers including Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Teddy Riley, and others, the album sold poorly and Brown was ultimately dropped by her label. Around the same time, Brown separated from her husband, dancer Jimmy Gulzar, with whom she had a daughter in 1999. Since that time, Brown has continued to pursue a solo acting and recording career. She also released her autobiography, Catch a Fire, in 2002. In 2004, Brown began appearing as the drug addict Mimi in the Broadway production of Rent. In 2005, she recorded a live performance of material from the musical as well as some of her own songs, which she released as L.A. State of Mind on the independent label Amber Cafe. The year 2007 was busy for Brown, who not only toiled with the tabloid press coverage of her breakup with comedian/actor Eddie Murphy (with whom she had a child that same year), but also revealed she had secretly married movie producer Stephen Belafonte. Concurrently in 2007, Brown participated in the Spice Girls' farewell tour. ~ Matt Collar