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Steps’ Faye: ‘I couldn’t do the school run with dreadlocks’

By Will Stroude


The Steps gang have gone their separate ways again since their hugely successful reunion TV show and tours a couple of years back, and everyone hitting Northern Pride in Newcastle next weekend (July 18-20) will have the pleasure of seeing Faye Tozer – a.k.a. the member we’d most like to hang out with if we were feeling hungover and a bit emosh – perform solo on both Friday and Saturday.

Intrigued, I gave Faye a call to find out what we can expect from her Pride sets. The formerly-dreadlocked diva also talks about her plans to head back into the studio as a solo artist, the chances of another Steps reunion, and why she won’t be making her own version of Totally Scott-Lee.

Are you looking forward to performing solo at Northern Pride?
“I am actually! I didn’t really know what I was going to be up to this year and if I’d be around, but I figured that now I’m a north-eastern girl and a local, it would be great. You do sometimes get whipped up in this whirlwind of travelling around doing Prides, and it’s fabulous fun going around getting absolutely trollied with a bunch of strangers in all sorts of attire, and I had an absolute hoot doing them last year but I’m having to be responsible this year – so I’m just doing the one!”

What can everyone expect from your performance?
“Well, I’ve got four beautiful male dancers who are coming along to perform with me. Obviously it’s so difficult to emulate a Steps performance with just one of you but I’m just going to have some fun! I’m also going to do some covers of pop songs that are around on the gay scene at the moment and just have a laugh with it really. It’s going to be a bit camp and over the top. I don’t want to give away my set ist but you can see the idea! It’s more fun just to turn up and not know what to expect from you.”

I’m glad you’re bringing dancers – I was worried about how you might recreate the routine to Tragedy on your own…
“Haha! Well actually I’m making the boys work a lot harder than I am! I’m getting old you see, I just want to hold onto the microphone and walk around a bit now. I’m getting lazy in my old age!”

Is this the start of a solo career for you then?
“Well, I haven’t really spoken about this yet but I’m just about to go into the studio again actually! I’m working on some solo stuff and also writing music for a film, which is really exciting. I’ve not been in the studio for years – I used to have my own recording studio but that went with the ex-husband, haha! But I feel like I’m ready to do it now. I’ve dusted off the guitar and I’m getting ready to rock and roll again!”

How would you describe the Faye Tozer sound?
“What I like and what I like to write are slightly different things, but I think I’m going to go for a slightly grown-up pop, I think that’s something that people would understand from me. I don’t want to go too different: I think when I first left Steps I was going very angsty and all the stuff I wrote I was trying to not be Steps and not be pop, but I think good pop songs are brilliant. I’ve always aspired to people like Gwen Stefani and Kylie, and I think they’ve got great songs and have been able to grow up but still remain young at heart. It will be nice to see what happens.”

I have to ask, will the dreadlocks be making a come-back alongside your music?
“I had a dream about my dreadlocks the other day! On the last tour that Steps did we were toying with the idea of having a dreaded-wig that just appears. Oh I don’t know, sometimes I just… No, probably not the dreads, no. I don’t think I could do the school-run in the morning with the dreads.”

But it was an iconic look!
“Hahaha well maybe they can make a comeback for the video, but not permanently!”

Do you find it strange doing performances like this on your own without ‘H’ and co. around you?
“Yeah, I mean what was wonderful was a couple of years ago, once we did the Steps reunion, we got to perform at Manchester Pride. That was lovely. I’m quite excited [about Northern Pride] because I’m a local, and because I promised the boys I’m gonna be doing Friday night and Saturday daytime, and on Saturday I’ve got a lot of family coming down and my little boy’s coming down. It’s good to realise that Pride’s not just about adults and coming out, it’s about everyone being integrated together, and for me that’s a massive thing. All my gay pals come over and stay at mine and having my son growing up with that around him is really important to me. That’s what Pride is all about really isn’t it, education. Well, that and getting a little bit trollied!”


Steps haven’t done anything together since your ‘Light Up the World’ Christmas album and tour in 2012 – are there any more plans in the pipeline?
“It’s not done yet, which is a nice feeling to have. We’ve all got our own plans, lots of people are out on the road doing stuff. We did really really well a couple of years ago, and I think it will happen again but it’s not a permanent thing, it’s just something we can enjoy and celebrate when it’s the right time for us. We said we’d do it for the 10-year anniversary but we’re all having a really nice break from each other – and that’s no disrespect to each other either! We left on a really high note and that was brilliant but we also need to find our own identities. But I think there’s definitely another tour in us.”

Did you find the reunion a bit of a cathartic experience?
“Yeah, it was slightly traumatic and overwhelming and therapeutic at the same time, but yes we ended up in a really calm place where we all went, ‘You know what, we’re older now and it doesn’t really matter now does it?’. All those things that were mountains weren’t really big problems and actually who cares. It’s nice being in that place now and looking back and giggling at what idiots we could be.”

‘H’ is going to be appearing in BBC One’s upcoming gymnastics reality show Tumble with Louis Smith. How do you think he’ll do?
“I think he’s going to do well – he’s surprisingly nimble. He’s an all-or-nothing guy and he’ll put everything into it. I spoke to him the other day and he said he’s absolutely battered and bruised all over and absolutely shattered. But he sent me a sneaky little video of some of the stuff that he’s done and I think he’s going to be great. I think people will be surprised because obviously people know him as being the joker and being the clown, but when he puts his mind to something, just you watch him. And I think before Steps happened he did circus school or something like that, so he’ll definitely get lots out of it.”

Have you ever been tempted to do something similar, like Splash!?
“I was asked to do Splash! and I said, ‘Absolutely not, you’re not going to see me in a swimming costume!’ That’s like my worst nightmare, why would I do that?! And I’ve got to say I’ve had conversations with people but I’d only go for something where you learn a skill, like Dancing on Ice or something like that. I think in things like I’m a Celeb and Big Brother you really get scrutinised for who you are and you have no control of the edit and how you’re seen, so that frightens me. I’m very proud of my career and the things I’ve achieved being a singer and a dancer and an actress, and that’s what I want to be known for – not for puking or getting my boobs out!”

Is that why you can’t go on those shows, because you’d be getting them out?!
“Haha no! Actually I don’t get my boobs out a lot. But other people do and I worry that it’s the one thing you’ll be remembered for. I’ve got to say I’ve got a bit of pride about my job and what I do and I love it – but I love having my private life as well. I don’t like the idea of someone else being in control about how I’m perceived.”

But how about your own show, in the vein of Totally Scott-Lee? You could have creative control and it could follow you in the studio.
“I don’t think I could after Steps Reunion on Sky1, it takes up so much of your free time and there’s a camera in your face all the time. If I could do one where I looked really pretty and beautiful years all the time, then maybe, but that’s not going to happen!”

Is your son at an age now where he listens to Steps and knows that you were part of a massive pop group?
“Oh it was freaky, he came home from school yesterday singing Tragedy, but he doesn’t know I did it! I’ve never taught him it and I haven’t ever stuck it in his face because, you know, all in good time, it’s not his generation and blah blah blah, but apparently they’re doing it for a talent competition at his school! So now I feel obliged to teach him the proper words and the proper moves, otherwise I won’t be fulfilling my role as a Steps member and mother!”

You need to march into the assembly hall and give a masterclass.
“Oh I know, but I think my son needs to be able to do it properly first!”

As you’re performing at Northern Pride this year, are you going to be available to perform or officiate at same-sex weddings?
“Bring it on, yeah absolutely! I was best man at my best friend’s civil partnership years ago and I was very proud. It’s even more exciting we have same-sex marriage now so bring it on! That can be my other job; I’ll do weddings in the day and studio in the evening.”

Can I put in an early request to have The Way You Make Me Feel as my first dance please?
“Hahaha well that’s it, of course!”  

Faye performs at Northern Pride this Friday (July 18) at the Pride in the City stage in Newcastle’s Times Square, and on Saturday (July 19) at the Festival’s Main Stage, at Newcastle Moor. Entry to the event is free.

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