Melanie C is perhaps best known, outside of the United Kingdom, as Mel C or "Sporty Spice" of the Spice Girls.
Born in Merseyside, she grew up with a passion for music and theatre, studying for her diploma at the Doreen Bird College of Performing Arts in Kent. It was during this time that she replied to an ad for a new girl group that was forming in response to boy bands that were just everywhere at the time. The group would become the Spice Girls and explode onto the scene with a very '90s take on Girl Power.
Melanie C really was the sporty one. Her signature look included track suits, trainers, a ponytail, and a minimal amount of makeup (at least at first.) Aside from feats of athleticism (high kicks and back flips, usually), she tended to leave the visual spotlight to the other members of the group, supporting it instead with a bedrock of strong and adaptive vocals.
She has since cultivated a more mature image, leaving the Sporty Spice caricature behind while remaining physically active.
As of this writing, Melanie C has been the most prolific solo artist of the Spice Girls, boasting six studio albums, the latest of which is Stages, released in September, 2012. (All of her solo releases since 2005's Beautiful Intentions have been on her own Red Girl Records label.) Stages is a departure from previous works, as it is a musical theatre cover album. Previous albums have experimented with pop, rock, dance and adult contemporary. However, Melanie has been in two professional musicals (a West End run of Blood Brothers in 2009, and an arena tour of Jesus Christ Superstar in 2012) so Stages is not a release out of left field.
Amid collaberations with Emma Bunton, Olympic reunions with the Spice Girls and more, she remains active on the music scene and shows no signs of stopping.