Rita ditches overalls to become a Charli’s angel
Jewish Telegraph, January 2003
SINGER Rita Simons has swapped her greasy overalls for designer labels.
Ilford-born Rita is gearing up for chart success for the second time with her new group Charli.
The 25-year-old enjoyed two top 20 hits with Girls@play in 2001. The five singers in the band adopted personas which they used on stage.
Rita’s character was a car mechanic.
‘‘I decided to leave because it was a bit cheesy,’’ Rita told me this week. ‘‘I wanted to do real music. I’m still good friends with the other girls but I had to get away from writers/producers Stock and Aitken.
‘‘I have no regrets about Girls@play. It was a really good laugh and we were just taking the Mickey all the time.’’
She added: ‘‘We weren’t allowed to do our own stuff and our fanbase was very young.
‘‘I play guitar and write and I’ve started to produce. But I couldn’t do any of that in Girls@play. They were more about marketing. I wasn’t being true to myself.’’
After leaving the group, Rita — who used to attend Maccabi and Shemesh in her youth — moved into acting. She had a cameo in Sky One’s Dream Team where she killed one of the main characters with a drugs overdose.
And she has just finished filming Mile High for Sky One, a new drama about air stewardesses. Rita plays a ‘‘rowdy little cow’’. The series is due to be shown early next month.
Charli were formed two years ago featuring Mia, Sandie, Shar and Claire. They released a couple of white labels in the clubs which got them noticed.
Rita, the niece of entrepreneur Alan Sugar, came into the equation when Claire left to pursue a modelling career. The two girls knew each other, so Claire introduced her to the rest of the band.
Charli release their debut single Feel Me (Urban Records) on February 10.
The R‘n’B flavoured single has been produced by Stef and Suli with a remix by Stepfather. It will also include a mid-tempo garage remix by Masterstepz.
‘‘We’ve still got a few tracks to finish for our album, Fallen Angels,’’ Rita added. ‘‘It’s going to be a very versatile album with salsa, latino, drum and bass, jungle all held together with American-style R‘n’B.
‘‘The last track is going to be an acoustic number with me playing guitar on it.
‘‘Fallen Angels should be released in the summer and we are currently in talks to release it in Europe.
‘‘Our aim is to make people happy. We’ve written all the songs ourselves and are not manufactured.’’
Of the current crop of reality TV pop stars, Rita bitingly said: ‘‘Three months to make it and three months to break it. It’s unfortunate for the performers because they are talented, it’s just the people behind them.’’
Charli have had the perfect introduction to the record buying public after supporting megastars Blue on their 32-date arena tour.
‘‘It was mostly female audiences, but we went down well with the girls,’’ Rita added.
She began her music career with the band Tantrum which included Duncan from Blue and Zack who went on to form Northern Line. She is also friends with Rachel Stevens of S Club.
Rita trained at the Gypsy Booth School of Ballet and Theatre where Geri Halliwell also began her quest for fame.