It shouldn’t come as a shock that the United Kingdom (UK) is a hotbed for brewing some of the best girl groups of my time. I mean come on: Spice Girls, All Saints, B*Witched, Girls Aloud, and of course what brings us here today, the Sugababes. This country has a pretty great track record, I swear, the talent’s in the water. (Note to self: buy stock in UK water.)
I was able to talk to Amelle Berrabah, a British singer/songwriter, and performer extraordinaire… not to mention one third of the critically acclaimed female act, the Sugababes (2.0). Her long awaited debut album is scheduled to drop sooner than you think, so keep reading for all the juicy details.
This sultry songstress, was kind enough to lend her time to me this past week in a candid phone interview that remains one of my favorite interviews to date. We discuss zombies, acting, Twitter, the future of the Sugababes, and she settles an age old argument: chocolate or vanilla! Amelle, who is no stranger to the limelight, embraces my random questions, and has some great insight for all you #REBELLES out there. She even put on her best American accent towards the end, so I advise you to order some Chinese food, blast some Sweet 7, and enjoy!
McKenzie | You’re stranded on a desert island and only have three CDs in your suitcase, what are they?Amelle Berrabah | CDs. Um. Okay. Mary J. Blige: My Life. la la la la la. Let’s think. Calvin Harris. I’m quite into Calvin Harris at the moment, to kind of lighten the mood. Kind of dancey. What else? Oh, Kings of Leon.
“Never Leave You,“ a single you did with Tinchy Stryder back in 2009 was an instant hit. Any plans to collaborate with him on your solo album or in the near future?
Yeah. We spoke about it a few times. Basically because I’m finishing the album now and writing away and everything so there’s a couple I’ve got in mind for him. I would definitely work with him again and look forward to it. I really get along with him and I’ll let him know when I’m ready and he’ll jump on and write his parts or whatever and we can get something out together. Hopefully. It’ll be down the line, definitely.
Speaking of your solo album, how’s it coming? Will we be seeing it by the end of the year or are you going to make us wait until 2014?Well, my kind-of deadline is the summer. So I’m due to release in the summer. Even though I was supposed to release a little earlier but I think since it’s my first solo project, like really by myself, I’ve been sort of a perfectionist. I want to be completely ready. I think at the moment everything has been falling into place perfectly. So it’s looking like its definitely going to be this summer. So I literally can’t wait to get performing again. I’ve enjoyed having a bit of a time out, in the studio writing with other people. But I am looking forward to doing the live stuff. And performing again.
And I was like, “Yeah! What the hell?” I didn’t know whether to take it as an insult.
If you could go back in time and give your 12-year-old self advice, what would it be?Good question. Pretty much at the age of 12 everyone’s a bit conscience of their body and that’s when you start thinking about issues like that. So I’d probably be like, “Just be happy, don’t think too much, and make sure to be more confident and stay positive.”
Have you had any weird fan encounters on Twitter?I’m sure I’ve had one. Oh, weirdly enough, recently I’ve had a couple of weird ones, women asking about my bum. One person said, “is that real?” And I was like, “Yeah! What the hell?” I didn’t know whether to take it as an insult. I definitely think that that’s the weirdest thing that’s happened to me recently. Yeah, I’d say definitely the bum tweet was a little bit different.
What do you think about the Sugababes “original three” coming back into the scene?I’m happy for them, especially since all three of them are very talented singers and I really respect vocalists who can actually sing. You know nowadays there’s a lot of auto tune going on and artists not singing live, so it’s nice to see three people getting together again and making some good music. I’m excited for them, and I’m intrigued to hear what they have. I wish them all the luck.
Will we ever get to see a Heidi, Amelle and Jade reunion?
I think so. We’re still talking about it at the moment. We all wanted to venture into our own things since we all had our little projects in our mind but also in our heads we have been thinking that we’re going to get back together. Even when I’m in the studio writing, there’s definitely a couple that I think “oh, that would be good for us,” as in us three. So I’ll put a couple of tracks to one side. I’m pretty sure it will happen by kind-of next year.
What is your dream collaboration? Who in the music industry are you dying to work with?I would totally say Beyoncé definitely; I’d absolutely love it. And Gwen Stefani, I think she’s just a true talent, even back in the day with No Doubt, in the band. She’s just got something about her that she’s obviously so talented. I love her tone, I love her dressing, there’s just something about her, I love that’s she just really quirky and different. Those would definitely be two of my biggest dream collaborations.
That’s my ultimate goal, if I’m going to be honest. A release in the U.S. would just be literally a dream come true for me.
Any plans to take on the U.S.? We’re desperate for some fresh, new talent here in the States.That’s my ultimate goal, if I’m going to be honest. A release in the U.S. would just be literally a dream come true for me. So it’s always in the forefront of conversation in my meetings and stuff with the label, so, well, I’ll make sure it happens. It’s definitely something I’ve put my whole heart and soul into, so I’m going to really push and really hope for success over there. I really do.
Let’s talk movies. Would you ever consider acting in one? What movie have you seen that just made you go: “yeah, I would have liked to be in that one!”?The one that kind of got me years ago is Love Actually. I like quirky films and comedy mostly, the movies with random accents and stuff. I’m a bit weird, to be honest. Something like that would be really good. I’m actually glad that you said that because I’ve done a very small part in a film called Plastic, that’s out, I think, the end of this year or the beginning of next year. And I’m also talking to some people for another film that’s more of a main character type, so, I’m trying to see if I can even fit it in, but I really, really want to do it. It’s definitely something I’m interested in, but my passion and my love and my number one is definitely singing and performing.
Zombie Apocalypse or Alien Invasion?Hmmm. Alien invasion actually, because all the bloody zombie films that I’ve watched, they scare the crap out of me! [Laughs.] Have you seen that movie 28 Days Later? It’s based in London as well and they take over London and they’re like running after you. So yeah, I definitely would not want that. The UFOs I’d been intrigued, I’d still be scared but I’d definitely prefer that over zombies.
Guilty pleasure TV show?
There’s one show that I really, really like, I literally, even if I’m working or if I’m in the middle of something I literally stop everything just to watch this one show. Every Monday I need to watch it, it’s a show calledRevenge. I think it’s over in the U.S. as well. I absolutely love that show and I have not missed an episode, and I don’t normally get into things like that. Another one isHappy Endings. I love that show. Anything quirky, funny, that just makes me laugh.
Two fun facts people might not know about you?Two fun facts, hmmm… I think I, well I think I’m funny. [Laughs.] One fact: I’ll make you laugh. Hopefully. Two, I’m always up for anything; I’m quite random. I’ll surprise people. I’m quite weird. So, I’ll make you laugh and we’ll have a bit of fun together, I think.
Vanilla or chocolate?Chocolate, all day long.
One meal you wouldn’t mind eating for the rest of your life?Chinese food. I think I’ve got an addiction, it’s becoming a problem… I’m going to need some help soon. But that’s something that I could definitely eat every day, I’d like turn into some noodle. I can’t get enough of it.
As a little bonus to this already amazing interview, check out the clips below of Amelle attempting an American accent. And even I jump in on the action (post interview) and decide to take my English impersonation to the mean streets of the Interweb. Enjoy the weirdness.
Amelle joined the Sugababes in 2005 after their manager had seen her perform years earlier as a member of her first band, Boo2. Within the Sugababes Amelle enjoyed the success of two number ones and countless top ten hits. Amelle became the first Sugababe to have a solo number one hit with Tinchy Stryder in 2009. After enormous success, the Sugababes have been taking a break to pursue individual endeavors since 2012. For Amelle, this meant an immediate start on solo material. She is currently working on an exciting debut album.