The Celebrity Chase has featured a whole host of household names since first hitting our screens in 2009.
From all walks of life and all levels of stardom, the celebrity edition of the Chase has seen the likes of boxer David Haye, comedian Jimmy Carr and presenter Alex Jones, among others, go toe-to-toe with the Chasers.
However, there are few that can boast as recognisable of a voice as Heather Small.
The West London soul sensation is best known for her chart dominance in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s and the classic albums she produced with her one-time band, M People.
Whilst anyone with a radio will remember Heather best for her voice, her appearance on Celebrity Chase will probably best be remembered for her appearance on the show in 2019 when she bested ‘The Dark Destroyer’ himself Shaun Wallace – cheekily responding with “tell it to someone who cares” when he tried to explain the reason he got the question wrong.
But away from her epic performance on Celebrity Chase, how much do we actually know about legendary singer Heather Small?
Heather was born on January 20, 1965 – which makes her an Aquarius for those of you who are into astrology. Before embarking on a singing career, the songstress spent her childhood growing up in a council estate in West London.
She has spoken candidly about the issues that she encountered as a child in the area, namely in regards to discrimination.
In an interview with The Daily Mail, Heather revealed that she had encountered racism as young as the age of nine when she was at Primary School.
She said: “It was very difficult. You’re in a place to learn and the teachers don’t like you because of your skin colour. Even if you’re the top of the class.
“When I was at primary school, I looked different from my counterparts. I’ve got a very African Caribbean shape. I had my PE kit on and it looked different on me to the other girls. A tall male teacher once kicked me up the backside. I was 9 years old.
“There were no repercussions for the teacher. I had to have my parents come up to the school. Now, now he’d be fired. It didn’t help that the headteacher was racist, so nothing was going to happen.”
Thankfully Heather was able to find her calling at an early age and quickly decided that music would be the best way to change her circumstances and fulfil her dreams.
Early group success with M People
Heather joined her first group – ‘Hot House’, while she was still a teenager and was the studio singer voice of the re-recorded version of the UK number 1 single “Ride on Time” from Italo house band Black Box.
Her career would the take a sudden and highly fortunate turn in an upward direction, as she had a chance meeting with Manchester DJ, Mike Pickering. The original plan had been to have a roster of different singers for different songs but having been spotted by Pickering and Heard, Heather Small became the distinctive vocalist of the group
She would go on to sell more than 10 million albums worldwide with the group M People., with hits like “Moving On Up”, “One Night In Heaven” and “Search for the Hero”.
In 1998, after the release of M People’s Best Of album, Small and the band took some time off to pursue solo projects.
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She decided to pursue her own solo career towards the end of the decade, and in 2000 released her solo album, Proud. It is now associated with Team GB, as it was used often during the 2012 London Olympic games.
The lead song, which has the same title, has received wide international acclaim for its positive message of being proud of your achievements.
Shows in the US including the Oprah Winfrey Show and The Biggest Loser have used it as their theme songs.
Life off stage
She has been married to David Neita since 2012, and she has a son, named James, from a previous relationship with rugby union coach Shaun Edwards.
Shaun and Heather had a long-term relationship and although they are no longer together, Shaun cites a key factor in his moving to the south, was that he could be close to his son. When offered the job of coaching the Great Britain rugby league team he turned it down because it would mean being in the north a lot of the time, away from his family.
Heather also appeared on the sixth series of Strictly Come Dancing and lasted eight weeks on the show before being eliminated.
In her time on the show she performed some of the show’s favourite dances – including the Quickstep, Samba, Vienesse Waltz and Salsa.
Although the peak of Heather’s dominance of the charts may be behind her, she has still managed to amass a sizeable fortune through her talents.
According to the website celebritynetworth.com Heather has a net worth of $5 million. Quite the come up story for the woman with humble beginnings in West London.
Original posted at www.mylondon.news