Martyn Hett talks Mutya/Keisha/Siobhan. Whilst the Sugababes’ story can be laid to rest, the Mutya/Keisha/Siobhan story is just about to begin.
In 1999 when three moody teenagers burst onto the popular music scene, nobody could have predicted the drama ahead for the Sugababes. Starting out as an edgy girl group with raw vocals that made you shit with happiness, a number of line-up changes led to a rather different end to the story. With a line-up that now consists of ‘cabaret smile’ Heidi, ‘I wish I’d stuck to my solo career’ Jade and the one that’s always in trouble with the police – the Sugababes are almost as much of a laughing stock as their ridiculous matching stage outfits:
But fear not! In what can only be described as a beautifully poetic piece of pop justice, the original line-up has reformed and appear to finally be ready to release some new music. Whilst many regard the 2nd lineup of the Sugababes as their favourite, I’m here to tell you exactly what each member of MKS brings to the table, and why Mutya/Keisha/Heidi would never have even come close.
First things first, we need to start with the voice. Mutya’s voice is incredible. She can get deeper than Deirdre Barlow after a night out and has more melisma than Whitney on speed. Her effortless vocals were one of the reasons the Sugababes’ sound was so distinctive. Often sounding like she’d turned up to the studio after a bottle of whiskey and 20 cigarettes, Mutya’s sound was something Amelle could never replicate. When Mutya left she took the best of the Sugababes with her. Her cover of Tracy Chapman’s ‘Fast Car’ perfectly showcased her unique and raw talent, and if you’ve yet to hear it, make sure you do (and be sure to have your Kleenex at the ready, as it’s guaranteed to either make you weep with joy or bring you to climax).
Voice aside, Mutya is a ghetto-fabulous WONDER who would claw your eyes out with her 6 inch nails were you ever to get on the wrong side of her. With a style consisting of hoop earrings, gold teeth and gelled hair, you’d expect her to look like she’d come straight from the Chatsworth Estate – but for some reason it just works. Her greatest style triumph came in the shape of the ‘ghetto futuristic robot-bitch’ at the 2003 Brit Awards:
Oh Keisha, Keisha. Poor misunderstood Keisha. Often branded a ‘bully’ by the media, it’s clear that Keisha was the driving force behind the Sugababes. Since she was unceremoniously kicked out of the group in 2009, the Sugababes have spent the past 4 years being papped in London clubs with their knickers round their ankles and having to give their singles away for free because they were too weak to be picked up by radio.
Although all parties involved have remained tight-lipped about Keisha’s ousting, it doesn’t take a genius to work out what happened. Amelle and her string of DUIs and nightclub brawls probably sent Keisha over the edge. A group that was once hailed for their left-field pop music was slowly hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Cue a good old-fashioned ticking off from Keisha, followed by threats to leave the group by Amelle and the rest is history. Thankfully, Keisha is now working with professionals once again and can use her brains and her determination to ensure that Mutya/Keisha/Siobhan thrive like they deserve to.
On a side note – I never tire of watching this awkward interview from 2008. When Keisha is questioned over whether she thinks the 3rd line-up is the best, her awkward tangent regarding how much she misses Mutya makes for a hilariously uncomfortable reaction from Amelle, who was clearly only ever a ‘business decision’ to Keisha (skip to 3:30 for the LOLs).
Siobhan is one of the most underrated pop artists of our generation. Her two solo albums post-Sugababes were incredible, and whilst critically acclaimed, failed to make much of an impact in the charts. Having played an integral role in the creation of both her solo albums, it’s clear that Siobhan’s talents don’t lie solely with her impressive voice. Her Kate Bush-esque visuals and impeccable styling have also resulted in quite the cult-following amongst the hipster crowd, and the thought of Siobhan finally getting some exposure to the masses makes me feel a little teary.
Unfortunately, most people began to notice the Sugababes after their breakout hit, ‘Freak Like Me’ – meaning they often don’t remember Siobhan. But a quick listen to the One Touch album will trounce anybody’s opinions on Heidi being a suitable replacement. Heidi’s awfully weak live vocals pale in comparison to Siobhan’s strength and vocal control – and quite frankly, hearing Heidi tells us she wants to “take us around the hood on a gangster lead” in ‘Freak Like Me’ is cringeworthy and vomit-inducing. Heidi was always Atomic Kitten fodder, and is far too often wrongly credited for the Sugababes’ success throughout their 2nd lineup. Had Siobhan been present throughout the same era, I guarantee they’d have conquered the world.
All this aside – Siobhan left the Sugababes by secretly climbing out of a toilet window mid-way through an interview in Japan. If that isn’t enough to make her incredible, I don’t know what is.
Combining all of the above, it is clear to see that these three ladies have the potential to be huge. One of the greatest things about them is how different they are. They’re not the type of friends you’d expect to see on a night out together. In my head, the average MKS night out would consist of Siobhan enjoying a trendy wine bar in Notting Hill, Keisha hitting the West End clubs and Mutya getting down and dirty to some bashment in the depths of South London. But that’s exactly what makes this combination work. Each has something different to bring to the table, and these three forces combined are guaranteed to result in an epic musical orgasm. Whilst the Sugababes’ story can be laid to rest, the Mutya/Keisha/Siobhan story is just about to begin – and I for one, am very excited.