What Ever Happened To Vitamin C?

Every May, when the nostalgia-inducing "Graduation (Friends Forever)" inevitably returns to the radio airwaves, the world is reminded of Vitamin C — the orange-haired pop star who ruled the airwaves for a short time in the early 2000s.

The singer-songwriter, whose real name is Colleen Fitzpatrick, provided a unique yet simplistic blend of alt-rock, pop, and dance that served as a refreshing departure from most Y2K pop. But much like other performers who reigned the charts at the turn of the millennium, this multi-platinum recording artist fell out of the spotlight soon after. So, what ever happened to Vitamin C? Her current gig might just surprise you.

Vitamin C's sophomore effort flopped

Every new artist's greatest fear is the sophomore slump — and the dreaded phenomenon unfortunately hit Vitamin C hard.

The artist's self-titled 1999 solo debut did well on the charts and in sales — rising to #29 on the Billboard 200, it was later certified Platinum by the RIAA. However, the ill-fated follow up, "More," was a total flop.

The 2001 effort received mixed reviews, with the LA Times delivering the most scathing critique. Ranked a mere 1.5 stars, the record was dubbed "predictable" and "as blandly advertising-ready as her earlier hit, 'Smile.'" They further asserted, "Anything appealing about Vitamin C is ultimately undermined by the sense that 'More' is just another leg of the campaign to make her a commodity." Ouch.

The album debuted at #122 on the Billboard 200 and failed to produce a hit single. Her lead song, "The Itch", did not meet expectations — nor did it break into Top 40 territory, as it peaked at #45 on the Hot 100. However, it did fare better in Australia, charting at #6 on the Aria Top 100.

Vitamin C's next single, "As Long As You're Loving Me" did not chart at all and received little support from her label Elektra Records. Following this, plans to release the album's final single were completely scrapped.

Her tenure with V2 Records was short-lived

Shortly after More failed to perform as expected, Vitamin C tried her luck with V2 Records in the UK (via AllMusic). And in the summer of 2003, she released a cover of The Strokes' hit "Last Nite," which featured a heavier, less-bubblegum pop sound and was accompanied by a more adult, rock-chic music video.

As the singer-songwriter told MTV in 2006, "I knew the level of success Vitamin C was going to have would ebb and flow." She added, "I knew after 'Graduation' that I would have to figure out how to reinvent myself again."

And while she did just that with this track, things once again didn't go quite as planned: The song failed to chart at all in the US. According to ACharts, it debuted at a dismal #70 on the UK Top 75 before quickly falling from the charts altogether the following week.

It seems her third album was eventually shelved, as it has yet to see the light of day.

She returned to acting

As her once promising career as pop's next It Girl began to dwindle in the early 2000s, Vitamin C reinvented herself by returning to her first love — acting. She took on quite a bit of work, interchangeably working under both her given name, Colleen Fitzpatrick, and Vitamin C between 2000 and 2007.

The triple threat, who is also an accomplished dancer, actually got her start in acting in the late 80s. As Mental Floss detailed, she scored a major role as the spoiled Amber Von Tussle in John Waters' 1988 musical comedy Hairspray — no big deal.

But her biggest role in the '00's was starring as Lucy opposite Gerard Butler in Wes Craven's Dracula 2000 — a horror film that was later panned by critics and audiences alike. It earned a 17 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and 26 out of 100 on Metacritic. Eek.

Following this was a series of smaller roles and a string of cameo appearances in various B-movies and TV shows. These included a short appearance in the musical comedy Rock Star, a cameo in the Kirsten Dunst and Sisqó-led Get Over It, a voice-over in Scary Movie 2, and a one-episode story arc on Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.

The actress also began hitting the reality TV circuit in a slew of gigs, ranging from Hollywood Squares to Celebrity Boot Camp. She was even a judge on Lifetime's Your Mama Don't Dance (via Playbill). After performing in the Andrew Bowen film Along the Way, she quit the profession in 2007.

She married her longtime boyfriend and former bandmate

While her career in the spotlight began to slow down during the noughties, Fitzpatrick was lucky in love.

As the Seattle Music Insider disclosed, she married her longtime boyfriend, Michael Kotch, in 2004. Aww!

Little is known about their relationship. However, according to Billboard, the two had known one another for over a decade when they got married, having met in 1991 while attending NYU. In December 2016, Kotch explained in an interview with Furious, "I met Colleen at NYU, she was in my Shakespeare Survey II class. Then later, completely coincidentally, she answered an ad we put out in the Village Voice looking for a singer." He then joked, "That's the way we had to do things pre-internet, use newspapers."

The ad in question was for a band he and his twin brother, drummer Benjamin, were putting together — an early 90s alt-rock outfit called Eve's Plum. Ftizpatrick got the gig, fronting the band while Kotch played guitar. Eve's Plum cultivated quite a significant output during its 1991-1998 tenure, including 1993's Envy and 1995's Cherry Alive. Fun fact: Their song "Blue" was used in a 1993 episode of Beavis and Butthead — who knew?

After the group disbanded, Fitzpatrick continued her musical (and romantic!) partnership with Kotch, who garnered writing and producing credits on Vitamin C's debut album, as well as some of her future songwriting gigs (more on this later). They certainly make quite a team!

Fitzpatrick assembled tween pop groups

Around the time she quit acting, Fitzpatrick officially dropped her pseudonym and began working under her birth name full time. And she reinvented herself once again, cultivating a successful, albeit quieter career, wearing many behind-the-scenes hats in the entertainment industry — including producer, songwriter, and manager.

Between 2006 and 2007, Fitzpatrick took her first major step out of the spotlight and assembled, produced, and wrote for two kids groups. The first was the radio-friendly teen group The Truth Squad (aka T-Squad). As MTV detailed, this was an urban pop group Vitamin C called her "Baby Black Eyed Peas." The band was comprised of 12- to 14-year-olds who excelled at singing, rapping, and dancing. After releasing a cover of Vitamin C's "Graduation," they released the song "Flip." However, the band was extremely short-lived. Although their debut album charted at #23 on Billboard's Kids Albums, they called it quits in 2008.

Next, Fitzpatrick found slightly more success and longevity with her girl group, The Stunners. As previously reported by Nicki Swift, the band featured future "Flame" singer Tinashe. Forming in 2007, the group's biggest hit was 2010's "We Got It." That same year, the girls opened for Justin Bieber's My World Tour. However, after plans for their debut album were scrapped, the band broke up in 2011 (via Elle Girl).

She became tween pop's go-to songwriter

As MTV highlighted in 2006, Fitzpatrick saw the slowing down of her performing career as an opportunity to pursue other facets of the music industry — and as she began playing producer to kid pop groups, she ended up becoming a go-to songwriter for tween-friendly pop acts.

This turn in her career began with "We Are Gonna Happen" for the Nickelodeon show Unfabulous in 2005 (via Bustle). The song was performed by Scream Queens actress Emma Roberts, who got her start starring in the series. As MTV noted, Michael Kotch, then Fitzpatrick's husband of one year, was one of the principal musical contributors to the show.

Following this song's success, the couple teamed up again to co-write Miley Cyrus as Hannah Montana's "Let's Get Crazy" in 2009, which appeared in Hannah Montana: The Movie. This proved to be a big year for Fitzpatrick, who also wrote Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez's duet "One and the Same" for the Disney Channel original movie Princess Protection Program.

It makes sense that she began utilizing her musical talent and knowledge of the pop music industry in this way. As Fitzpatrick told MTV, "I began songwriting because I've always been more into the behind-the-scenes aspect of the music anyway." She added, "I do like performing, but I liked the idea of creating a concept."

And this career shift seemed to serve her quite well. As Bustle cleverly put it, Fitzpatrick was "the Sia Furler of tween pop."

Fitzpatrick started two production companies

As The Hollywood Reporter documented, Fitzpatrick did not only write and produce for kid-friendly pop acts. Rather, her accomplishments in the music industry varied even further from her alt-rock beginnings and pop stardom — and she became a welcome management source for adult musical talent.

Variety highlighted that in 2008, the former pop star created Collective Songs. It was the licensing and publishing division of a management and production agency in California called The Collective. And according to Billboard, this company allowed Fitzpatrick the opportunity to work with major recording artists, ranging from Linkin Park to Enrique Iglesias.

The THR added that she also founded and still co-owns VCR Productions.

She also juggled several unfinished projects

It seems as if Fitzpatrick has always been most content juggling a plethora of projects — even if they go unreleased, she is constantly working. A true Renaissance Woman!

For example, as she began producing and writing for other artists, she endeavored to work on two albums of her own in 2006. As she outlined in her interview with MTV, the first project was a children's world-music album. As the website noted, the goal of the record was to "celebrate diversity through songs like the Indian-styled 'Bhangra On and On' and 'We All Share the Same Sky.'"

Around the same time, Fitzpatrick made a second attempt at her third album under the name Vitamin C. She described the work as "Goldfrapp-meets-Vitamin C."

And while she was hopeful both projects would be ready for an early 2007 release, neither ever saw the light of day for undisclosed reasons. Ten years later, fans have long since given up hope for a leak.

Fitzpatrick is now Nickelodeon's VP of Music

Fitzpatrick is now putting her wealth of experience in the music industry to even better use, having scored the most prestigious gig of her career.

As announced by The Hollywood Reporter in March of 2012, the former pop diva was made Vice President of Music for Nickelodeon — an impressive position she still holds today. The Senior Vice President of Music and Talent at Nickelodeon, Doug Cohen released in a statement at the time, saying, "Colleen brings a vast wealth of knowledge of the music industry to this newly created role." He continued, "Her work with emerging and established talent is a testament to what a tremendous asset she will be to Nick as we continue to expand our foothold in the music space."

Indeed! And for the last five years, Fitzpatrick has overseen all music for Nickelodeon and its sister channels, including Nick Jr. and TeenNick. She also handles the A&R and on-site management for Nickelodeon artists, which includes everything from photo shoots to live performances and recording sessions. As Bustle explained, some of her past clients have included the likes of Victoria Justice, Miranda Cosgrove, and pop superstar Ariana Grande.

Refinery29 further detailed how the singer-turned-exec now collaborates with marketing and press to organize various music initiatives for the channel.

Most recently, in March of 2016, Fitzpatrick was invited to share her expertise as a distinguished speaker on Women In Film's panel series "Music in Television".

What's next in 2017?

With no specific plans officially announced, it's hard to say what's next for Vitamin C aka Colleen Fitzpatrick in 2017 — but she is obviously already doing pretty well for herself!

According to Celebrity Net Worth, she has cultivated a fortune of $8 million over the course of her nearly 25-year tenure in the entertainment industry. And while she likes to keep a low profile nowadays, it's great to see our favorite Y2K feel-good pop princess find success.

But if she were to finally release that third Vitamin C album or even reunite Eve's Plum — as Kotch recently teased, "Well, we are all in the LA area, so if it's going to happen, now's the time!" — she would undoubtedly be in a strong position to make a comeback in the spotlight.

Either way, it's safe to say that Fitzpatrick ended up in the best place to utilize her talents. As she told InStyle in April 2017, "When I was graduating from high school, I didn't know where my life would lead. I was still very much a performer, but I knew I didn't want to do that forever."

And the advice she would have given herself back then still holds true for her today: "Don't waste time worrying, take as many risks as you can, and have a lot of fun...strive for the impossible. It's a real cliché, but I think there's something to that." It seems so!