- 06 Jun 19
21 years ago today, B*Witched debuted at No.1 in the UK with their smash hit single ‘C’est La Vie’. On the same day, Boyzone also topped the UK Albums Chart for the third time with Where We Belong - marking the first time in history that both UK No.1 positions were occupied by Irish acts. To celebrate, we’re revisiting John Walshe’s 1998 interview with B*Witched, in which the girls discuss their meteoric rise to the top of the charts at home and abroad.
B*Witched need no introduction at this stage. Unless you've been hiding under a particularly remote rock somewhere in the nether regions of darkest Kinnegad, you're surely familiar with their debut single, the infectious pop number 'C'est La Vie' which went straight into the Irish and UK charts at number one, an achievement which the vast majority of today's established acts have never managed.
Were they surprised when their first single entered the charts at the top spot? "Surprised isn't the word," laughs Edele Lynch, lead vocalist, over the phone from the UK studio where they are recording the B*sides for their second single 'Rollercoaster', due out in September.
"We were completely shocked. We were kinda hoping for a Top 30 placing, so we could build ourselves a fan-base as we went along. Everything started going so well with the video, and with TV and radio, that we thought maybe we'd go Top 10. But we didn't dream it was going to go in at number one. When they told us, we didn't believe it, then we just started bawling and crying. When it stayed at number one for the second week, it was even better. It was just unbelievable."
B*Witched are made up of 18-year-old Edele and her twin sister Keavy, along with 19-year-old Sinéad O'Carroll and Lindsay Armaou. The fact that the twins' older brother is Shane Lynch of Boyzone and a cursory listen to their particular brand of polished pop thrills may lead one to suspect that B*Witched are the product of a cynical manufacturing process that's not so much witchcraft as money-worship. However, the truth is that these girls were casting their musical spells before they had a manager, let alone a record deal.
"Myself and Keavy always wanted to do something together musically, ever since we were younger, and Lindsay and Sinéad always wanted to do their own thing," says Edele. The girls knew each other slightly while attending Digges Lane dance studios, but it wasn't until Sinéad arrived (with her mother and a broken-down car) into the twins' dad's garage in Finglas, where Keavy was working as a part-time mechanic, that they began to contemplate forming a band. They then decided to go into a recording studio to see what happened.
"Ever since that day, we knew we were supposed to be together and we didn't need anyone else," recalls Edele. "We just clicked as friends and as musical partners."
It was while working on their choreography in Digges Lane that the girls got their first lucky break. "It all happened by fate that everything came together," remembers Edele. "RTE were doing a documentary on Digges Lane for TX, the Saturday morning kids' show, and they came in while we were there and filmed a bit of us. They asked us to come back a week later and we performed our song on the show." It was thanks to this performance that the girls met up with their managers, and a record deal with Sony soon followed.
So how much did it help to be able to call on the advice of an old hand of the pop scene, older brother Shane?
"It was quite handy to have Shane, who's done it before, because we saw that if we made it, how hard it was going to be and how hard we'd have to work," Edele states. "He was always away from home. He said just to make sure that we did want it because it's a really, really hard job to do and you end up very tired. But it never stopped the drive and ambition among the four of us to do it."
Stream B*Witched's 'C'est La Vie' and Boyzone's Where We Belong below: