A world without Steps would be a tragedy but Claire Richards isn’t sure the pop icons would thrive in today’s industry as they’re just not ‘cool’ enough.

While they may be taking a break to pursue solo projects, such as Claire’s new album Euphoria, fans are still obsessed with Steps 26 years after their first hit.

The Brit-pop group helped shape the charts in the late 90s and early 00s, dishing out hit after hit with their upbeat melodies and catchy lyrics.

Made up of Claire, Lee Latchford-Evans, Lisa Scott-Lee, Faye Tozer, and Ian ‘H’ Watkins, Steps quickly won the hearts of fans across the UK.

However, Claire, who earlier this year stunned us all as Knitting on The Masked Singer, isn’t convinced their dizzying success could be replicated now and even confessed the group used to wish they could change their image.

‘When we were younger, we wished we were a bit cooler or a bit more like All Saints or something,’ she exclusively told Metro.co.uk.

The 46-year-old is releasing her second solo album, Euphoria, and has been faced with a new landscape for music promotion that early Steps never had to tackle.

‘When we started there were so many TV shows that you go on and perform your music and that they just don’t exist anymore,’ she explained.

The 5,6,7,8 hitmaker continued: ‘There’s nothing, there’s no Top of Pops, there’s no SMTV, there’s no Saturday morning Kids TV shows or even Blue Peter. Every [new] single we would go and perform on that show.

‘It’s very much about talking now and unless you’re part of the cool gang, some of those TV shows won’t have you on to do a performance.’

Cool or not, Steps landed 14 consecutive top-five chart hits and two number-ones – not to mention touring with Britney Spears.

For Claire, Steps is a ‘very visual’ group, putting on major performances like the rainbow and tiny shorts extravaganza at Brighton Pride this year.

She shared that every time the group would perform on TV, they would see a boost in record sales directly after as new and old fans got swept up in the Steps experience.

‘I think without the TV that we had back in the day, I’m not entirely sure we would have done as well – maybe [but] I don’t know,’ added Claire.

Thankfully, the band did have Top of the Pops to share their latest hits on and the pop icon no longer wishes they were All Saints.

Claire said: ‘I feel like there’s a bit of escapism when it comes to our music. People are able to leave the bags at the door when they walk into a Steps concert or even put the album on.

‘It’s definitely a safe space as well, which we always say – everybody’s welcome, nobody’s judged and we don’t apologise for what we are.’

The legend joked: ‘We’re not [anyone else] and actually, that’s fine.’

Claire’s new album Euphoria is out on August 25 and can be pre-ordered now.

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