Jo O'Meara

Jo O'Meara

Infobox musical artist
Name = Jo O'Meara

Img_capt =
Img_size =
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = Joanne Valda O'Meara
Alias =
Born = Birth date and age|1979|4|29|df=yes
Rush Green, Greater London, United Kingdom
Origin =
Children = Lenny (b. 12 May, 2008)
Instrument = Voice
Genre = Pop
Occupation = Singer, songwriter
Years_active = 1999-
Label = Innocent Records
Associated_acts = 2-4 Family (1996-1998)
S Club (1998-2003)
"Solo" (2005-2006, 2008-present
URL = [ IMDB Profile]
Joanne Valda O'Meara (born 29 April, 1979 in Rush Green) is an English singer, dancer and actress. Formerly the lead singer of pop group S Club (7), she launched a solo career after the group's split in 2003, which was cut short following an appearance on "Celebrity Big Brother" where she was embroiled in a controversy concerning claims of racial bullying.

Life and early career (1996 - 1998)

O'Meara was born in Rush Greencite news |coauthors=Michelle Archard and Deanne Blaylock |title=Essex girls battle it out in Celebrity Big Brother |url= |work=Essex Chronicle |publisher=Essex Chronicle Series Ltd |page=27 |date=2007-01-11 |accessdate=2007-01-27 |language=English |quote=Jo, 27, was born in Rush Green and grew up in Collier Row. She attended Clockhouse Junior School and Bower Park School in Havering North Road.] in East London to parents Dave and Barbara. She grew up in Collier Row, a suburban housing estate in the north of Romford in the London Borough of Havering. She was educated at Clockhouse Junior School and Bower Park School.

In 1998, O'Meara started off her music career in the hip hop/rap group, 2-4 Family. She was however, only a part of the group for the duration of one track release, before deciding to leave to pursue other projects and aids.

S Club 7 (1999 - 2003)

In her teenage years, O'Meara would serve food at her local pub in Ilford. It was there that someone from 19 Entertainment spotted her on stage and recruited her to join a new pop group S Club 7. She was a prominent member of the British group, singing most of the group's lead vocals, as well as acting with the group in their own TV series (shot in Miami, LA, Hollywood and Spain), the group also had two reality television shows "S Club 7 Go Wild" and "S Club 7 Don't Stop Movin'", an as well as S Club's own movie, "Seeing Double".

During the filming of the movie, O'Meara hurt her back, limiting S Club's dance routines and leaving her out of the group for a brief period. O'Meara's voice remained; however, her vocals were re-recorded by Rachel Stevens for use during live television performances. O'Meara eventually returned to continue performing with S Club and to promote the movie. She remained with the band until their ultimate split in 2003.

Solo career (2005 - 2006)

Many speculated as to when O'Meara would make her comeback, having been the most prominent vocalist in S Club 7, but it was Rachel Stevens who was the first member of the band to release solo material. O'Meara surprised many of her fans by taking a long hiatus from pop music, and it was speculated that she was healing her back injury. According to reports in a tabloid newspaper O'Meara, who was estimated to be worth £500,000 when she left S Club, became addicted to gambling when she was unable to perform in the band due to her back problems. [cite web |url=,,2003050810,00.html |publisher=The Sun Online |title=Exposed: Gambling habit of S Club Jo |accessdate=2007-02-01]

In July 2005, she announced that she had signed a new solo recording deal with Sanctuary Records, the label behind acts such as Morrissey, KISS and Megadeth.

Her debut single, "What Hurts the Most", was released on 26 September, 2005, followed a week later by her album, "Relentless". This, however, quickly fell out of the chart and sold poorly peaking at #47. It also charted and sold poorly throughout Europe reaching #82 in the Republic of Ireland. O'Meara abruptly left the record label while they were still planning to release a second single.

In February 2006 she took part in the BBC gameshow "Just the Two of Us". Her singing partner was Chris Fountain, an actor in "Hollyoaks", a British Soap opera. The pair came third in the competition, failing to attract enough votes to make the final after their performance of "Never Had a Dream Come True".

Celebrity Big Brother (2007)

O'Meara was the fourth person to enter the "Celebrity Big Brother" house on 3 January 2007. According to the Daily Mirror, O'Meara entered the show to pay off her £34,000 debt and relaunch her singing career, with a plan to launch her new single shortly after her exit from the house. [cite news |work=Daily Mirror |publisher=Trinity Mirror |date=2007-06-01 |title=Unknown]

She received a positive reaction from the crowd and admitted live that she had no idea what she was doing on the show. When betting opened, she was favourite to win. [cite web |url= |publisher=Gambling911 |title=Celebrity Big Brother UK Betting |accessdate=2007-01-27]

Accusations of racial bullying

More than 45,500 complaints were received by broadcasting regulator Ofcom about racial bullying directed towards Indian housemate Shilpa Shetty by Jade Goody, Danielle Lloyd, Jack Tweed and Jo O'Meara.

The basis of racist accusations against O'Meara were as follows:

* On Days 11 and 12, Danielle Lloyd and O'Meara poked fun at Shilpa's accent." [ How the Big Brother row erupted] ", "BBC", URL last accessed on 2007-01-17]

* O'Meara implied that all Indians were thin because they were always ill as a result of undercooking their food because she believed Shilpa undercooked a chicken meal." [ How the Big Brother row erupted] ", "BBC", URL last accessed on 2007-01-17]

* After a 9 minute verbal attack on Shilpa by Jade, over Oxo Cubes, witnessed by a giggling O'Meara and Lloyd, O'Meara said that the verbal attack had made her day and that she felt a lot better for it. [ Video of the incident on YouTube]

Reaction and aftermath

Trevor Phillips, Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said "What we are seeing is a noxious brew of old-fashioned class conflict, straightforward bullying, ignorance and quite vicious racial bigotry. It is outrageous, and it is unpleasant". [cite web |url= |title=Race equality chief: Shilpa comments were racist |date=2007-01-19 |accessdate=2007-03-10 |work=Daily Mail |publisher=Associated Press]

O'Meara became the fourth housemate to be evicted from the show, leaving the house on Friday January 26 in a surprise double eviction, along with fellow contestant Cleo Rocos.

In her eviction interview with Davina McCall, O'Meara did not apologise for her comments and behaviour towards Shilpa Shetty, claiming she had done nothing wrong, a stance which she would continue to take in subsequent interviews. O'Meara also claimed that imitating her accent wasn't necessarily racist as Shilpa herself had laughed at O'Meara's imitation of her accent.

Her former housemate, Jade, disagreed with O'Meara's statement that she had done nothing wrong: "She's done everything wrong. She's made big mistakes." Jo's sister Julie admitted: "Jo should be very disappointed with herself." [cite news |url=,,11049-2007040507,00.html |publisher=The Sun |title=Celeb BB Jo: No apologies |date=2007-01-27 |first=Haywood |last=Lynsey |accessdate=2007-01-27]

In a subsequent interview with GMTV which aired on Tuesday January 30, 2007 O'Meara apologised for her behaviour, but denied that she had been a bully or a racist while in the house, "I couldn't use those words. My cousins are actually of a different race and to use those sort of words, it would make me sick. I haven't got a racist bone in my body and I'm not a bully". She blamed poor editing by the show's producers (although this claim is undermined by the fact that the show was shown as a live feed on sister channel E4) and misquotation in interviews by national newspapers (especially the Mirror article) following the Celebrity Big Brother final, for contributing to her already-ruined image. She revealed she has not returned home due to unspecified death threats and concerns over her safety and was suffering from nervous exhaustion. She also revealed that her reason for entering the house was to help save her home, which had been threatened with repossession.cite news |url= |publisher=GMTV |title=Big Brother backlash - Jo's anguish |date=2007-01-30 |accessdate=2007-02-04]

In February 2007, the "News of the World" reported that O'Meara attempted to commit suicide and was "rushed to hospital" by friends. [cite news |url= |publisher=Digital Spy| title=Jo O'Meara makes suicide attempt |date=2007-02-25 |accessdate=2007-02-25] In an interview with Heat magazine (3-9 March 2007)Fact|date=February 2007 she denied any intention to commit suicide as it would hurt her family but admitted some weight loss due to stress. She was also reported to be facing bankruptcy after her home was remortgaged for £200,000 without her knowledge and £200,000 went missing from her savings after apparently being a victim of a con scam. Media reports at the time suggested her house was in imminent danger of being repossessed. [cite news |url= |publisher=Entertainmentwise| title=Celeb Big Brother's Jo Victim Of £200k Swindle |date=2007-02-26 |accessdate=2007-02-26] [cite news |url= |publisher=PR Inside| title=S-Club Star Victim of £400,000 thefts |date=2007-02-26 |accessdate=2007-02-26]

New Album (2009–)

In January 2008, an article in the Daily Mail said that O'Meara was well on the way to recovery, she had rediscovered her passion for rescuing animals and horses and also revealed that she was six months pregnant "To be honest, it wasn't planned, but it's a very nice surprise. I'm nervous at the thought of a little person calling me mum, but it's a very happy way to begin 2008". While she admitted that the prospect of returning to the stage is daunting, she was considering an offer to work with former Celebrity Big Brother 2007 housemate, Jermaine Jackson. [cite web|url=|title= Reviled BB star Jo O'Meara tells how she found refuge among animals she once saved|accessdate= 2008-01-22|author= Laura Collins|date= 2008-01-19|publisher= Daily Mail] . [cite web|url=|title= Jo O'Meara gives birth to son|accessdate= 2008-05-18|date= 2008-05-15|publisher= Now magazine]

In February 2008 Now magazine reported that she had sold her house for £560,000. Also in recent interviews she said that she has been in the process of writing songs for her second album although other than that she has not given any other info on the album.

On Monday 12th May 2008, Jo gave birth to a son called Lenny weighing 7lb 15oz by caesarean section.

Jo featured in "Hello" Magazine on 17th June, photographed with son Lenny, where she reveals that she is going to be recording her second solo album in July 2008, working with writers both in the UK and America. She will also do a charity concert in November 2008 alongside Denise Van Outen.

Jo's album is to be released in 2009.


External links

* [ Totally Jo]
* [ Jo Source]
* [ Jo O'Meara Centre]
* [ Lovely Jo]


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