On this day in…1984

September 30, 2008

Keisha Buchanan (Sugababes) was born in Kingsbury, North London


Today’s “On This Day” post sees us celebrate the life and career of Keisha Buchanan, one of the founding and still only original member of Sugababes, one of Britain’s most successful and acclaimed female pop acts of the 21st century, who turns 24 today.

Born Keisha Kerreece Fayeanne Buchanan on 30th September 1984 in Kingsbury, North London, she has a family background of a Jamaican mother and Scottish father, and is also cousins with Simon Webbe, formerly of chart topping boyband Blue, and is also good friends with X Factor winner Leona Lewis, who she met her current boyfriend of two years through. She has been singing from a young age – in fact, since she met and became friends with fellow founding Sugababe Mutya Buena at her local primary school. A few years later, when both were aged 13, they met the band’s other original member, Siobhan Donaghy (aged 12 at the time), at a party and Sugababes were formed, taking their name from Keisha’s school nickname of ‘Sugar baby’ (so dubbed because of her love of sweets).

In 1998, they signed their first record deal whilst still only 13 and 14, with London Records, at the time home to All Saints, and began working on their debut album, “One Touch” with acclaimed producer Cameron McVey, who had also worked on All Saints’ debut album from the same year and that album’s biggest hit single, “Never Ever”. The record surfaced two years later in 2000, reaching the top 30 in the album chart and spawning four top 40 hits, the biggest of which being the debut single, “Overload” (video above), which entered at #6 in September of that year and was nominated for Best British Single at the following February’s BRIT Awards.

In 2001 however, due to poor sales of the album, the group were not only dropped by London Records but also lost Siobhan, who exited the group by excusing herself quietly from promotion in the Far East. She was then replaced by Liverpudlian and original Atomic Kitten member Heidi Range a month later, and the girls were resigned, this time to Universal Island, and began work on a second album that would help take them to greater heights. Released in 2002, “Angels With Dirty Faces” was critically acclaimed by many, including publications like Q magazine who said that the beauty of them as a group was that “they sounded like Asbo angels whilst remaining sassily confident and mature beyond their years.”

This time however, they were greeted with greater commercial success, achieving two UK #1’s with the Gary Numan sampling cover of Adina Howard’s “Freak Like Me” (produced by Richard X, TOTP performance above) and “Round Round” (produced by Brian Higgins and Xenomania). Following award wins at the Q awards, Smash Hits awards and BRITs and a sold out theatre tour, the girls would continue to break more boundaries in 2003, performing at Later With Jools Holland, the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury, and releasing their third album “Three” and another chart topper, “Hole In The Head” (CD:UK performance below).

It was on this album that Keisha would co-write her first song without involvement of the other members of the band. Her track, “Whatever Makes You Happy”, was, she says, “a personal track that I wrote about the fickleness of the industry…particularly in light of Pop Idol and stuff like that, yeah.” It’s track 2 on the album and is held in high regard in fan circles as one of their best album tracks to date. However, in spite of all the success, rumours still circulated in the press that the girls weren’t getting along, and apparently that they came to blows over, of all things, Britney Spears’ “Toxic” before a gig in Dublin in 2004 that was then promptly cancelled minutes before they went on stage.

Adding fuel to this press construed belief was the fact of Mutya then falling pregnant with her first child, who was to then be born in the spring of 2005. Needless to say, the girls feverently denied all talks of inter band strife, and rose above it all with the release of their fourth album, “Taller In More Ways” in September 2005, and it’s lead single, “Push The Button” (co-written by TLC hitmaker Dallas Austin, Popworld performance above), which went on to be one of the biggest singles of the year, topping the charts in numerous countries (including the UK, where it stayed at the summit for nearly a month) and winning them another Best Single nod at the BRITs in 2006. However, by this point, Mutya had abruptly left the band to look after her daughter, again fuelling speculation over their relationship with one another.

But still, the girls powered on through as usual, recruiting new member Amelle Berrabah in December 2005, releasing their first single with her, “Red Dress” (another Xenomania production, Album Chart Show performance above) in March 2006, before then providing support for Take That on their massive comeback arena tour that summer. This does of course mean that in the current line up, Keisha is now the only original member of Sugababes. However, she went on the record in a ITV2 documentary in December 2006, saying “I still intend to carry on making and releasing music under Sugababes”, thus ruling out rumours of her possible departure. She also added that “As far as I’m concerned this is the line up that people will see when we reunite in 10 years time. Someone once said to us that if the world was going to end tomorrow then they’d want to be standing next to us so that we didn’t change line up again!”

And so to today then. After two more hit albums – their greatest hits album, “Overloaded: The Singles Collection” in 2006 and “Change” last year – latter of which providing another big #1 single in “About You Now” (produced by Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald, T4 on the Beach performance above) – the girls are now in their 10th year since signing their first record deal, a feat that Keisha said in an interview this week she was extremely proud of and she said had felt like a journey. And the journey continues this week and the next, with the release of their new single, “Girls” (which has shot to #8 on downloads alone this week) and their 6th studio album “Catfights and Spotlights”, out on 20th October. And here, we hope, is to many more years together for Sugababes and more success for Keisha.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: