S Club Juniors chart-topper from town

THEY are the youngsters of the pop world who have made it big and now with the help of an Ipswich musician they look set to secure another chart hit.

By Jo Macdonald

THEY are the youngsters of the pop world who have made it big and now with the help of an Ipswich musician they look set to secure another chart hit.

S Club Juniors are set to release their new single, New Direction, on Monday and no one will be more eager to see how it does than Ricky Hanley who co-wrote the track.

Ricky, who lives in Ipswich with his wife Linda and children Ben, 15, Nathan, 12, and Ella, six, penned the music for the track more than a year ago.

"I co-wrote it with Georgie Dennis, the younger sister of Cathy Dennis," he explained. "We initially wrote it for Kylie and had been asked for something similar to Can't Get You Out Of My Head. Then Simon Fuller heard it and wanted it. H and Claire also wanted the song so we knew it was good."

Once Simon Fuller, the influential head of 19 Management which handles Pop Idol, Will Young and Gareth Gates among others, had heard the song it was not long before S Club Juniors were in the studio and recording it.

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It is receiving plenty of airplay and is a regular video on music channels including The Box and Smash Hits therefore expectations are high. Ricky is confident it is at least a top ten hit, although he fears the release of Las Ketchup's Ketchup song on the same day may hinder how high it reaches in the charts.

"Top ten is considered a hit," he said, "but we're hoping for top five. If I can get a top five hit that will be fine. I'll be very happy."

Ricky was a session musician before he started writing and has appeared on Top of the Pops many times as a backing singer. The writing side of the business is now beginning to take hold, however. He has already penned album and b-side tracks for artists including Irish band Bellefire and solo artist Jo Breezer but he hopes his first real single helps establish him further. And he's optimistic, with plenty of projects on the horizon.

"I've been writing for about three years but this is my first single," the 40-year-old explained. "It's been a long road, especially with the session stuff which kept me away from home quite a lot. Hopefully this will give me the prospect to work from home and, if it's a hit single, it should hopefully make things better financially.

"I've just produced a track with Liberty X which will be the b-side of the next single and is the first production I've done. They've also asked me to write a track for the next album.

"I've also written a track for Will Young and Simon Fuller has asked me to write one for Justin, the runner up in American Idol."

"There's loads of things happening over the next few months," he added.

"Singing is taking a back seat as the writing is taking over. I'm definitely on the bottom spiral making my way up."

News that Ricky is aiding S Club Juniors comes as an added boost to the region's stars who are impacting the charts.

Just over two weeks ago Charlie Simpson, who hails from Woodbridge, scored a number three hit with his debut single, What I Go To School For, recorded with his band Busted.

Busted, described as a British version of US bands Blink 182 and Wheatus, are now waiting to find out where their self titled debut album will chart on Sunday.

n S Club Junior's new single, New Direction, is released on Monday.