Huntingdon singer almost a Spice Girl works at Hinchingbrooke Hospital
- Credit: Mel Coloma
It was every teenage girls dream to be part of the Spice Girls in the nineties – and for Huntingdon’s Mel Coloma it was almost a reality.
The 46-year-old has tirelessly worked for the NHS for more than a decade and spent last year on the frontline ordering PPE equipment at Hinchingbrooke Hospital.
But cast your mind back to the girl power days of Ginger, Posh, Baby, Sporty and Scary and you’ll find Mel was part of that history too.
Her passion for performing led to nationwide success in the years to come, but before that, Mel made it to the last eight in the audition process for a girl group later 2 become 1 of the world’s biggest selling bands of all time.
“I spotted this advert for a girl group and I thought it sounded good as there wasn’t anything like that for young women before,” Mel explained.
“Everyone was so friendly at the audition, but I was fresh out of college and didn’t have much experience, yet the producers were really nice and gave me lots of advice.
“I think I was really lucky to get as far as I did in the process and I was proud of myself for that.
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“I then went on to be Irene Cara’s understudy while on tour in the mid-90s for ‘What A Feeling’ and when I was in a hotel room one night in Liverpool the Spice Girl’s song ‘Wannabe’ came on the TV.
“I thought ‘oh my god I recognise Mel B and Geri’ and then it clicked that they were from the audition I was part of.”
Mel, who is now a mum-of-two, felt that the experience gave her a boost to pursue a career performing and went on to tour the UK and sing around the world on cruise ships.
However, her heart has always been close to Huntingdon – she even teaches dance at TGS Dance School in St Ives.
“I went away on a national tour of shows, and did lots of tv, radio and working all over the world,” Mel continued.
“It was nearly 20 years of singing and dancing but Huntingdon has always been my home, my base and where my family are.
“I started doing ballet when I was little with John Dowson and then I went away to stage school to pursue singing and dancing as a career. At 16 I did a three-year diploma at Bodywork in Cambridge, which I loved.
“I settled down and started a family and then knew I had to put food on the table, so I joined the bank at Hinchingbrooke Hospital and 16 years later I am still working there.”
Mel now sings with her brother, Warren Laccohee, in their band The Decanters, playing at weddings, parties and other venues across Cambridgeshire.
Their first gig back was at the Samuel Pepys pub last week. They’ll be back there again on August 29.
“It was a fantastic night and lovely to have a bit of normality back again,” Mel said.
“We’re currently working with a local songwriter too.
“I’ve written a few of my own songs too and my dream is to write a whole album at the right time.
“Singing is a part of me, it’s something that I could never not do, it would be like losing your soul.”
Mel added: “The Spice Girls were a great influence on young people and had their own personalities and gave young girls confidence.
“I did think ‘that could have been me’ but it gave me a boost like ‘wow how much further could I go?’
“I can remain anonymous and not be bothered by the paparazzi and lead a wonderful life.
“If things had been different, who knows if I may never have had my children?
“I’ve been really lucky that I’ve been able to travel the world freely too, so I have no regrets.”
The Decanters will be at Samuel Pepys pub on August 29. For more information visit: https://www.facebook.com/thedecanters