31/07/2013 14:53 BST | Updated 30/09/2013 10:12 BST

The Honeyz Follow Up 'Big Reunion' Success With New Music And Reveal, 'It's Different This Time Around'

The Honeyz' Heavenli Denton has one complaint about 'The Big Reunion', which has put her and her two bandmates back on the road to renewed success.

"I wasn't prepared for how they made me come across," she tells HuffPostUK. "I don't think through things much, and we'd all agreed to be honest.

"I had a couple of days of thinking, 'that's not me and it's going out to the whole country.' But then I realised, I know who I am and so do my friends."

big reunion

Mariama, Celena and Heavenli back on stage together, after a long time away

Viewers watched agog as Heavenli and Celena Cherry dished the beans on the band's acrimonious split, back in 1999, and there were many tears on the show as they rehashed old resentments.

"I wasn't prepared for that because I'm actually a very happy hippy," says Heavenli, looking suitably chilled in her summer clothes, fresh off the plane from her home in the Algarve for this interview.

It's clear any past resentments are past for the trio of bright-eyed women - Heavenli, Celena and Mariama Goodman - sitting opposite me, following the initial invitation to the hit series, which followed the fortunes of six bands from the 1990s, as they prepared for a one-off concert at Hammersmith Appollo.

Apart from which, it's been smooth sailing for the trio, following the initial invitation to take part in 'Big Reunion'.

"I think loads of bands had to think about it for ages, but we jumped straight in," reports Mariama.

Heavenli was the most surprised to get the call. "I was doing the ironing in the Algarve," she remembers, "and I got a phone call from Mariama. We'd never even been in the band together."


The Honeyz, doing it their way, this time around - with three singers in the band

One thing all three do have in common is that they can actually sing, something that Heavenli made pretty clear during 'Big Reunion' when she said... "The three of us can sing. I can be proud, knowing there isn't a mike switched off at the end of the stage."

She says now, "I was honest. The first time around that happened, it wasn't just once, it was the norm. That's what I was used to."

And Celena adds, "It was always difficult for a group like ours, being black, being R&B. People expected us to be able to perform acapella, they didn't think we were fabricated, bubble gum pop, they assumed everybody could sing, and that wasn't the case, so it was almost like living a lie for a very long time, trying to cover things up."

Mariama is diplomatic, and ready to give credit where credit is due about their absent erstwhile bandmate...

"The person we're all talking about [Naima Belkhiati] was ridiculously gorgeous, and part of our package was the image. She was stunning. She brought it."

The Honeyz are certain theirs is now the full and final line up. Having had such a great time both on the Hammersmith stage and during the ensuing tour, they've been trying their luck in the studio with gratifying results.

The first of their new tunes is 'The Price You Pay' - "it's really good and I'm not just saying that," says Mariama - with a complete album in the works.

Things are different now, though, from the first time around. They're all mums, with other priorities in their lives apart from music and chasing celebrity, with scant room for being creative.

But there's an upside to the years that have passed, apparently...

"In general people respect you're older and more confident to state your opinion," says Mariama. "Before, it was the end of the world if someone disagreed with us, but collectively, we're much stronger now.

"This time around, it's our product, and it's us that people are going to say are great or rubbish, and we didn't have that before.

"The years give you wisdom and confidence," adds Heavenli. "Before we were puppets on a string, but we've cut the strings now."