NEWS: Sugababes win back their name and announce triumphant tour 1

NEWS: Sugababes win back their name and announce triumphant tour

NEWS: Sugababes win back their name and announce triumphant tour

It is hard to believe that Siobhan Donaghy, Mutya Buena and Kisha Buchanan were only 15 and 16 when Sugababes first album One Touch was released 22 years ago, gaining fans like Mick Jagger and P!nk. Their unique harmonies, raw talent and self penned lyrics reflected an intense worldly wisdom which was way ahead of their their years. A bit like Dr Who, Sugababes have regenerated several times since then with each incarnation bringing its own distinctive treasures and strengths. Fans of the band will be thrilled at the news that the original line up are back after finally winning the legal right to their band name. They played at the Avalon stage at Glastonbury over the weekend and they will be touring the UK in October and November. From the stage at Glastonbury Buchanan said,

“We’ve got justice for Flatline guys,” referring to the 2013 single that had to be released under the name ‘Muta Keisha Siobhan’ (MKS) before they won the Sugababes name back. “It’s finally up [on Spotify] and we’re going to be touring in October to November. Presale tickets are out July 1st. May sure you grab them if you haven’t already.”

The band’s debut album One Touch was re- released for its 20th Anniversary in 2021, with demos rarities and re-workings by the likes of MENK, Blood Orange and Metronomy. Buchanan said, “What I love is that One Touch is getting the justice it deserves, because even though I love our other albums , I always thought that it was a shame that it didn’t get the push it truly deserved.”

It could be easy to write off Sugabababes as middle of the road pop but One Touch was ground-breaking; a credible genre hopping album blending R&B garage, soul and 2-step, that set the blueprint for bands that followed. In 2000, debut single, ‘Overload,’ was named as ” a smoothly produced seductive R&B track” while the NME dubbed it as ‘hauntingly infectious’ choosing it as one of their top ten singles of the year. It was even covered by indie band Bastille in 2015 and in 2022 it sound tracked the BBC’s ‘Everything I know about Love.

Speaking of the debut single in The Guardian, Buena said, “Vocally we hit the R&B and soul, but musically, I can’t tell you what Overload is. It’s not your usual pop song. It’s got a bit of everything; a bit of indie, a hip-hop drumbeat. That’s why we were able to cross boundaries from the NME Awards to the MOBOs and Brits.”

 Even if you are not a Sugababes fan, this could well be one to revisit. The Portishead style treasures of Sugababes early tracks were way ahead of their time. As someone who mostly listens to indie, this was a revelation. Tracks like Overload could hardly be considered traditional pop at all with its dark riffs, ghostly minor melodies, soulful vocals and shredding similar to the Pulp Fiction theme ‘Misirlou.’ The driving baseline echoes the dreamy gauze of Jefferson Airplane’sWhite Rabbit’ and the brooding hypnotic lyrics are intense. Yes they were young at the time, but the human condition that they were exploring is the same for everyone, no matter what the age. It is unconventional, classy, timeless and could well be a hit if it was released today. Buena said, “The older I get, the more I appreciate the track. I was listening the other day and I got so teary-eyed, like F*cking hell….we created something so beautiful at such a young age” and she is right. The track is a mammoth feat for their salad years.

After the first album, founding Sugababe Siobhan Donaghy left the band in 2001 with clinical depression and recently spoke up about how relieved she is that “This is now taken seriously.” She told NME, “It wouldn’t have been an option back then to say that and I’m just so happy that mental health is so widely discussed now.”

In 2005 Mutya Buena left to spend time with her daughter and later, bravely, revealed that she was suffering from postnatal depression. She had to contend with an increasing workload during her pregnancy while recording the chart-topping album which earned the Sugababes their first number one in the UK.

In 2009 the only original Sugababe, Kisha Buchanan, was replaced and recently opened up about the systemic racism that she faced from the industry whilst being in the band. Buchanan appeared in the BBC Documentary ‘Race, Pop and Power’ alongside Little Mix’s Leigh Ann Pinnock and Alexandra Burke in 2021, describing their experience of racism within the industry. Buchanan said that she once questioned someone from a senior position about her treatment and was told , “The Sugababes album is struggling and we need a story.”

Each original member left and each was replaced and yet the Sugababes music machine kept rolling and producing hits until 2011. No matter what happened to the original artists the Sugababes name was still being used, amalgamating the talent of the six artists, creating six number one singles, millions of global sales and multi- platinum albums.

Of course, the constant line up changes and rumours of in-fighting kept them in the tabloids and the public consciousness, but pitting the artists and various incarnations of the band against each other was a harsh way to garner column inches. In a 2021 Sunday Times Style Magazine Article, Buchanan said that producers told her and Buena to ‘fight each other.‘ Buchanan said, “Someone around us thought, actually, this is kind of edgy. I think they clocked on to the fact that it all added to the mystery and the interest in the group, so it just carried on.” Buena agreed, “People would be appalled if it happened now.” When you consider the age of the artists at the time, this is even more shocking. However, the 2022 band are a strong, triumphant, united antithesis of this- a group that their younger selves could be proud of. They navigated through this manipulated narrative and have taken back control.

It is a common trope to cite in- fighting as a reason for the breakdown of a group, but in an interview on This Morning, Buchanan said that she was told that she was “being used as collateral” and blamed for the failure of the Sugababes sixth album, even though she had been instrumental in their success for the previous eleven years.

After all the original members of the band were replaced, the original trio united and reformed in 2012 creating MKS, which is ironic, because if the tabloids were to be believed they were constantly at war. The music that they composed together as ‘Mutya Kisha Siobhan’ reflects a band in complete harmony. The original members were unable to call themselves The Sugababes until they secured the legal rights to the group name again in 2019.

There is still a lot of respect amongst fans for former Atomic Kitten and Sugababe, Heidi Range, who replaced Donaghy in 2001. Many cite her as being instrumental in their success creating hits such as ‘Round Round‘ and ‘Push the Button.’ Her talent is undeniable. She is clearly a gifted artist too, but comments such as ‘Justice for Heidi’ have started to emerge, playing into that female in-fighting narrative that the tabloids love so much, but surely with everything going on in the world, society shouldn’t play into this narrative. John McCarthy says that ‘Most fans’ ideal Sugababes line up would be Kisha, Mutya, Siobhan and Heidi.’ So all fans can be happy that either 66.6% or 100% of their favourite members are back together and are out on on tour, placing them into a euphoric musical time machine.

Whatever your views, this is a triumphant return for the original members of the band who have respectively overcome clinical depression, the challenges of motherhood, systemic racism and most importantly, regaining their name after a legal battle. In March 2010, Buena filed a claim for ownership of the Sugarbabes name with the European Trademark Authority and now, finally, in 2022, the name is theirs. They have risen triumphant, confident and in excellent voice ready for the tour ahead. They said. “We are so excited to come full circle and announce own own headline UK tour. We’ll be hitting the road in October and November- Can’t wait to see you all there.”

Tickets go on general sale on Friday 1st July at 10am via LiveNation.co.uk
 

TOUR DATES
October 2022

Sunday 16th                                    Bristol, U.K.                                      SWX Bristol
Monday 17th                                    Southend, U.K.                                Cliffs Pavilion
Tuesday 18th                                    Norwich, U.K.                                  The Nick Rayns LCR
Thursday 20th                                  Nottingham, U.K.                           Motorpoint Arena Nottingham
Friday 21st                                        Manchester, U.K.                           O2 Apollo Manchester
Sunday 23rd                                      Leeds, U.K.                                       O2 Academy Leeds
Monday 24th                                    Liverpool, U.K.                                 O2 Academy Liverpool
Tuesday 25th                                    Sheffield, U.K.                                 O2 Academy Sheffield
Thursday 27th                                  Brighton, U.K.                                  Brighton Centre
Friday 28th                                        Bournemouth, U.K.                       O2 Academy Bournemouth
Saturday 29th                                   Southampton, U.K.                       O2 Guildhall Southampton
Monday 31st                                    Cardiff, U.K.                                     Motorpoint Arena Cardiff
 
November 2022
Tuesday 1st                                       Birmingham, U.K.                          O2 Academy Birmingham
Wednesday 2nd                               London, U.K.                                    Eventim Apollo
Friday 4th                                          Newcastle, U.K.                             O2 City Hall Newcastle
Saturday 5th                                     Edinburgh, U.K.                             The Usher Hall
Monday 7th                                      Glasgow, U.K.                                  O2 Academy Glasgow
 
Picture credit: Getty Images

Sugababes Tour

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.