The Story of Pop: 2000 (Chapter 27)

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Bringing you the sounds and sights of the UK charts from the year Prince William received his A Levels, and when the Slaters arrived on Albert Square in EastEnders, this is The Story of Pop: 2000. This week – the first of three Irish acts we’re covering in the coming weeks, and this one’s a corking debut…

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If you want an example of how record companies were breathlessly playing catch up to the phenomenal success of Britney Spears, then 2000 is full and plenty of them. And it was two decades ago this week that we were introduced to the Emerald Isle’s answer to Kentwood, Louisiana’s finest.

A former graduate of Billie Barry Stage School – Ireland’s equivalent of Sylvia Young or Italia Conti – Dublin born Samantha Mumba was first discovered when she was just 15 years old, as a contestant on the RTÉ talent show Let Me Entertain You, by Boyzone and Westlife svengali – and future X Factor funny man – Louis Walsh.

So impressed was he by her talent, she was signed to Polydor Records there and then, with work beginning on her debut album in Denmark, Sweden, the UK and Ireland. Said album arrived just two years later, when she had just turned 17.

Her debut single and title track from the album, ‘Gotta Tell You’ was a show stopping, punchy pop tour de force, about realising love for a friend, not knowing it was there all along, but feeling unable to act further on it: ‘Don’t wanna love you if you don’t love me / Don’t wanna need you when you won’t need me too’.

Coupled with an eye catching video of her attempting both parkour and dance routines, ‘Gotta Tell You’ was an immediate success, spending five weeks at the top of the Irish charts, peaking at #2 here in the UK and even more impressively, hitting #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the States.

It started off two years of top 10 hit making for Samantha, as well as a film career when she appeared in a big budget movie of the HG Wells novel The Time Machine in 2002. But to this week, we salute Samantha and ‘Gotta Tell You’, a classic gem of pop from the summer of 2000.

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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