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Piper Plays Her Tune


By CYCLONE WEHNER. 24 December 1998

(c) 1998 Herald and Weekly Times Limited

LONG before Billie Piper had even signed a record deal she would study a Madonna poster on her bedroom wall and map out her own plans for world domination.

Sure, Piper may have just turned, as she puts it, "sweet 16 and never been kissed", but she is more self-possessed than many of her older peers. And with two hit singles, Because We Want To and Girlfriend, as well as a Spice-like pop album, Honey to the B, on the shelves, Piper has good reason to be smiling. She is on her way to becoming a material girl - just like her two role models, Madonna and Janet Jackson.

Piper's journey to the top began when she attended the well-known Sylvia Young Theatre School in London for 21/2 years. Along the way she landed the odd acting role including, ironically, a cameo appearance in Madonna's movie, Evita. Then Piper successfully auditioned to become the fresh face of the Smash Hits magazine advertising campaign. A label representative spotted her, and so Piper the pop star was born. And yet, throughout it all, Piper insists that her parents - a builder and a housewife from modest Swindon - were not the ones pushing her. "I don't know where I got my drive from," she says. "I think a lot of young people dream about being famous but I was very dedicated."

Despite the stress of growing up in public, Piper isn't about to crack. "I'm aware of the pressures but, to be honest, it doesn't really bother me because I've always wanted to be a performer," she says in slightly rehearsed tones.

"I actually quite like the thought of people seeing me grow up, although I do need my own space and time."

Is Piper fazed by anything? "I do worry about things, but the way I look at it is that you only live once. You have to enjoy what you're doing, otherwise what's the point?" For the record, the thing that worries this pocket-inspirational-book-on-legs the most is "failure".

There is little fear of that just yet. Piper has come out with the perfect pop album for the '90s. Honey To The B blends pop, R&B and soul into a sumptuous strawberry milkshake. In fact, Piper could be Brandy's little sister. Or the girl Hanson secretly have a crush on.

It makes perfect sense that she is close friends with B*witched. "This album is all about me and my emotions and feelings and, you know, things that people my age can relate to."

Honey To The B (Virgin) out now.