Manchester Evening News, 24th October 1995

Eternal Have The Power

"It's been so much hard work in the last two years, but it's also flashed past. We have grown up a lot. This is the sort of profession where you have to swim because you don't want to sink."

So says Kéllé Bryan, one of the now three-strong British girl soul group, Eternal.

As the band prepares for next Monday's release of their second album, Power Of A Woman, they talked for the first time about their success and the departure of their only white member, Louise Nurding.

It was the day they recorded the album's title track that Eternal finally realised they had come of age.

"Of all the new songs we heard, of all the songs that we co-wrote, it was the most powerful, lyrically and musically," Kéllé said.

"The title just stood out, and we thought, 'That's what we are about' - the power of a woman is a strength, an inner quality that we all have."

The band have a lot to live up to, though. Their first album sold more than 2m copies worldwide and established them as Britain's most successful girl group.

Top R&B producers worked with them on their debut LP, and the tracks it spawned all raced high into the singles chart, as Eternal became overnight stars. Since then Louise Nurding has left to pursue a solo career, and she has already notched a hit with her first single. The remaining three members spent a lot of time soul-searching and writing their own material for this, their second album.

"Writing for ourselves has meant we have moved into another gear. We're much more critical and selective about the songs for the album," says Vernie Bennett.

"I think we have gained confidence, both musicaaly and in other ways. We were a teen grouup back in 1993. We all take care of business, and we are in control of our careers a lot more. It feels different this time," Easther Bennett added.

Power Of A Woman was recorded in LA, Atlanta and England, but the American influence is undeniable - just take a look at the glitzy Whitney Houston-style video. The sound too, is more Motown, more R&B, more American.

The girls still protest their pride in being British R&B, but whoever is pulling the strings has a Stars And Stripes banner tucked under their heart.