r&b group Eternal
| Easther Bennett (1992-99)
Vernie Bennett (1992-99)
Louise Nurding (1992-95)
Eternal were a MOBO award winning British R&B girl group formed in 1992.
The group consisted of sisters Easther and Vernie Bennett, Kéllé Bryan and Louise Nurding, and went on to become one of the United Kingdom's most successful girl groups of all time, achieving both domestic and global success.
The group achieved fifteen Top 20 hits in the UK between 1993-99, the first of which ("Stay") was also a Top 20 hit in the US.
Globally, Eternal's total sales are claimed to be in excess of 10 million records.
Group biography (1992-2000)
Eternal were formed in 1992 by music manager Denis Ingoldsby of First Avenue Records, the group consisting of sisters Easther & Vernie Bennett, Kéllé Bryan and Louise Nurding were signed to EMI Records in 1993.
They launched onto the music scene with their debut single "Stay" in September 1993. The single was a success on both sides of the Atlantic reaching no. 4 in the United Kingdom and no. 19 in the US.
Their debut album Always & Forever soon followed, released on 29 November 1993, peaking at no. 2. The album sold over one million copies in their homeland, making Eternal the first girl group to achieve a million-selling album in the UK. It was 1994's fourth biggest selling album and includes six Top 15 singles, including the Top 5 hit "Oh Baby I", released October 1994.
Eternal's success was quickly recognized. They were named Best Group at the 1993 Smash Hits Poll Winners' Party, and in 1995 they were nominated in four BRIT Award categories, including Best Album for Always & Forever.
In June 1995, Louise left the band to pursue a solo career, amid marked controversy that she was the only white member in the quartet. There was speculation that Eternals management had wanted Louise to leave the group to improve Eternal's chances of achieving success in the US, though this was denied. Louise has since stated that she simply wanted to pursue a solo career and had signed a solo deal with EMI six months prior to her official departure. She went on to achieve considerable success in her own right.
Eternal returned to the recording studio as a trio, and recorded their second album Power of a Woman, released on 5 November 1995. The LP peaked at no. 6 on the UK Albums chart and includes four Top 10 hit singles, such as "I Am Blessed" and the no. 5 hit "The Power of a Woman".
They achieved notable popularity in Japan when a song taken from the album, Who are You?, was used in a Toyota advert, and reached no. 1 in the Japanese singles chart. The advert was broadcast globally.
In March 1996, Eternal released the theme song for Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame, entitled "Someday". Eternal's version of the track was not featured on the US edition of the soundtrack; instead American soul group All-4-One took the vocal honours.
Someday was the first release from Eternals third studio album, Before the Rain, which was released on 17 March 1997, and peaked at no. 3 on the UK Albums Chart. Also included on this album was their first and only UK chart-topper, I Wanna Be the Only One, a duet with BeBe Winans. This track was nominated for Best Single at the Brit Awards, MOBO Awards and Capital FM Award, winning at the latter two events, but losing out at the Brit Awards to All Saints with their million-selling single, "Never Ever". "I Wanna Be the Only One" was also the third most played song on UK radio in 1997.
Eternal released their Greatest Hits package on 26 October 1997. It contains their fourteen consecutive top 15 hit songs which, at the time, was a record for a British female group. The compilation reached no. 2, and went on to sell almost one million copies in the UK. It was 1997's ninth best selling album and the most successful greatest hits package from any act that year.
The compilation included the track, Angel of Mine, which was released as the albums only single. It gave the group the last Top 10 single of their career when it reached no. 4 in October 1997. The song went on to become a US no. 1 hit for R&B singer Monica when she covered it in 1999.
In 1998 Bryan was controversially sacked from the group. She had been asked to leave the group by Easther and Vernie via a letter from their solicitor, reportedly citing a breakdown of professional relations between the sisters and Bryan.
Easther and Vernie recruited a replacement member called TJ, who subsequently left after only a brief stint with the group. The Bennett sisters decided the way forward was to continue the group as a duo, and released "What'cha Gonna Do" in October 1999. The single reached no. 16, their lowest charting single since 1993. A month previously, Bryans first (and only) single "Higher Than Heaven" reached two places higher, at no. 14.
After "Whatcha Gonna Do" Easther and Vernie released their fourth, self-titled album which charted at no. 87. Some critics said that it could have been Eternal's first no. 1 album if it had more promotion. A second single, "Treat Me Like A Lady", was planned but EMI declined to release any more records and Eternal were dropped from the label in 2000. There are different views on which single was to be released second off the album as in Spain, "I Cry Real Tears" had been released but on Children In Need 1999, the sisters performed "If She Breaks Your Heart" citing online communities to wonder if this was to be the next single.
An Eternal reunion almost took place in 2006, when an arena tour featuring a number of R&B acts was planned. As well as Eternal, the line-up included Mark Morrison, Dina Carroll, Boyz II Men and En Vogue. Tickets for the scheduled 10-date tour went on sale on 31 March 2006. The tour was due to take place in October 2006, however it was cancelled just one week later due to poor ticket sales. This Eternal reunion would, however, have only included Easther Bennett and Kéllé Bryan, as Vernie Bennett was unable to take part due to being pregnant at the time with her first child.
In August 2007, an Eternal remix album titled The Remixes was available to download.
Since 2007, various rumours of a reunion have been reported though none of these have come to fruition.
Solo achievements (1995-present)
- Main article: Louise Redknapp
Louise was the first member of the band that left to pursue a solo career, scoring a string of Top 10 singles and albums and two UK tours from 1995 to 2003. She married football player Jamie Redknapp in 1998, and she has also presented a number of television shows including SMTV Live, CD:UK and most notably The Clothes Show. She has expressed a desire to return to her the music industry as a solo artist. In a recent Interview, Louise says she has not spoken to Easther or Vernie Bennett for years, but sees Bryan occasionally.
- Main article: Kéllé Bryan
As a singer, Bryan experienced minor success after leaving Eternal in the form of a no. 14 single called "Higher Than Heaven" in October 1999, but her debut solo album, Breakfast In Bed, was never released. A second single, "I Wanna Know", was also cancelled due to lack of media interest. Bryan was also dealing with personal health issues, following her diagnosis as a sufferer of lupus, which contributed to the shelving of her musical career. She now campaigns for the awareness of this illness.
She has also tried her hand at television presenting. Prior to 2002 she presented The N List on Nickelodeon with Dave Berry, and co-hosted an ITV Play phone-in quiz Glitterball in 2007.
Bryan took part in ITV's Love Island as one of 11 contestants in July 2006. She was a runner-up in the show.
Bryan has also starred in three pantomimes. In 2006 and again in 2007 she played Cinderella. In 2008 she played in Aladdin (as Princess Jasmine) in Rickmansworth.
Easther Bennett teamed up with reggae band Aswad to record a cover of Diana King's "Shy Guy" which was released as a single in August 2002. However, the single failed to make an impact on the UK singles chart and peaked at no. 62. That same year, Easther provided backing vocals on Girls Alouds cover of "Stay Another Day" which was the B-side to their Christmas no. 1 hit "Sound of the Underground".
She also recorded two songs that featured on compilation CDs. In 2003, her cover of "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" was featured on a Valentine's Day love songs compilation CD. The following year Easther recorded a cover of "We are Family" for the soundtrack to the film Tooth, which featured in the end credits.
In 2005, Easther wrote a track called "Offence" which was intended to appear on Mel B's album L.A. State of Mind, however the track was ultimately not included.
Easthers sister Vernie stepped out of the lime-light following the demise of Eternal. She went back to finish studying law and, in 2006, gave birth to her first child.
- Main article: Eternal discography
- 1993: Always & Forever
- 1995: Power of a Woman
- 1997: Before the Rain
- 1997: Greatest Hits
- 1999: Eternal