Steps on 'having the last laugh' as they talk record sales and not 'being cool'

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 06: Lisa Scott-Lee, Lee Latchford-Evans, Claire Richards, Ian
Steps at The Virgin Atlantic Attitude Awards 2021 in London. (Getty Images)

Steps' Platinum Collection album may have gone to number one in the UK charts last week but the band admit they don't 'care quite so much' about chart placements as they used to.

Rounding up a tour and celebrating 25 years in the business, the group said it no longer matters that they 'aren't cool' anymore, and they're 'having the last laugh' with critics who didn't rate their music.

Talking to Kate Thornton on White Wine Question Time, Claire Richards, Faye Tozer, Ian 'H' Watkins, Lee Latchford-Evans and Lisa Scott-Lee also spoke about their chart rivalries with Westlife from the early noughties.

Speaking before the release of their latest best of album, Richards said: "Of course we [care when an album comes out].

"Maybe we don't care quite as much where it charts, to a certain degree. We've got our fan base and we know that a certain amount of them are going to buy it regardless."

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With their latest number one album, they became the first British, mixed-gender group to get an album to number one in four consecutive decades.

Tozer added that they charts are 'so different these days' from when they were first releasing music in the 90s and noughties, and harder to spot a success.

"As long as we have delivered and get a fairly good result, it's not a pressure that we're gonna get dumped after this," she said.

She also said a lot of their fans now had been fans since childhood, loved the band and were happy they were still around, though she did call their early career 'a slog'.

She added: "We have been like fighting against the odds and against the critics for a lot of the early times, and it's really lovely to now be people's choices."

Listen to the full episode to hear more on parenting, on 25 years in the business and some amazing celebrity encounters

Latchford-Evans echoed the thoughts, and said he'd always been frustrated that a lot of the big radio stations would not play Steps songs in their early days.

He said it was hard not to take it personally when the group were working so hard.

"It's great that we're here, 25 years later. The fans haven't really left us, the fans have grown up, they've got children themselves, some of those children are now fans.

"So we're definitely having the last laugh and we're enjoying it still 25 years later," he said.

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The band's 1997 debut single 5,6,7,8 never made it into the top 10 on the UK chart but was everywhere at the time and is still performed by the band now.

Richards said she felt they had to go through the early hard times to get to the point where they could care less, now they had arrived where they wanted to be.

She said: "We're still doing the same thing we did 25 years ago and it doesn't matter that we're not cool anymore."

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 31: Lee Latchford Evans, Claire Richards, Faye Tozer and Ian H Watkins and Lisa Scott Lee of Steps attend a Guinness world record attempt for the largest amount of people dancing to the Steps hit 'Tragedy' on October 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Simon Burchell/Getty Images)
Steps at a Guinness world record attempt for the largest amount of people dancing to the Steps hit 'Tragedy' in 2012. (Getty Images)

They discussed record sales, and how despite selling huge numbers of singles at the time, they often released songs in a week of other huge hits, or said other bands had more people behind them to know which quieter weeks to release in.

When they released One For Sorrow, which Richards remembered sold nearly 150,000 singles in the week, it was kept from the number one spot by 'the Manic Street Preachers releasing the biggest song of the year', If You Tolerate This...

Richards added: "So from the outside of people looking in, I think they would always see us as a little bit of — not a failure — but not quite as good as everybody else. But we were still selling more records."

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