After a decision that could effectively sound the death knell for the 6-year-old "Girl Power!" act that at one time was Britain's biggest pop phenomenon since the Beatles, Melanie Chisholm, 27, better known as Sporty Spice, told Reuters on Thursday that she will no longer be performing with the group. She said that she will instead focus on a career as a solo act. Vowing "I'll always be a Spice Girl," Chisolm, widely considered to be the strongest vocalist in the group, said in a phone interview, "I've not been comfortable being in the Spice Girls for probably the last two years. It doesn't really feel that natural to me anymore . . . I've grown up, and I just feel that I want to do things my own way and not compromise." She also said that she and her colleagues would remain close. "We're still linked business-wise, and we're still friends, but I don't really consider myself to work as a band any more." Spice Girls spokesman Alan Edwards later denied to the BBC that the group was disbanding. "Everyone wants to say it's over, but it isn't," he said.
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