The group was made up of church-going sisters Easther and Vernie Bennett and school friends Kéllé Bryan (also Kelle Bryan) and Louise Nurding (also Louise and Louise Redknapp), who both went to the famous Italia Conti Academy stage school.
Launched in 1993 with the Top 5 smash Stay, Eternal became the first girl group to have a million-selling album in the UK, with their debut set, Always & Forever. It was 1994's fourth biggest selling LP and spawned six Top 15 singles. Eternal's success was quickly recognised - they were named Best Group at the 1993 Smash Hits Poll Winners' Party and in 1995 they earned four BRIT Award nominations, including Best Album for Always & Forever.
In 1995, Louise left the band amid marked controversy over the fact that Louise was the only white member; some quarters suggested Louise was dumped to improve Eternal's chances of breaking America (where the group received criticism for having a single white member). Eternal's management, however, denied this was the case.
As Louise embarked on her (what was to be considerably fruitful) solo career, Eternal continued to enjoy success as a trio with their second album Power of a Woman, which gave them four Top 10 hits. In 1996, they were asked to sing the theme song for Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Someday. However, whilst this seemed like the ideal opportunity for the group to break America, for some reason Eternal's version was used everywhere except the USA (where American soul group All-4-One took the vocal honours).
In May 1997, the group joined forces with US singer BeBe Winans to score their first - and only - UK chart-topper, I Wanna be the Only One. Taken from their third LP, Before the Rain, it was third most played song on British radio in 1997 and earned them a MOBO Award, Capital FM Award and a BRIT Award nomination (all for Best Single). Their Greatest Hits package, which contained fourteen Top 15 hit songs, went to no.2 on the British album charts the same year, selling over a million copies in the process.
In 1998 Kéllé departed in yet another debacle when it became apparent that Kéllé had been asked to leave the group by Easther and Vernie via a letter from their solicitor, following a reported breakdown of professional relations between the sisters and Kéllé.
Easther and Vernie recruited for a replacement and appointed a singer named TJ, who subsequently left the group after only a brief stint, leaving just the two founding Bennett sisters once again. The now duo released one final single, What'cha Gonna Do (which reached a disappointing no.16), and a critically acclaimed self-titled album that performed dismally - it failed to even make the Top 75 - before being dropped by EMI in 2000.
Kéllé Bryan experienced limited post-Eternal success in the form of one no.14 single called Higher than Heaven in October 1999. She also presented The N List on Nickelodeon with Dave Berry for a while. Rumour had it that she recorded a track with Slash from Guns N' Roses called Wait A Minute for her unreleased album Breakfast In Bed. Her second single, I Wanna Know, was cancelled due to lack of media interest, and personal health issues following her diagnosis as a sufferer of Lupus, a cause she now campaigns for awareness of.
In less than seven years, Eternal became the most successful British R&B female group ever, achieving notable popularity in Japan, where their song Who are You? was used in a Toyota advert, south-east Asia, Australia and parts of Europe. They even managed to score a Top 20 hit in the US with Stay. Globally, Eternal's total sales stands at over 6million.
- Easther Bennett, born December 11, 1972
- Vernie Bennett, born May 17, 1971
- Kéllé Bryan (also Kelle Bryan, born March 12, 1975
- Louise Nurding (also Louise and Louise Redknapp), born November 4, 1974
- Stay (1993 - no.4)
- Save Our Love (1994 - no.8)
- Just A Step From Heaven (1994 - no.8)
- So Good (1994 - no.13)
- Oh Baby I... (1994 - no.4)
- Crazy (1994 - no.15)
- Power Of A Woman (1995 - no.5)
- I Am Blessed (1995 - no.7)
- Good Thing (1996 - no.8)
- Someday (1996 - no.4)
- Secrets (1996 - no.9)
- Don't You Love Me (1997 - no.3)
- I Wanna Be The Only One (featuring BeBe Winans) (1997 - no.1)
- Angel Of Mine Written By (Travon Potts & Rhett Lawrence)(1997 - no.4 Pop / no.1 R&B)
- What'cha Gonna Do (1999 - no.16)
- Always & Forever (1993 - no.2)
- A Platinum Celebration (1995)
- Power Of A Woman (1995 - no.6)
- Power Of A Woman/The Number One Dance Mixes (1996)
- Before The Rain (1997 - no.3)
- Greatest Hits (1997 - no.2)
- Eternal (1999 - no.87)
- Stay - The Essential Eternal Collection (2002 - budget chart)
- Essential Eternal (2002 - budget chart)