We find out what the M People singer is up to these days...
If there’s one line that sums up the well-loved sitcom Miranda, it’s: ‘What have you done today, to make you feel proud?’ Miranda Hart used the lyrics from Heather Small’s famous uplifting song Proud throughout her show as an inspiration – but what happened to the lady with the huge voice who sang them?
M is for massive
Remember M People? We knew them for huge 90s hits like Moving On Up and Search For The Hero. Formed in 1990, Heather, 52, and her distinctive voice brought the group mass success. Their 1993 album Elegant Slumming went three times platinum in the UK, while 1994’s Bizarre Fruit went five times platinum. The group were also big in Australia, Germany and New Zealand.
Growing up in a council flat in West London, Heather was told to ‘dream on’ by her school careers advisor when she said she wanted to be a singer. Heather reveals: ‘She just looked at me and laughed. But I was quietly determined. I remember thinking to myself: ‘I won’t tell anyone – but I will show you.’” And she did.
Before her success in M People, Heather sang vocals on a re-recording of Black Box’s 1989 mega hit Ride On Time, after it emerged that they’d controversially sampled disco artist Loleatta Holloway’s vocals without permission on the original track.
Oprah Winfrey used Proud as the theme tune to her show and Heather even ended up guest starring in the final episode of Miranda, singing at the on-screen wedding in 2015. She said: ‘I was very flattered. I like a laugh and don’t take myself too seriously. To have someone feature you in a popular sitcom – it’s the kind of thing I dreamed about as a little girl.’
What’s she up to now?
Heather has a son James, who’s played rugby for Wasps, with her ex Shaun Edwards. She still performs regularly and she’ll be singing at Rockliffe Hall in County Durham in May.