Sugababes are the girl band of the moment. So far this year they have notched up two chart-topping singles and even won a Q Award, but their success has a downside as it means the talented trio haven’t got the time for boyfriends.
The all conquering Keisha Buchanan, Mutya Buena and Heidi Range release their latest double A sided single this week Stronger/Angels With Dirty Faces which is tipped to be another hit.
Last month they beat off tough competition from Oasis and Coldplay when Freak Like Me was named Single Of The Year by readers of music magazine Q. They are also making waves in Europe and have their eyes set on America – so for the moment love has been put on the back-burner.
“We are so busy that we don’t have any time for boyfriends,” says Heidi. “I can’t remember the last time I went out on a date.”
But while there may be a lack of romance, the girls recently had to put up with an unwanted admirer.
At the MOBO Awards a man got on stage when the girls were performing their No 1 hit Round Round.
Heidi recalls: “This man jumped up and ran across the stage shouting that it was his time. I didn’t even realise what was happening, I just thought it was one of the dancers who had gone wrong.
“He just ran past me and I thought ‘what is he doing?’”
Mutya adds: “We’d seen him at the back of the stage before we went on and he looked over and smiled at me. The next thing he was up on stage. But I just tried to ignore him.”
With their success and two critically acclaimed albums to their name, it is easy to forget that
Sugababes are still only in their teens – Mutya is just 16, Keisha 17 and Heidi is 18.
Keisha and Mutya were signed up by their first record company when they were in their early teens and left school so they could concentrate on launching a pop career. Heidi was in the original line up of Atomic Kitten at the age of 15 - and left before the band made it big.
Looking back, the girls admit there were times when they felt they were missing out on the ordinary things teenagers experience when they are growing up.
Keisha says: “We did miss out on lots of things, it was more the social stuff. I remember that I really wanted to go to our old school’s Valentine dance. One of the teachers said we couldn’t go back to school for it. She was just being a bitch but I was very upset. I just thought we could have gone back for one last time.
“There were times when our friends would call us up to tell us there was a party going on and we felt really frustrated because we couldn’t go – sometimes it did feel like we were under house arrest.
“We used to moan and groan about it all the time. But we had to balance that against the fact that we were in the studio recording our first album and in rehearsals with our own band.
“Our managers were a little naughty because we would go in the studio at lunchtime and not leave until the early hours of the morning.
“Sometimes we would be coming home from the studio and see our friends going to school. We would get a couple of hours sleep and then go back into the studio.”
And they don’t think the current trend to sign up younger and younger pop acts, such as S Club Juniors, is a good idea. Keisha says: “If there’s a young person with an amazing voice I think they should be snapped up but they should be allowed to develop and finish school before they release any music.
“Just give them a chance to grow up – true talent never dies. When we left school we got private tuition which meant we completed our education but we didn’t get to develop with the rest of our friends.”
Heidi adds: “It’s a tough business too. If I had stayed with Atomic Kitten I would have ended up releasing my first single when I was 16 and I don’t think I would have been prepared for what was going to happen to me.
“I would hate to think kids like S Club Juniors are overworked as they are so young.”
The success all over Europe meant that Heidi has had to face another problem - her fear of flying.
“I’m petrified of flying so by the time we arrive in a country I feel like I am destroyed before we even start doing any work. I have to go through the whole traumatising experience of flying and I just hate it.
“None of us really like going away but when you get to another country and all the fans start singing one of our songs, even though English is not their first language, it gives you a fantastic feeling.”
And they are still surprised by their success on their home turf and the fact that they have fans among the young and old alike.
Heidi says: “One of the best things we have done this year is playing the V2002 festival but we were really nervous because it was an indie music crowd. We thought we would end up having bottles thrown at us.
“But it was the best gig we have ever done. We did the whole set with a live band and it went down really well. It just showed us that we can cross over to different markets.”