Claire Freeland

Earlier in the year when ITV aired Popstars no one could have predicted just how popular it was going to be. Move on a few months later and Hear'say are topping the charts with the second single release, the other five "Liberty" have just signed a deal with V2 and our old favourite Claire Freeland is just about the release her solo single "Free". Claire was the one cruelly kicked out for not having the right look but in a show of strength she's back loud and proud on her own independent record label and backed by a whole host of supporters that just can't resist "that voice". We got on the old dog & bone to catch up with all the goss since she left our screens and how its all been going tickety-boo down at G.A.Y.

Q:  Starting from the beginning. Popstars - it was a pretty gruelling experience wasn't it?
A: It was hard-going at the time as well. The way they put you through the heats wasn't what you could call convention - it was all basically for the TV program to add to the tension. In that respect it was even worse than what you typical pop band audition would have been.

I got down to the last 60 and it is gutting, but I think it would be even more gutting if I'd have got down to the last 10. I think that really could have destroyed me!!! I went into it just for a laugh anyway and I thought if nothing comes out of it then fair enough but i've been lucky.

Q: Could you really have gone into the band and been told what to do anyway?
A: No. Probably not cos' I think i'd have too much of an opinion. I think I sort of distanced myself away from that kind of industry basically because they rejected me.

I had done the single and had all the offers and for me to hand that over to a record company just seemed madness. It made sense for me to bring it out myself.

Q: So what do you think of the Hear'say material then?
A: Its good but its not my type of thing. I would rather do some big upbeat anthem type of song but they've been successful with it which is fantastic. I feel really sorry for them when you've got these hoax stories that they've died or something.

Q: The debut single "Free" is a bit of an anthem?
A: Well I hope so. I've done G.A.Y and they've asked me back so its all going well. I don't kind of appreciate peoples comments and them telling me what I should be doing so its probably indicative of where I'm going. Its just upbeat, funky, dancey tunes that you would listen to in a club or something.

Q: Looking back did you ever think it would get to this level?
A: That was the first audition I'd done but even then I never imagined we'd get this far out of it. It does get lonely sometime when you're in hotels and you've no one to talk to, but I'm glad from a business point of view.

When I grew up my heroes were Diana Ross and Lionel Richie but it seems to me that pop acts today just have a really short life-span. Whereas I went to see Lionel Richie a couple of months ago and he's still as good now as he was 10 or 15 years ago.

Q: With you we can honestly say its all about being a singer and still singing 10 years down the line. Its not all about the money which is a tag we could put on most pop acts today?
A: There's rumours that the Steps tour at Christmas will be the last one and I'll be out there with tears in my eyes. But they've obviously made enough money now that they don't need to do it anymore. SO is that the whole point in being a singer - just to make money and then you don't have to work again for the rest of your life. I just think that really sad!!!!

My whole point in wanting to be a singer is to be a singer and enjoy singing and entertaining people. If I didn't make millions and millions as long as I made enough to get by I would do it. I still want to be doing this in 10 years time and I think eventually people will stop talking about the TV program.

"Free" is out July 9th on Statuesque