Four, funky females, collectively known as All Saints are bringing smart, soulful spirit straight to the top of pop charts worldwide. “It’s All Saints’ Day,” proclaims The Face, “and that’s all right by us.”
A potent brew of streetwise edge, sex appeal and true musicianship, All Saints’ members bring an assortment of international influences to the mix: Shaznay Lewis (22) has roots in Jamaica and Barbados; Melanie Blatt (22) is English and French (and fluent in both), and Nicky (22) and Natalie (25) Appleton are Canadian-born but raised in New York and London. All have been studying, writing, and performing music since age 13. “We all have very different tastes,” Melanie says, “ranging from R&B and soul to swing and pop, and you can hear those colors in what we do.” Shaznay, the group’s principal songwriter, kicks things up a notch with her flavored rhymes and vocals.
London Records signed All Saints after an intense A&R bidding war that concluded, Shaznay says, because “we were determined to wait until a label was interested in us for our music and wouldn’t want to change us.” Production credits for their upcoming album are impressive: players include Nellee Hooper (Madonna, Bjork, Janet Jackson), Cameron McVey (Neneh Cherry, Massive Attack) and Johnny Douglas (George Michael).
All Saints began four years ago in London, when Melanie and Shaznay created its first incarnation, a duo. In 1995, the two invited an old schoolmate, Nicky, to join them. Melanie and Shaznay–realizing their music is, at its heart, four-part harmony–invited Nicky’s sister Natalie to complete the All Saints recipe. “When we heard Nicky sing,” says Shaznay, “we knew right away she’d be perfect. When Natalie joined, it was like the missing piece of the puzzle.”