The Sugababes have achieved so much already, in just a few years: two back-to-back
triple-platinum albums (Angels With Dirty Faces and Three), one million singles sold in the UK,
three number ones (Freak Like Me, Round Round, Hole In The Head), a Brit Award, a Q Award, a
Smash Hits Award and an Elle Style Award. And now comes the best, the most diverse, and the most
personal album they have ever made.
Released on October 10, Taller In More Ways is the Sugababes’ fourth album – a
milestone that few girl groups have ever reached. And it’s an album that, in the Sugababes’ own words,
takes their music “to another level.” It not only delivers the kind of street-smart, cutting-edge pop songs
that have made the Sugababes the most credible of modern pop groups. It also sees the girls expanding
their music into new areas, and delving deeper into their own personal lives to create their most
mature work to date.
To get these results, Mutya, Keisha and Heidi selected only the co-writers and producers they
felt truly understood them as performers and as people. In what the girls describe as “a team
effort”, they hooked up with big-hitting songwriters Dallas Austin (TLC, Gwen Stefani, Pink), Guy
Sigsworth (Madonna, Britney Spears) and Cathy Dennis (Kylie). They also called on old friends
Brian Higgins, Johnny Rockstar (Robbie Williams) and Cameron McVeigh (All Saints). The result is
a set of songs filled with unexpected twists and turns, yet bonded by the Sugababes’ unique vocal
sound and strong collective personality.
“The best thing for us and our fans is to keep it new and
keep it refreshing,” says Keisha. “It’s never planned, but each producer we
work with brings their flavour to it, which is different. I don’t think any of our tracks
have ever sounded like anybody else’s tracks, because the moment our voices go
on the track it turns more edgy or more R&B or more pop.”
“Each track on this album is completely different,” adds Mutya. “We’ve got a bit of
R&B from working with Dallas Austin. We’ve got R&B/pop/rock
with Johnny, and with Brian, he’s very poppy.”
The range and depth of the album is illustrated by its first and last tracks – the fiery lead single
Push The Button, and the epic, string-laden ballad 2 Hearts. “A lot of the new
stuff is quite different,” says Heidi, “but we don’t want to alienate the
fans who’ve been with us.” However, as Mutya says, “Every song has our
And to achieve this, it was important that the girls and their co-writers got to
really know each other before they began working on the new songs.
Keisha: “Subject-wise, we really discussed what we wanted to write about. We looked more
deeply into the lyrics.”
Heidi: “Dallas Austin came to London for a few weeks to get to know us before we went to
his studio in Atlanta. He didn’t want to just write a song, he wanted to write something for us.
That’s why he was able to write great hits for TLC, because he knew them. He didn’t want to do
anything that wasn’t us.”
Mutya: “You don’t want to just sing someone else’s songs and words, like a robot. You want to
feel the music.”
They hit it off so well with Dallas Austin that he ended up writing five of the 12 tracks on the album,
including Push The Button and Ugly. The girls had a great time hanging out with Dallas at his home
in Atlanta – an oval-shaped mansion surrounded by a lake. “It’s amazing!” says Heidi. “There’s a
cinema room and one of the walls is all glass, and you can see underwater as well. And he’s got a
lift in his house!” “Dallas is a genius!” says Keisha. “He was working with Korn while he was working
with us, and to be flexible like that, you have to be extremely talented.
But he’s so sweet and laid-back, we loved working with him.”
They also loved writing with Cathy Dennis and Guy Sigsworth on the track
Bruised. Keisha: “You’d be sitting there having a conversation about nothing
to do with a song, and Cathy would suddenly start singing
something – she picks up on something you say and goes with it.
She really understood what we’re all about.”
And that’s the key to this album. These songs are personal to the Sugababes.
Whether they’re singing about the pitfalls of fame (It Ain’t Easy),
the tabloid press (Gotta Be You), predatory men (Joy Division), self-esteem (
Ugly) or the people closest to their hearts (Follow Me Home), this is the Sugababes
at their most honest.
The album’s title – taken from the song Ugly – reflects the ups and downs the girls
have experienced in the past four years. “We’ve been though a lot,” Heidi explains. “There’s
been a member leave the band, a member joined, we got dropped, got signed again, there’s
been weird things written about us, Mutya’s had a baby… It’s our fourth album and there’s a lot to say.”
For Mutya, adjusting to motherhood has meant waking up with baby Tahlia at around the same time
in the morning that she used to get home from parties. But she insists: “Whatever we’ve been through,
we’re still the same people.”
“At the end of the day, it’s about the music,” says Keisha. “I don’t care if people say
the Sugababes are moody cows as long as they think we make great music.
And that’s the great thing about this album. It’s mature. You can definitely hear that we’ve
all grown vocally on this album. And it’s definitely a team effort. We’re not just puppets on a
string or the product of somebody else’s imagination. This album is us.”
- Old World Fashion Tour The Sugababes
- MySpace.com: Heidi Range
- MySpace.com Sugababes
- MySpace.com Carsten