Eternal are an English R&B girl group formed in 1992. The line-up consists of sisters Easther and Vernie Bennett, and Kéllé Bryan. Louise Redknapp was a member from 1992 until her departure in 1995. Eternal became an international success and achieved fifteen Top 20 hits in the UK, and have sold around 10 million records worldwide. They were considered the UK's answer to the American girl group En Vogue.
The group released their debut studio album Always & Forever in 1993, after which Redknapp left; the group carried on as a trio. In 1998, Bryan was sacked from the group by the other two members, who gave "a breakdown in professional relations" as a reason. The remaining duo split in 2000. The group reformed in 2013 for the second series of the ITV2 series The Big Reunion, with Bryan rejoining the group. Redknapp decided not to return to the group. The group performed a one off concert In March 2014.
1993-96: Formation, Always & Forever and Redknapp's departure:
Eternal were formed in 1992 by music manager Denis Ingoldsby of First Avenue Records, after which Eddie Gordon showed him how the success of En Vogue was built in the United Kingdom. Eternal were quickly signed to EMI Records and released their debut single, "Stay", in September 1993. The song was a success and it reached number four in the UK Singles Chart. The Bennett sisters where scouted in a nightclub in London and eventually found Louise Redknapp. The trio began working together and recording until Redknapp introduced her longtime friend Kelle Bryan to the management in which Bryan auditioned and joined the group.
Eternal released their debut album, Always & Forever in November 1993, and it reached number two. The album sold over 1 million copies in the United Kingdom, and confirmed as 4x Platinum, making it one of 1994's biggest selling albums and the year's biggest selling debut album. They were named Best Group at the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party, and were nominated for four Brit Awards. Louise decided to leave the group before the recording of Eternal's second album, and went on to pursue a successful solo career. In a 2014 interview Vernie Bennett stated that the group where gutted when Louise announced she was leaving and was suggested that Bryan would leave also to form a duo with Redknapp in which Bryan stated she did not wish to do.
1996-00: Power of a Woman, Bryan's departure and split:
Following the departure of Redknapp, the group decided not to replace her and carried on as a trio. Power of a Woman was the first album without Louise, and entered the charts at number six. Another great success for the group, it produced four hit singles, including "Power of a Woman", "I Am Blessed" (which they performed for Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in 1995), and a remixed version of "Good Thing", continuing Eternal's string of Top 20 Hits.
In 1997, Eternal achieved their first ever UK number one, a duet with BeBe Winans, "I Wanna Be the Only One", which became the second most played song on UK Radio in 1997, and stayed at the top spot for one week. It was taken from their third album Before the Rain, which also included "Don't You Love Me". Eternal's Greatest Hits package was released in the later part of 1997, and became the highest selling Greatest Hits package of the year. In 2013, Eternal's Greatest Hits album was confirmed as being the biggest selling "Best Of" by a girl group. It featured their last Top 10 single "Angel of Mine", which reached number four. "Angel of Mine" becomes an E.P which featured four different mixes including a remix by veteran party producer Frankie Cutlass on a track title "Dreams" Feat: Grand Puba and Sadat X.
In 1998, a week after their Party in the Park performance, Kéllé Bryan was controversially sacked by the Bennett Sisters via a fax from their solicitor. Their reasons cited "a breakdown in professional relations". A short time later Bryan was diagnosed with Lupus and was forced to abandon plans for a solo career. Easther & Vernie recruited a new member, TJ Arlette, but she left after a matter of days and the sisters carried on as a duo but it was rumoured that singer Michelle Gayle was to step in as Kelle's replacement but proved untrue. "What'Cha Gonna Do" was released from their fourth album Eternal and hit number 16. With lack of promotion the album charted at number 87, despite positive reviews. The next single "I Cry Real Tears" was expected to be released in April 2000, with a new version of the song. However the single was scrapped due to poor sales of the album and Eternal were dropped from EMI. Internationally, the track "Free To Live" was released, translated to "Libre Para Vivir" the track has moderate success in some European countries. The last televised performance by Eternal was on Songs of Praise in 2000 where Easther and Vernie performed the track "He Is".
In 2006 it was announce that Eternal would be reforming for a live reunion tour alongside other acts including Boyz II Men. Although only Easther Bennett and Kelle Bryan would be part of the project (Vernie Bennett was pregnant at the time and Louise Redknapp was busy with her solo career). In an interview around the time Kelle Bryan revealed that the band had been offered numerous record deals over the past few years since the band had split up. Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances the tour was cancelled. In 2011 Vernie Bennett joined online social networking site Twitter and stated that plans for an Eternal reunion were in their "very early days". This news gave hope to many fans that eventually Eternal would be making a comeback at some point in the future.
2013-present: Reunion as a trio, The Big Reunion and Redknapp's possible return:
Eternal officially confirmed in late 2013 that they would be reforming for the ITV2 documentary The Big Reunion however original member Louise Redknapp would not be rejoining the group. Eternal are now Managed by ASM Damage. ( Under their Television Roster. Louise Redknapp confirmed in an interview with The Times Newspaper that Eternal are reforming for The Big Reunion without her. Louise said: "I'm not doing it because I haven't spoken to the girls in, God, 15 years, and I found out they were doing it via the producers of the programme" and wished them well saying "But They'll be great on the Big Reunion, they're such talented girls". Following the announcement of the groups reformation their 1997 greatest hits album climbed to number 1 on the ITunes hip hop chart in January 2014. Following the group's episode airing their greatest hits album entered at number 27 in the official ITunes chart. The group reformed to perform concert at the Hammersmith Apollo in March 2014, the group performed alongside Bebe Winans for their hit single I Wanna Be The Only One. Vernie Bennett told Now magazine that she met up with Louise Redknapp for coffee and said that she's keen to do something now and there are plans for a full reunion.
Louise Redknapp was the first member of the band to leave to pursue a solo career, scoring a string of Top 10 singles and albums and two UK tours from 1995 to 2003. She married footballer Jamie Redknapp in 1998, and she has also presented a number of television shows including SMTV Live, CD:UK and most notably The Clothes Show, Something for the Weekend and So You Think You Can Dance.
Kelle Bryan experienced minor success after leaving Eternal in the form of a no. 14 single called "Higher Than Heaven" in October 1999, but her debut solo album, Breakfast in Bed, was never released. A second single, "I Wanna Know", was cancelled due to further health issues. She went on to launch her own artist management company, Red Hot Entertainment and finished as the female runner up on the reality TV show Love Island. Kelle appeared in the BBC sitcom series Me & Mrs Jones(2012) with Neil Morrisey . Kelle, who is now a Mother of 2, can be found on Twitter.
Easther Bennett teamed up with reggae band Aswad to record a cover of Diana King's "Shy Guy", which was released as a single in August 2002 and peaked at #62 on the UK Singles Chart. Easther also recorded a solo cover of the classic song "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" which appeared on many "Love" themed compilations around 2002/3 including "The All Time Classic Tearjerkers". She also features on the Peter Cox cover of the Marvin Gaye song "Your Precious Love". Easther then decided to turn to songwriting and has written for many different artists including Girls Aloud. Easther also sings backing vocals on the Dina Carroll track "This time" & "Don't Be a Stranger"(1993) along with her sister Vernie. Vernie Bennett stepped out of the limelight following the split of Eternal. She went back to finish studying law and, in 2006, gave birth to her first child. In August 2010, Bennett signed with ASM Artist Management. Vernie can be found on Twitter
Easther Bennett, (1992-2000, 2013-present)
Vernie Bennett, (1992-2000, 2013-present)
Kelle Bryan, (1992-1998, 2013-present)
Louise Redknapp, (1992-1995)
Note: those in bold are current members.