SONGSTRESS: Rowetta Satchell
ROWETTA SATCHELL is an accomplished singer of many years. She is probably best known as the only female member of the 90’s Mancunian rock band Happy Monday’s and has more recently appeared as a contestant on the first series of the talent contest, the X-factor.
Throughout the years her voice has been sampled and reworked by many musicians including Black Eyed Peas, Steve Angello & Robin S and most notably for Satchell, Cheryl Cole.
Cole’s 2010 Brit Awards performance of her single Fight For This Love featured a rendition of Satchell’s hit 1989 track Reach Out. Used to being sampled by other musicians, the Manchester-born singer was initially thrilled to find out that Cole and her record company wanted to use her voice, until she found out that they wanted someone else to mime her part.
“I got a call from Cheryl Cole’s record label asking if they could sample Reach Out for the Brit Awards, but they wanted to have another girl mime my voice,” said the 46-year-old. “I told them no, but they used it any way, which was so wrong!”
In order to negotiate a better situation Satchell offered to sing her part on stage with Cole, but was turned down by the label and the Step On singer explained why.
“She’s a different type of artist to me, she’s a pretty girl, who has great performance skills and she can dance really well – but she’s not a great singer. She was miming out of sync and if I had come out on stage and done my part, it would have embarrassed her because she was miming.”
After 30 years in the music game Satchell knew that she was in a David versus Goliath situation but unlike the biblical fable, she knew it was pointless to fight the music corporation.
“Cheryl Cole’s people think they can do anything they like, because they can, they proved that! It’s a shame because I still respect her as a great performer, but the record company should respect the fact that I’m a singer and song writer and if they want to use my voice, they need my permission. The problem wasn’t using my vocals; it was having my voice come out of someone else’s mouth, I thought that was really disgusting,” she said.
According to the Back Where We Belong performer, she was ignored by the label becuase of her skin colour.
“I’m in a good position but I want the respect I deserve! I get called a backing singer when I perform with the Happy Monday’s and yet Tulisa, who doesn’t sing as well as me is Tulisa from N-Dubs, Fergie is Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas. I sing just as well as her and just as much as anybody else and yet I’m a backing singer. They always label the black girls backing singers while the white girls sing with the band.”
But Sarchell had one word of advice for the powers that be in the industry.
“Don’t sample me or use my music and I will still do alright as a singer, because I do already, thank you.”
In fact, Satchell’s music career has had a recent and welcoming boost in the form of the reformation of the Happy Mondays. The band split up in 1993 after 13 years together. It was an acrimonious separation, with all band members saying that they would never work together again, so what changed?
“Some of us haven’t spoken to each other in 20 years, everybody left in a bad way, we thought getting back together would never happen and that we wouldn’t get along, but it’s been the opposite.”
She added: “Everybody has changed, we’ve all grown up, the people who had problems with drugs and alcohol have all sorted themselves out. We’ve got families now and taking it more seriously, before we took each other for granted. It’s great that we have the chance to do it again, to do it properly. After we come off stage, we have a chat about the gig, we watch videos, we do what you’re supposed to do as a band, we don’t go ‘right, let’s find a new party and stay up all night’, like we used to do.”
The Happy Mondays will be performing at The Roundhouse December 19 and 20. For more information visit, www.happymondaysonline.com