Girls Aloud wasn’t the only girl group ringing in the New Year with something new.
MKS–the holy trinity of Mutya Buena, Keisha Buchanan and Siobhan Donaghy (also known as the Origibabes)–made their secret live comeback last night.
The Sugababes are, aside from Girls Aloud, generally regarded as the UK’s most successful girl group of the 21st century. With dozens of chart-topping hits–from “Overload” to “Freak Like Me” to “About You Now”–five Top 10 albums and dozens of awards to their name, the ‘Babes have consistently slayed for well over a decade–although not all as one defining unit.
Yet as much as the girls have become known for being a legendary powerhouse troupe of soulful divas, they’ve earned themselves just as strong of a reputation for the revolving door status of their members–the kind of constant switcheroo that easily puts the frequent chiding of Destiny’s Child‘s own member swap to shame.
When the group first started, the original Sugababes were Mutya Buena, Keisha Buchanan and Siobhán Donaghy–who left after the release of their debut album citing an interest in pursuing fashion, and only later on revealing during an interview that Keisha was a “bully” that pushed her out of the group. She was replaced by Heidi Range in 2001.
Mutya Buena then took a leave in late 2005 and replaced by Amelle Berrabah, while Keisha Buchanan eventually bowed out (and/or was kicked out by Amelle and Heidi for–you guessed it, allegedly being a bully) in late 2009, leaving Jade Ewen to fill her spot.
But as the group’s original member count has slowly dwindled, so too has their reputation. Now in their fourth incarnation, the Sugababes have no actual Sugababes members remaining, and it’s come to the point now where the group is being heavily mocked in the media for looking like a desperate knock-off of the original brand.
For years, there’s been a steadily growing public outcry for the original ‘Babes to reform (if not just the stuff of Suga fanboy/girl dreams) and now, it seems those dreams are about to come true.
Back in October, UK blog Wot You Got reported that the original trio had reunited and were heading back in the studio to work on a few demos together to test out their sound after over a decade apart.
Earlier this evening, Keisha Buchanan just added fuel to the initial rumors by tweeting the following:
Hanging out in the studio with @professorgreen and two lovely ladies with bags of talent :-p lol
And then came a tweet from Mutya Buena:
@ studio wit professor green in tha building and 2 beautiful ladies
The third and final original member of Sugababes–Siobhán–isn’t on Twitter just yet, but the tweets still all but confirm the same thing: The iconic soulstresses behind hits like “Overload,” “Run For Cover” and “Soul Sound” are back in the studio working together. As of today, they’ve allegedly been involved with popular UK producer Professor Green. And according to some newer Internet rumors, they were even working with Xenomania‘s Brian Higgins and Miranda Cooper just before Christmas. And although there’s still no official confirmation just yet (although my boo over at The Prophet Blog just revealed that he’s known this to be true for a while), it’s pretty safe to say that this one’s a go. (EDIT: It is–as triply confirmed by PopJustice.)
Still, plenty of questions now loom: For one, what’s to come of the current Sugababes? Well, the news certainly doesn’t look promising. By most accounts, the group’s been quietly dropped from Sony/RCA. Ever since the non-release of “Freedom” by the Sugababes 4.0 which stalled only days before its release date last September and ended up being offered as a free download, the ever-withering troupe has fallen silent over the past six months.
Plus, in an interview published yesterday with Heidi Range–who’s now about to appear on Dancing On Ice–the singer openly admitted that the group’s not doing much these days. From Digital Spy:
“We were just in a period where we weren’t busy anyway. We were doing our own thing,” Range told Digital Spy. “We haven’t split up, no.”
Speaking about the group’s future, she added: “We’re not concentrating on it. I’m concentrating on this. We haven’t got anything planned at the moment.”
If the Sugababes 4.0 aren’t splitting just yet, their name remains intact. So what will the original troupe be called? Although it’s true that Mutya won limited rights to the Sugababes name back in August (quite limited, actually–as in paper goods, stationary and gift wrapping), it doesn’t seem as though the girls will be able to reunite under their original name. Any guesses on their new incarnation name?
Only one thing’s for sure: I’m on overload.
Ellie Goulding is an unlikely pop star.
Her public image is subdued, even self-effacing; her voice is a gorgeous, fragile wisp that would sound more at home at a coffee shop than layered over a bouncing synth track; her lyrics are imbued with an aching vulnerability that most singer-songwriters would kill for. But like some other sonic greats who have paired distinctive vocals with dance beats — like Björk or Siobhan Donaghy — Ellie’s music derives much of its power from its pop sound. Likable, accessible, and danceable, her work with producers like Starsmith, Biff Stannard, and Frankmusik makes her poetry radio-friendly.
Since bursting onto the scene with her debut single, “Under the Sheets” — released via uber-hip singles label Neon Gold — Ellie was the top breakthrough act in the BBC’s Sound of 2010 poll and won the Critics’ Choice Award at the BRITs, a feat previously managed only by Adele. Her debut album, Lights, was released to commercial and critical acclaim, cementing Ellie’s position in the English cultural consciousness. But the re-release, Bright Lights, was even better, containing her sharpest work to date — collaborations with Fred Falke and Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons took her glistening folk-dance to dramatic extremes.
Ellie has toured in the U.S. more than most English artists — we don’t usually get so lucky here in the States — and she’s just kicked off her latest stateside tour. Her evolution as a live artist has been an exhilarating thing to watch, as she’s become the kind of pop performer who genuinely lights up the stage with a rare ferocity. If she’s coming to your town, don’t miss her.
With the fate of the Sugababes now resting on a dodgy Greatest Hits release out in late February and a hope and a prayer that their remaining fans still remember which three babes are still in the band (one of them is T-Boz, right?), the absence of OG member Keisha Buchanan has never been felt so strongly.
But in her absence, she’s been rull busy–and the results are now starting to crop up. After the release of a fairly amazing solo clip called “Fearless” back in July comes a brand new song: “Under Control,” a leak from Keisha’s forthcoming solo effort.
Simply put, “Under Control” is quite exciting.
Not only is the electro-tinged R&B production packed with catchy hooks and melodies, but it also allows Buchanan to shine with a surprisingly strong, Robyn-esque swagger of confidence and pop sensibility. “I, I, I got it under control,” she assures us during the stomping, glittery beats of the chorus. At this point, I don’t think anyone’s got any doubt about that!
Furthermore, it sounds like this one really wasn’t meant to leak this early. From her Twitter earlier this evening:
Pretty bummed about my track being leaked, But the response has been amazing!! Thanks so much. Even better 2 come:-) Album almost finished X
Much like original band members Siobhan Donaghy and Mutya Buena, it sounds like this solo Suga may be rolling out a solo campaign as sublime as her founding sisters’ attempts. Don’t mess with a ‘Babe scorned!
Nadine Coyle has an insatiable ego.
After rejecting a major label bid war in favor of an exclusive distribution deal at Tesco, reportedly declining an X Factor performance invite, and forgoing all contact with her (former) Girls Aloud band members for almost a year, Nadine Coyle has made it a point throughout the entire recording and promotional process of her new-found solo career that sheâ€™s going to produce and promote the music her own wayâ€”and she doesnâ€™t need your help, thank you very much.