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Pop Princess Enjoys The Honeymoon


By Michelle CRUICKSHANK. 20 December 1998

(c) 1998

IT seems every generation spawns a teen sensation. In the '60s it was Lulu, Michael Jackson stepped up to the microphone in the '70s, and the '80s saw the likes of Tiffany and Debbie Gibson have their brief moment in the spotlight.

Now there's a new pubescent popstar - Billie Piper, or as she's known to her legions of underage fans, Billie.

It's no accident, she says, that Billie is the first person in 30 years to have a No 1 debut in British charts with Because We Want To. "I've always known I wanted to be famous," says the 16-year-old pop princess.

Piper decided to be a performer when she was five. When she was 12 she left home to attend the Sylvia Young Theatre School in London - where All Saints and the Spice Girls also picked up a few tricks of the trade.

A couple of years later she was spied fronting a Smash Hits campaign and before the ink was dry on her record deal Billie Piper had become Billie, a girl next door singing sensation - and a cash cow.

Despite her ambition and confidence, she admits she sometimes finds her success bewildering. "To be honest, I never imagined this," she says. "It has happened extremely fast so I'm still coming to terms with it and accepting it all."

And there is a lot to come to terms with in the vice-laden world of pop stardom. Sampling the fruits of success "because she wants to" has already caused some controversy.

Spied sipping champagne to celebrate her chart triumph, Billie was branded "alcoholic" by some British tabloids and was grounded by her parents. Hardly hardcore stuff - but then, neither is she.

"I am pretty confident I won't fall into all of that drugs and partying - almost 100% sure - but you can never really know what will happen.

"I've got a really stable family and the team that works around me is really down-to-earth.

"To be honest, I never really think I'll get into all that stuff because that's not what I'm into."

What she's into is staying top of the pops. Her debut album Honey To the B and new hit single Girlfriend won't revolutionise the music world but the catchy pop is winning Billie a legion of fans around the world.

She's aware of the fickle nature of the music industry and the short shelf life her forerunners have had. The future may be uncertain but Billie is determined to get what she can while she can.

"I do worry about it," she admits. "But it does make it more of a challenge. If you think of it that way, it makes me more ambitious."