Warner WEA (2002 - 2003)
The End of STEPS
As part of Steps, H and Claire notched up 15 consecutive top ten hits, but on the 22nd December 2001, they decided it was time for a change, and handed in their letters. Whilst there were tears backstage (and during their final concert), the band agreed to announce their split in the new year. However, on boxing day 2001, news of a Steps split leaked to the public, and was featured on the national news. Across the Steps message boards, angered fans accused Lisa, Lee and Faye of tearing the group apart.
The anger turned to shock when fans realised it was actually H and Claire who had left the group, and soon after, H and Claire appeared on Saturday morning show "SM:tv", announcing that they had formed their own pop duo called, er, "H&Claire".
A Shaky Start
Signed to the Warner WEA label, "H&Claire" released their first single, 'DJ', though the fans were divided. The formula was still the same - H&Claire were working with the same songwriters and management as before - but many fans felt they had in effect 'ditched' Lisa, Faye and Lee in a very backstabbing manner (a view which some members of the group shared) - and thus many fans turned against the pop duo, shouting STEPS lyrics during the pair's public appearances.
Nevertheless, DJ reached number 3 in the UK chart, and was classed as a hit. H&Claire then became presenters of "SM:tv Live", giving the duo the ability to promote their new releases to a core audience. However, although their debut single had charted well, subsequent releases struggled in the changing chart climate.
An Abrupt End
After their album limped to just #53 in the UK charts - which many fans blamed on lack of promotion - H&Claire quite literally disappeared.
Although there has never been an official announcement, it is believed and accepted by the fans that H and Claire were dropped from their record label and now pursue solo careers, although some articles indicate that legally the duo is still bound to the terms of their contract, and that in future Claire may therefore have to release material through WEA. H has hinted that any future Claire album will feature a 'H and Claire' duet, in order to fulfill the duo's album deal.