Spanning every single from 5, 6, 7, 8 to Hard 2 Forget, it's a release few could have predicted. But while critics might've branded Steps a novelty act destined for 'one-hit wonder' status in their infancy, Faye Tozer, Lee Latchford-Evans, Claire Richards, Lisa Scott-Lee and Ian 'H' Watkins defied all odds. Today, they stand stronger than ever a quarter of a century later.
As the group reflect on an incredible career, we caught up with Lisa to talk Steps' legacy, what the future holds (ahem) and that Love's Got a Hold on My Heart vocal moment.
Lisa, it's a matter of hours until you release Platinum Collection. You must be excited?
It’s so lovely. We’re pinching ourselves right now, we didn’t expect to be having this longevity. 25 years on, we’re releasing another album. To have the back catalogue that we have, and to see the reaction from the audience when we’re performing those songs; that’s the bit that gets me. They’re living their best lives. It warms my heart, because it’s such a lovely position to be in; to see those faces smiling back at you. I’m pleased we can still spread happiness 25 years on.
With this collection, the post-2017 songs really stand up against the classics from Steps' first time round...
I think that’s what we’re most proud of. When you look at the ‘new era’ of Steps, as we like to call it, it sits so well on the album with the classic Steps songs. It’s such a lovely musical journey on this album; it’s got to be one of the top pop albums for parties! We always say our music is escapism, and this album is just pure pop. So many good tracks on there. What’s your favourite, if you could only pick one?
Ooh, that's hard. One For Sorrow? Or Deeper Shade of Blue, maybe? Actually, it might be Scared of the Dark...
It's funny you should say that. I have Deeper Shade of Blue as my favourite from the first era, then Scared of the Dark from the new era. I love those dance routines, too, and the crowd go mad for them. I just love the drama of Scared of the Dark.
25 years has been such a time of reflection for you. What do you hope Steps' lasting legacy will be in years to come?
I’d like to think we’ve put a big smile on everyone’s faces. It’s been a difficult time for people, with the pandemic, and to have people put our music on and have that pure escapism and reconnect through our music’s amazing. It’s lovely to be able to spread happiness like that; it’s a gift.
Honestly, we don't know any pop stars who worked harder than you lot during the pandemic...
We did work though all that, and it wasn’t easy, but with technology we were able to record and film videos in different countries. We did talk about it, and we could’ve taken a break, but because it was such a tough time we felt like we had a duty to keep going and make people feel better. We're happy to serve!
Looking back, what's been your favourite Steps tour moment ever?
I live in Dubai, and my children were over in the UK during the Party on the Dancefloor Tour. I suggested to the band that we brought our children on stage to perform a song all together. They were all really up for it, which was super lovely. We organised it quite quickly, and at Wembley we brought all the children out for It’s The Way You Make Me Feel. My kids were little, H’s were really little, and that was such a beautiful moment.
We keep saying we need to do it again, because Lee’s since had his baby. But Claire says there’s no chance she’ll get Charlie on stage because he’s a teenager now! But we’ll see.
And your most memorable music video moment?
Straight away, it’s one with H. We’ve always been the naughty school kids of Steps and still are. When we shot Say You’ll Be Mine, when me and H were filming the Titanic spoof scenes, we were laughing so much. H was being Leonardo DiCaprio, holding me, and it was meant to be a really serious moment. We just got the giggles so badly, and after about five minutes the director and crew were going mad. They were saying to us ‘time is money,’ and we got a telling off for that. You know what we’re like! If you watch it back, you can see we’re trying our best not to giggle.
And I did really enjoy pushing Lee into the pool in Last Thing on My Mind. That’s definitely up there.
Believe us, Lisa. So did we. What's your favourite ever Steps album, then?
That’s so difficult to answer, because I love them all for different reasons. They all take me back to a place and time. We recorded them all over the world; New York, Sweden, London. Each album bring back memories.
I’m going to have to say Platinum Collection, not because I’m trying to plug it, but because it encompasses every album and all 25 years of Steps.
When you look at the artwork, we’ve got all H’s photos that he kept from when we went to Hollywood, Asia, Europe. We’ve been so lucky to travel and meet fans all over the world. The Platinum Collection artwork brought a tear to my eye.
What's your favourite Steps lyric of all time?
I’m going to say ‘there’s no escape.’ It just makes me smile. It makes me laugh. It’s not ground-breaking song writing, but everyone always wants me to say it.
Lisa, you made it ground-breaking.
It’s just funny, isn’t it? I should probably say something profound. We’ve had some beautiful, meaningful lyrics. But I’m going with that one.
Iconic. Now, with any greatest hits collection comes talk of 'the end.' Please tell us this isn't the end for Steps...
Well nobody’s told me if it is, but that wouldn’t be a first…
Stop. Not the letters...
Oh, I’m only joking! There’s still things we want to do, even after 25 years. I want us in Madame Tussauds, that’d be cool. I’d love for us to keep performing; we’re always listening to new music and discussing ideas as to what we could release next.
We’re very fortunate we have so many opportunities coming our way. We’d love to do a Steps musical. There’s loads we’d still love to do. We don’t want that to stop – we want to keep spreading our sparkle in the pop world!
It’s never been just a job to me, it’s my life. 25 years is over half our lives, so it’ll always be very special. Steps will always be.
That's what we like to hear. As we speak, it's actually Claire's birthday. She's known to have a great set on lungs on her, but what's your favourite ever Claire vocal moment?
It’s got to be One For Sorrow. It’s such a great song, and that was the song that really made people listen. We had 5, 6, 7, 8, the novelty song, and Last Thing On My Mind was obviously a cover. One For Sorrow was such a standout moment, and it’s still a fan favourite.
Now, Lisa, we thought we'd play a quickfire game of Skip or Save. We'll pit two Steps classics against each other. One you've got to skip, the other you'll save.
First up, Scared of the Dark vs. Better Best Forgotten?
I’m definitely saving Scared of the Dark. Musically, it’s more up my street and it’s much cooler. That’s an easy one.
Hard 2 Forget vs. Stomp?
That’s really difficult. Musically, I love Hard 2 Forget, but Stomp was a Number 1 for us. For that reason, I’m saving Stomp.
Summer of Love vs. Something in Your Eyes?
I’ve got to say Summer of Love. I’d feel disloyal if I didn’t go for that one; I feel like it’s really underrated!
Agreed. It’s The Way You Make Me Feel vs. Deeper Shade of Blue?
That’s impossible. They’re two of my favourite Steps videos of all time. I loved filming It’s The Way You Make Me Feel. If you forced me to answer, I’d have to save Deeper Shade of Blue. I just think that video and dance routine’s iconic. It’s such a fan fave. But that’s really tough, I love them both.
Tragedy vs. One For Sorrow?
It’s got to be Tragedy, because it was our first Number 1. And, again, the dance routine.
What The Future Holds vs. Last Thing On My Mind?
What The Future Holds, because I love that dance routine from start to finish.
Neon Blue vs. Heartbreak in This City?
They’re really on a par for me. I think they’re both equally brilliant. I’ll have to save Heartbreak in This City, though, because we had the lovely Michelle Visage with us.
Steps' Platinum Collection is released August 19 via Sony Music.