The new group worked quickly in the studio, releasing three singles, "Colour My Life," "Excited" and "How Can I Love You More," in 1991. All went into the Top 10 of the U.K. pop charts. Those tracks eventually made their way across the Atlantic to become underground club hits as imports, generating a huge buzz about M People. Those three singles are included on the U.S. version of "Elegant Slumming," which is actually the group's second album.
Their debut album, "Northern Soul," which also includes the premiere singles, was released in 1992 to widespread critical acclaim. A subsequent tour established the M People as one of the U.K.'s top live bands. By using the musicians who'd played on its records for the tour, M People distanced itself from the lip-sync stereotype of dance artists.
The 1993 release of "Elegant Slumming" in the U.K. yielded three more Top 10 hits--"One Night in Heaven," "Moving on Up" and a version of Dennis Edwards' R&B staple "Don't Look Any Further"--and the stateside buzz intensified.
Proving that the music has actual weight is one of Pickering's main goals, one that's nearly as important as actually making the music. From the album's title (lifted from author Tom Wolfe's withering description of New York socialites who threw fund-raisers for the Black Panther Party) to the music's ability to unite various elements of society, Pickering sees a powerful political subtext in the music.