I came to Billie Piper’s music backwards after initially discovering her work when I first started watching Doctor Who. Piper initially broke out (at age 15) in 1998 with her debut single, “Because We Want To,” which went straight to the top of the charts, peaking at number 1. Her second single “Girlfriend” also went straight up to number 1.
During this time, The Beatles were playing on repeat on my portable CD player. It wasn’t until 2003 and highschool, when I first made the jump to pop music. By that point, Piper had been out of music for three years, having released her final album, “Walk of Life” in 2000. The album reached number 14 in the UK, as well as charted in Australia and New Zealand.
There has been much written (including a lot by Piper herself) about her less than positive memories from her music career. Her autobiography, Growing Pains (which is a fascinating read), goes into tremendously candid detail about the history of drug use and eating disorders which accompanied her time in the music industry. Piper has routinely gone on record saying that she regrets her music career, and that’s there’s “no amount of money” that would see her revisiting the period.
Despite all of this, Piper (especially for such a young performer) had a bright and vivid stage persona. She’s fun and likable (especially in her early videos), and she’s a strong and clear singer when comparing her work with some of her pop-princess contemporaries. Her early songs seem largely devoid of notable studio tricks. It’s fun music to sing behind the wheel (yeah, sorry, not sorry).
Most readers should be able to fill in the blanks after Piper’s music career ended. The pop-singer turned to acting, and her career exploded. In 2005, she was cast as Rose Tyler in a brand new reboot of the long-running, British sci-fi series Doctor Who. When Scottish actor (and the king of everything) David Tennant joined the show in series two, they cemented the early success of Doctor Who (and sent the hearts of fangirls the world over aflutter).
After leaving Doctor Who at the end of series two, Piper moved on to be a mainstay on television screens. She headlined the Showtime series Secret Diary of a Call Girl from 2007-2011, before moving over to the gothic horror drama Penny Dreadful in 2014. Piper has also appeared in a number of plays on the West End, earning an Oliver Award nomination in 2013 for her work in The Effect.
It’s stunning (especially when looking at her career in reverse) to look at the evolution of Billie Piper’s career. From her initial break-out as a 15-year-old Pop Princess in 1998, she established herself as a talented and likable performer. She deserves major props for being able to not only leave the obvious drama and trauma of her teenage pop star years behind her, but also carve out a well-rounded (and award nominated) career as an actress.