Honeyz

Biography: "We've dreamed about this since we were little girls. And now our dream's coming true." (Naima)
It took less than two years for the Honeyz to sashay slinkily into the pop consciousness and become the Crown Princesses of R&B/Pop in the UK. Their debut single 'Finally Found', released in August 1998, introduced the angel-voiced trio to the British public and promptly went on to sell more than half a million copies. The follow-up, 'End Of The Line', notched up similarly impressive figures. Their album 'Wonder No. 8' went gold in the UK with sales of well over 200,000 copies. Modesty prevails though. "We're still only on the first step of the ladder," says Celena, "but we're determined to keep on climbing."
During this time there's been a whirlwind of activity, leaving the group with barely a moment to reflect on their achievements. Aside from their success in the UK, they performed with a full live orchestra in Holland, to 8000 people at Childline in Dublin, duetted with
"We've dreamed about this since we were little girls. And now our dream's coming true." (Naima)
It took less than two years for the Honeyz to sashay slinkily into the pop consciousness and become the Crown Princesses of R&B/Pop in the UK. Their debut single 'Finally Found', released in August 1998, introduced the angel-voiced trio to the British public and promptly went on to sell more than half a million copies. The follow-up, 'End Of The Line', notched up similarly impressive figures. Their album 'Wonder No. 8' went gold in the UK with sales of well over 200,000 copies. Modesty prevails though. "We're still only on the first step of the ladder," says Celena, "but we're determined to keep on climbing."
During this time there's been a whirlwind of activity, leaving the group with barely a moment to reflect on their achievements. Aside from their success in the UK, they performed with a full live orchestra in Holland, to 8000 people at Childline in Dublin, duetted with Lionel Richie in Italy, and have seen their first two singles, 'Finally Found' and 'End Of The Line', both go double platinum in Australia. In the US, they signed to Def Jam/Island, lent backing vocals to a Foxy Brown track and worked with producer Stevie J (Toni Braxton, Deborah Cox, Puff Daddy).
It hasn't all been plain sailing though. It was during a second promotional trip Down Under in March '99 that Naima and Celena heard that former Honey, Heavenli, had decided to quit the group for personal reasons. "Of course, it was a big shock," admits Naima, "But we respect her decision, and we wish her a lot of luck in whatever she decides to do."
The gap left by Heavenli's departure opened a wonderful opportunity for former Solid HarmoniE vocalist Mariama Goodman. Her arrival was announced exclusively on BBC 1's 'Live & Kicking' on April 10th 1999. Mariama was set straight to work with the Honeyz over the Summer '99, performing at London's Mardi Gras and Capital Radio's Party In The Park Concert in Hyde Park in July. At the radio extravaganza, performing in front of 100,000 people, the Honeyz brought the proverbial house down with hits 'Finally Found' and 'End Of The Line', before duetting with Another Level on the Help A London Child single 'Holding Back The Years'. This was followed later in the month by a performance at the 'Wicked Women' concert in Hyde Park, in aid of Breast Cancer Research. In September, the Honeyz supported Five at London's Brixton Academy and Manchester Apollo, in special one-off events organised in conjunction with Cadburys and MTV.
October 1999 saw the release of their fourth single, 'Never Let You Down', a brand new track recorded for inclusion on a repackaged version of the Honeyz debut album, 'Wonder No.8', and the first single to feature the vocals of Mariama. The single smashed into the UK Singles Chart at No.7, scoring hit number four for the R&B babes.
The repackaged, remastered version of 'Wonder No.8' was now reading like a greatest hits so far for the Honeyz. Released on 1st November 1999, the album featured all four hit singles plus the Honeyz R&B Club Chart No.1 hit 'In The Streets'.
The Honeyz performed another brand new track on the album, 'Won't Take It Lying Down', at the prestigious MOBO Awards, held on October 6th 1999 in the Royal Albert Hall, where they had picked up two nominations in the 'Best Newcomer' and 'Best R&B Act' categories. 'Won't Take It Lying Down', an uptempo slice of street soul, was released as a single on First Avenue Records/Mercury Records in February 2000, debuting in the singles chart at No.7.
Everything seemed business as usual for the Honeyz through the first half of 2000. After 5 Top 10 singles in as many releases and a nomination for a Brit Award in the category Best Newcomer (as shortlisted by the listeners of Radio One), they had successfully beaten off all the competition in the UK. They had rocked the house with two outstanding performances at Capital Radio's Party In The Park on 9th July and as the main support at Five's Route Of Kings concert in Hyde Park the following week. Plans were underway for their follow up second album. A brand new single was recorded and had just been confirmed as not only the first single to be taken from the new album, but also the second single to be released from the 'Nutty Professor II' original soundtrack, with the Honeyz featuring on the UK version alongside Sisqo and Janet Jackson. The single 'Not Even Gonna Trip' was even funkier and fresher than it's predecessor, and was due for release late September 2000.
It was during the run up to the single release, in August, that Mariama Goodman announced her departure from the Honeyz. Celena and Naima were faced with an uncertain future for the band they both believed in, but as fortune would have it, a chance meeting with former Honey Heavenli Abdi proved the original spark between the three friends was still there, and an invitation to rejoin was eagerly accepted. Heavenli's vocals for the new single 'Not Even Gonna Trip' were recorded and the official announcement of the renewed line up was made on ITV's flagship children programme SMTV/CD:UK, on Saturday 19th August 2000, along with a performance of 'Finally Found', poignant in that it was the first ever performance by a band on CD:UK on it's launch almost two years earlier to the day, on 20th August 1998. Despite the excellent opportunity of appearing on a huge movie soundtrack, the single 'Not Even Gonna Trip' failed to make the Top 20 in the UK charts, crashing in at a disappointing #28.
The groups flop took the industry by surprise, a seemingly original and exciting new talent, who had amazing success and recognition with their debut effort, had lost their status as quickly as they had gained it. Keen for their flagship group to succeed, Mercury Records pushed on with the group's second album with high hopes and promptly released the single 'I Dont Know'. It did even worse than its predecessor. The label pushed on still, with a view to releasing a third track 'Talk To The Hand' as soon as possible, but, over-ruled by anxious and profit-controlled executives, the group were dropped from the label's roster. It would be the last time the group would record together.

In 2001, the three ladies continued shopping around thier unreleased album 'Harmony' to numerous record companies, but to no success. They went their separate ways, eager to ride of what distant success they had achieve to lay the basis for solo careers. Lead vocalist Célena Cherry returned to the charts in June 2003, when she released the summer feel-good club banger 'This Is Your Night', under the name Anotherside which consisted of her and her talented cousin vocalist. The track marked a triumph return and was a Top 10 hit in the UK. But Célena is now eager to launch her long-planned solo career and is working on new material for a solo album with a 2004 release. The group's other members have stayed out of the lime light for years now, through their own choice or not. But the group still maintains their following and thier debut album, which went onto Platinum status, remains a classic and leading title of UK Urban Music.
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