Three Babes You Need To Know
By Colleen M. Quill
There are countless European hopefuls that try to emulate the success of vocal groups like Destiny’s Child and *NSYNC. Male groups like FIVE and Westlife seemed to score a hit and then beg off or break up. Meet the Sugababes, the UK’s most successful and enduring female group since Spice Girls broke onto the scene breaking the global market. Original members Keisha Buchanan, Mutya Buena and Siobhan Donaghy were signed to a record deal through a random encounter at a supermarket. They started writing songs at age 14 for their first album.
Like Destiny’s Child, a change in the original lineup set up a free for all in the tabloids of the UK. Keisha Buchanan and Mutya Buena then ‘stole’ Heidi Range from Atomic Kitten, only adding more wood to the pop fire. Since then the babes have faced constant rumors they are breaking up continually putting out enticing pop hits.
This year Keisha, Mutya and Heidi will release their third album Three hoping to gain some US mainstream recognition. ‘Hole in the Head’ went to number one on Billboard’s Hot Dance/Club Play singles list. Three is a combination of the best hits off their first two UK albums including ‘Round Round’ which was featured in the film ‘Love Actually.’ Feeling ready for the next challenge, Sugababes are ready to take on America.
You all started singing as very young teens. Do you feel you missed out on a “regular” teen life?
Keisha- Yes, we left school when we were 13. Not going to school is not a normal thing but we wouldn’t change it because we wouldn’t be the people that we are now. While our friends were in school, we were on the road. I wouldn’t be the vocalist I am now if I hadn’t had that experience. When I was younger I had a harder time using my voice and now I can control it better because I’ve had time to develop it and practice.
What question do you absolutely never want to answer again?
Keisha: Are you splitting up?
Mutya: It’s really irritating. When we come to America, it’s our first time here so we understand people have to ask us questions we’ve answered in the past. In the UK it gets really tedious. They’ve been saying that for three years. We are always sarcastic about it. We just say ‘yeah, we really hate each other that’s why you always see us together.’
How do you feel your sound has evolved on ‘Three’?
Keisha: We’ve always tried to do what we feel comfortable doing. Mucking around with sounds, and experimenting. Each time we try what feels good. We grow and expand the more we are exposed to. Our tastes change as we get older, so it’s a natural evolution.
You just released ‘Too Lost in You’ in the UK, what was it like working with Grammy winning songwriter, Diane Warren?
Heidi: She’s amazing. Diane is a very gifted songwriter, very down to earth. It could be easy to turn around and make people feel not as important as you. She made us feel 100 percent comfortable.
Keisha: We’d work with her any time!
How would you describe your own songwriting process?
Keisha: Basically we just go into the studio with a producer. The producer will have different tracks for us to listen to. Then, we pick out which ones we like. Depending on our mood that day, we’ll decide on a concept. Then we go off to different parts of the room and each write verses. When we’re done we come back and work it out together.
For people newly discovering Sugababes, what do you want them to know about the group’s philosophy?
Mutya: Everything you hear on our album is 100 percent us. If you want to get to know us, listen to the album. We never sugarcoat anything. Having your say 100 percent control over that whether it’s your sound or image. Everything is Sugababes, not some guy behind the scenes controlling a machine and pulling strings.
Which song represents for each of you, where you are romantically?
Heidi: ‘Too Lost in You’ – we’ve all got boyfriends now which is really nice. You need that comfort when you go home. We can relate to every song on the album. Everyone has been in a relationship you don’t know which road you want to take.
I saw you are going back to the UK and into recording in May. What will you working on now?
Heidi: We’re not sure at the moment. When we go back we’ve got lots of festivals.
Your videos have run from animation to loads of special effects, which is your favorite format?
Heidi: My favorite that we’ve done is ‘Round Round.’
Keisha: My favorite is the outfit in ‘In the Middle.’ All of us got to perform and push ourselves. Scripted- ‘Shape of My Heart’ with butterflies animated on our body. That was a really great treatment.
Mutya: I really like ‘Too Lost in You.’ The car scenes brought my personality out. I like the outfits.
In the UK version of ‘Hole in the Head’ it begins with a mock band and you all storm off after finding the men cheating on you. Why are the cheating boyfriends cut out of the US version of the video for ‘Hole in the Head?’
Keisha: I think it’s because the record company wanted everyone to just see us and not be confused by the guys. People who don’t know us really well might assume that they were really part of Sugababes and we were kicking them out of the band for real. I think it stands up even without that part in it.
There is such a flooded market of award shows these days. Which one would mean the most to you to win? And which one means the most that you’ve already won?
Mutya: They all mean a lot. It’s a privilege that we get invited to awards. The whole principle of knowing people want us there is fantastic.
Heidi: Every one we win is different. It’s definitely an honor when someone invites you or nominates you for the work you are doing and really believe in.
Thank you Sugababes!
All: Bye! See you soon!
+ Colleen M. Quill