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Faye Falls Back I? ?Steps; Steps have reclaimed their musical crown and are ready for a summer tour. Faye Tozer tells MARION MCMULLEN that it's good to be back on the road with her partners in pop.

Byline: MARION MCMULLEN

FAYE Tozer knows exactly what essentials she needs to pack for the Summer Of Steps tour. "A hair kit, a make-up kit and a gym kit," she rattles off, before adding with a laugh, "although the gym kit might not always get used to be fair, but the aim, the promise is there.

"I'll also pack a cap and sunglasses - the essential pop kit - and a bloomin' good coat that can deal with all sorts of weather. Oh, and a fabulous pair of high heels because you never know when you might go out to dinner."

The 42-year-old mum is packing her suitcases to spend the next few months touring with fellow Steps members Lee Latchford-Evans, Claire Richards, Lisa Scott-Lee and Ian "H" Watkins.

"We got back together last year for the 20th anniversary and we all slotted back into our old positions. We had a great time and it was quite easy being back together," she says.

"We're in a really good place - we're all older and wiser in a good way and we go out socialising and have dinner together. It helps that we have a great time, we believe in it, and that makes it so lovely to perform."

Steps first broke on to the pop scene in 1997 and their debut single 5,6,7,8 achieved huge success.

They became synonymous with lively dance performances, colourful costumes, and catchy pop hits like their cover version of Tragedy by the Bee Gees and songs like One For Sorrow and Better Best Forgotten.

The group notched up an unbroken run of 14 top five singles - including three number ones - two four-times platinum albums and one five-times platinum album.

Until their break up in 2001, they achieved an impressive 20 million in record sales and seven sold-out arena tours. They reunited a decade later for their 2011 hits compilation The Ultimate Collection and a sell-out 20-date tour and were back again last year to mark their 20th anniversary. Now the new Summer Of Steps tour will see them in concert all over the UK.

For Faye performing and being on a stage has always felt natural to her. "I was six when I did my very first performance and got my first wage packet. I was in a stage show with Davy Jones from The Monkees," she remembers. "I worked with the Royal Ballet later that year as well and I did my first play when I was 12. I always wanted to do musical theatre, but then Steps came along and that came first."

She says they have all been getting in shape for the tour and are ready for all their dance moves.

"There was a lot of dancing with Steps, but it does get tougher and tougher," she admits with a wry grimace. "You do feel it on your joints. You have to make the effort. You need stamina to run up and down stairs at the concerts, get changed then go on stage and sing."

She adds: "I feel so lucky though. Steps is such an incredible machine, such a great business. It's our baby and it's always going to be there.

"It's lovely for me to take the Steps hat off for two seconds every now and again and go and do something else. I've had incredible roles in incredible shows and I always hope to be doing that as well, but the audiences just go crazy at a Steps concert. It's time to have a bit of a sing and dance and just enjoy the buzz of it. The fans keep coming back and it's all the generations now from grandchildren to grannies and they are just singing their hearts and dancing."

Many of Steps now have families of their own, Ian "H" has twin boys, Claire and Lisa both have a boy and a girl, and Faye's son Benjamin is nine. "I've got a very supportive family. Benjamin is at school now. In the past I'd pack a suitcase and off we'd go. He used to come on tour with me when he was three and he would go to sleep on the 'magic bus' and wake up somewhere different," she smiles. "He doesn't remember that now, but when we played Wembley last year all our children came on stage for The Way You Make Me Feel. They were young enough and enthusiastic enough to enjoy it. It was a lovely moment."

?Steps play the Butts Park Arena in Coventry on June 24

CAPTION(S):

Faye, left, says she and her Steps bandmates, pictured in 1999 (above, left) and today (right), still have fun together

Left to right: Ian H Watkins, Lisa Scott-Lee, Claire Richards, Faye Tozer and Lee Latchford-
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:May 25, 2018
Words:792
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