Lancashire Evening Telegraph 3rd December 2004


From schoolgirl to star: How teenage clubber became a pop princess

It's a teenage girl's wildest dream -- to be offered a chance at the big time on a night out. But it really happened to the Human League's Suzanne Sulley, who told JEMMA DOBSON how she went into a club a student and came out a pop star. . .

IT sounds like a fairytale. Suzanne Sulley, now 41, was studying for her A-levels at a Sheffield college when she and her best friend Joanne Catherall were picked out of a crowd at a nightclub.

The girls were enjoying their weekly Wednesday night out when the Human League's Phil Oakey approached them.

Suzanne said: "I must admit we were a bit surprised when he came over -- and even more when he asked us to go on tour with them."

In 1980, the Human League were rocked by the shock departure of two of their members. Remaining musicians Phil Oakey and Adrian Wright needed to go on tour to maintain the band's name.

Bizarrely, the two teenage girls -- who had no knowledge of the music industry and had never sung professionally -- helped save the band, who went on to have seven Top 10 hits, including a UK and US number one with Don't You Want Me.

Suzanne said: "Before we knew it, going on tour with them turned into

becoming full members of the band and we have never looked back since. The funny thing is, we weren't particularly great singers."

The band -- fresh from receiving the Innovation in Sound prize at the 2004 Q Magazine Awards -- have just set out on their latest 20-date tour and show no signs of slowing down after a career of more than 25 years.

Suzanne -- who has had a normal full-time job -- joined the band at the age of 17, giving up a Saturday job in a hairdresser's and a summer job selling ice cream at her local cinema.

She said: "We were just normal girls at school. We never went to poncey stage school and I think we gained a lot of fans because of that. We are so lucky to have the best job in the world and if we have inspired any young girls to follow their dreams because we are proof it can happen to anyone, then we have done a good job.

"One thing I will advise, though, is that it is not as glamorous as people think. It's hard work but we do get to travel to so many fantastic places.

"And I still get nervous. The first time we go on stage at the start of a tour I'm nervous, mainly because I often lose my voice and I'm worried that I never know when that might happen."