Geri Horner: ‘The Spice Girls reflected what young girls were feeling’

The singer, 45, on other people’s stories, emotional eating and finding ‘the one’

Everything I have done has been about connecting with people. In the Spice Girls we were just trying to reflect what a lot of young girls were feeling at the time. They wanted to be heard, they wanted to be pretty and they wanted to be individual – but also to connect with other women. Now I’m writing books and doing TV and I’m still driven by other people’s stories. I’m as interested in the postman as I am the president.

I used to get a sense of power when I performed, but I’ve lost my ego. I don’t have that drive to be a star Maybe it’s got something to do with being a mum. At some point “Me, me, me” gets a little bit dull. When I was younger I used to get high off basking in the adulation. Now I’d rather be jamming around a piano.

At my age, I thought IVF was just the reality. Having Monty [her 16-month-old son with Red Bull racing boss Christian Horner] has taught me the value of patience. We live in a world of amazing doctors and science, but also a society where we want things instantly. Conceiving naturally at 44 taught me to trust in the process of life and nature.

In some ways it’s simpler being a single parent. When I had Bluebell [12] it was just the two of us, existing in a little bubble. Now I’ve got Monty there’s more support, but also more voices.

We all numb our emotions in different ways. When my father died, I didn’t know what to do with my feelings. I was 21 and didn’t want to bother people. My solution was to use food as a control. I didn’t want to eat because I was sad, but it was also a way of blocking things out. It was only when I left the Spice Girls that I started to deal with that.

For me, writing is a healing experience. Wannabe was the most important song of my career, and when you strip back the lyrics, I still think it applies to lots of relationships. I’ve written other songs on a whim – I wrote the chorus for Stop in my Bed, for instance. I’ve always been drawn to lyrics, whereas Melanie C was also really talented at melodies.

I have flaws, but when you turn the volume down on them, they can be useful. Yes, I’m impatient, but turn that down and I’m driven. Turn down my perfectionism and I do things to the best of my ability. What I can’t seem to turn down is the nagging. When I make a point I absolutely hammer it home. I’ll go on and on, saying it five different ways, until my husband tunes out.

If you want to find the one, you’ve got to be yourself, totally. I’ve definitely been guilty of breathing in, trying to be something the other person wants. What you want is to find the person you can be your ultimate nerd with.

I’m really not a fan of the cold – it reminds me of being a child and having no central heating. If you come to my house, it’s always toasty, but I also go out in skiwear. I’ve had the same pair of salopettes since I was 25 – I once went on a date with somebody in them. Now, when it’s chilly, I’ll pop them on for the school run.

I would like to be remembered for having a good heart. I like to think my heart’s in the right place, even when I get it wrong.

Of course I’m sad that I didn’t pull off a Spice Girls reunion. For me it’s always about the fans. I didn’t care if there wasn’t any new material. I pushed so hard [for the 20th anniversary] and it was a bit like having a boyfriend who doesn’t want to be in a relationship with you. I can’t make the other girls get up on stage, so at some point you have to let it go.


Megan Conner

The GuardianTramp

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