Supersize Poster Magazine (1995)

Strand Music

In 1993 a new South London quartet were wondering what it would be like to join the ranks of their musical heroes such as Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. It wasn't long before the all girl group began to scale the ladder to fame and success.

The group's debut single "Stay" shot straight into the charts at the number four slot, announcing the arrival of Britain's newest success story with a bang. Eternal encapsulated a new and vibrant musical power that the UK dance scene craved, reflecting the strong vocal and visual imagery that have become a key part of the band's persona.

Easther and Vernie Bennett's accomplished vocal talents were developed and finely honed from a church background, while Kéllé Bryan and Louise Nurding learned their trade and polished their talents at the Italia Conti Stage School. By the time that they signed for First Avenue Records, the ground was ready for them to become a truly first class act.

The band's debut album "Always & Forever" became a roaring success selling almost two million copies world-wide. It produced an incredible six top twenty hit singles, six number one dance hits, four Brits nominations, a Silver Clef award, a gold record in Japan, a sell-out tour of Europe with Take That and success as far afield as the USA and South East Asia.

"It's been so much hard work in the last two years," says Kéllé, "but it's all 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."

"None of us knew much when we started," agrees Easther. "But I think we have gained confidence both musically and in other ways. We all take care of business and we are in control of our careers a lot more. We were a teen girl group back in 1993. It feels different this time!"

1995 has brought a new album and a new look to Eternal, with the departure of Louise to pursue a solo career, the group has slimmed down to become a trio.

The album "Power of a Woman", containing tracks co-written by the girls, was recorded in Los Angeles, Atlanta and England.

"The title just stood out and we thought 'that's what we are about', the power of a woman is strength, an inner quality that we all have. It's something that we've discovered more so in ourselves over the past two years," says Kéllé Bryan.

The album is a definite move towards their R&B and gospel roots and clearly reflects their long stints in the USA as well as soaking up the wealth of influences abundant in the British pop culture.

"Writing for ourselves has meant we've moved into another gear. We were much more critical and selective about songs for the album," says Vernie. "Of course our first love is soul, and gospel comes from our church background, but we are British and that means we listen to Björk, Take That and The Spin Doctors. You can't ignore the diversity of music living in this country."

"This album is definitely more R&B in flavour," adds Easther, "The first album reflected what four young girls were feeling. It was poppy and about being kids. We wouldn't do that again because our world has changed."

"Power of a Woman" is crammed with classic tunes and a veritable feast of potential hit singles which should confirm the band's coming of age and musical progression. Easther, Vernie and Kéllé are confident that the new album should firmly establish them on the US scene as well as Europe.

"If there is something we share with the American girls, it's self belief. We have our own sound, but we are strong, independent women who believe we can have it all," observes Kéllé.

According to producer Dennis Charles, when the girls are between takes, they can be found in the studio next door playing football. "They're good - they work as a team. I reckon if they weren't Britain's best soul group they'd probably be signed by Leeds United!" he concludes.

Fortunately for their adoring fans and to the benefit of British music the girls are still concentrating on their first love!