Spy: Carly Binding – Why I said no to Popstars and had to quit TrueBliss

Singer-songwriter Carly Binding turned down the opportunity to rejoin the show and the band that made her famous 22 years ago.

Producers of the rebooted Popstars approached her to join the new show with her former band TrueBliss that came together on the show in 1999.

“It would have been cool to be part of the show on my own, to kind of show that side of the Popstars’ story but the producers have their own vision so it’s their call,” Binding tells Spy.

“I ran into Kimbra recently and it was nice to congratulate her on the show. Nothing in life is static and my departure from TrueBliss was part of the evolution of Popstars,” she says.

Binding fought hard to carve out a solo career after she left the manufactured TV band, in which she originally featured alongside Joe Cotton, Megan Alatini, Erika Takacs and Keri Harper.

The band has reunited many times over the decades, and often do shows together for special occasions. Binding has never returned to the stage with them since she left the band after a tour in 2000.

TrueBliss are appearing on the new version of the Popstars as mentors.

Of her time in the band, Binding says she loved being busy and creative all the time.

“Touring, promo, appearances, shoots, studio. Always moving. It suited my temperament,” she says.

She wasn’t prepared for the personal politics that came with being in a band.

“I’ve always been a loner, so I found it difficult to negotiate all the other personalities involved.”

“I reached a point where I was completely disillusioned with everything. My mind and life were both a mess. After the show and subsequent national tour ended, I bought a guitar, taught myself to play it, and started to write songs,” she says.

“I walked away from the group because I had my own path to follow. I had things I wanted to say on my own and a lot to prove to myself and other people.”

Binding’s father was a painter and her mother a theatre performer. She says she felt like a fraud and leaving the band was her absolution.

“Instant fame with no substance wasn’t something to aspire to. I started touring in shows at the age of 13 and by the time I auditioned for Popstars I’d studied music full-time as well as recorded and worked with Phil Fuemana and the original OMC crew,” she says.

Binding went on to a successful solo career, releasing two albums and scoring six top 40 hits.

She toured New Zealand and Australia extensively and enjoyed a stint touring in the States, including the SXSW festival in Austin Texas in 2007.

Industry credibility followed and Binding worked with Boh Runga and guitarist, “the incomparable” Dave Goodison, who became the her right-hand man for the rest of her solo career. She has written with many artists, including the boys from Eskimo Joe as well as Barry Palmer from Hunters & Collectors


“Boh and I released a cover of a classic NZ track by The Crocodiles called Tears for a New Zealand Music Month promo.We’ve played quite a few shows together and have been friends for a bloody long time now.It’s quite hard to jam a decade of music career into a few sentences,” she says.

Binding says the new wannabes on Popstars will have a different experience.

“The young generation of now is far more savvy than we were, the advent of social media kind of dispersed the smoke and mirrors,” she says.

But she has a warning for those seeking instant fame.

“At first it’s exciting and elating. You get caught up in the fantastical world that fame affords you. You are constantly being validated.

“It’s a lot like being at the start of a new relationship. But as they say ‘what goes up, must come down’.People start to become bored from the overexposure. You become a commodity.It’s soul-destroying to have people say and write whatever they feel about you without ever having met you,”

Binding is enjoying a quieter life these days and is focusing on other goals she has outside music, as well as being mother to sons, 10-year-old London, and 2-year-old Felix .

“That’s not to say I won’t make music again. I’d actually love to just tour as a backing vocalist if the opportunity arose. I love the idea of getting that hit and being part of the music without the pressure and intense spotlight.”

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