The Story of Pop: 2000 (Chapter 22)

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Revisiting the UK chart smashes from the year France won the Euro football championships and when Sir Michael Caine received his knighthood, this is The Story of Pop: 2000. This week: the tale of a UK club smash that found fame Stateside before topping our charts for three weeks…

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We saw earlier in the series how Fragma and Madison Avenue both struck it lucky in 2000 with chart topping re-releases (or in the former’s case re-toolings) of earlier singles. But this lady was perhaps the biggest example of all of that formula paying off big time this year.

Originally a vocalist with S’Express, Sonia Clarke – better known by her stage and DJ name, Sonique – had been trying to break into music since the age of 17 when she had moved back to London and into the YMCA, where a youth worker had heard her voice and suggested pursuing a career in it.

But it was DJ’ing that came first after her time with S’Express, notably under the guidance of friend and BBC Radio 1 dance king Judge Jules. This led to her becoming a DJ-in-residence at Club Manumission in Ibiza for three years between 1997 and 1999.

During that time, she also released her first couple of UK top 40 singles, one of which, ‘It Feels So Good’, made #24 in December 1998. But it was almost eighteen months later when it took off in a major and unexpected way over in America.

It had been picked up and played by a DJ in Tampa Bay, Florida, to widespread acclaim from clubbers and dance aficionados alike, kicking themselves for sleeping on it the first time round. A major record deal with Universal Island and Republic followed immediately.

Written by the lady herself about an unrequited crush on a successful male acquaintance in the dance music world, who thought she was in love with his success, ‘It Feels So Good’ had a wistful yet euphoric quality that grew on listeners the more you heard it.

Pent up demand upon its UK re-release on 22nd May 2000 ensured that the single smashed straight in at number one for Sonique, where it stayed for three weeks, making it both the joint longest running chart topper of the year, and first single by a solo British female to spend as many as three weeks at the top since Kate Bush’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ in 1978.

More top 10 hits with ‘Sky’ and a cover of Nina Simone’s ‘I Put A Spell On You’ followed, and a BRIT award win in 2001 for Best British Female. She continues to DJ and perform to this day, but this week we raise a glass to ‘It Feels So Good’, the single that made Sonique a hit both sides of the Atlantic in Y2K.

Don’t forget to follow our brand new playlist on Spotify – updated weekly so you never miss a song from the story of pop in 2000. And you can leave your memories of the songs below in the comments or Tweet us, using the hashtag #StoryofPop2000.

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