To say the Sugababes are back and better than ever might sound like a cliché but there really is no better phrase to describe the highly-anticipated comeback of this iconic Noughties girlband. OG line-up Siobhán Donaghy, Keisha Buchanan, and Mutya Buena delighted fans by officially reuniting in 2021 and their latest gig, a secret London concert promises to be a cinematic spectacle.
The Sugababes' reunion is an extra special time for the three women who battled to legally reclaim the band's name in 2019. Now the original lineup is back in the studio, and it is certainly not a shy and retiring reunion.
With highlights including playing Glastonbury and supporting Take That at Hyde Park, Siobhán, Keisha and Mutya exclusively tell HELLO! that it's hard to pick their standout moment, especially as the magnitude of their fans' reaction continues to dawn on them.
The big comeback
"It's been the icing on the cake for us," Keisha tells us. "We did decide to get back together and make music ten years ago but we weren't able to in the way we wanted to because we had all this stuff going on with the name." The girls originally returned as MKS a decade ago but reclaimed the Sugababes name in 2021.
The journey they have been through to get to where they are now makes their comeback even sweeter. "When we finally got it back you just never know how you're going to be received because it was such a long time in between so one of the first things we did was Glastonbury and to get so much love and support from people it was so lovely and it just got better and better after that," Keisha continues.
Siobhán says the outpouring of love continues to blow the girls away. "It's been amazing and so many things come in and I think 'wow were doing that'," the singer admits. "Every day new things come in and I'm just flawed at the response and loving every minute of it," calling the experience the "stuff of dreams".
You may also like
Highlights along the way
Playing Glastonbury and supporting Take That at Hyde Park are two pretty sensational starts to an iconic comeback. "When we did Glastonbury for ages I just said Glastonbury [was the highlight]," Siobhán reveals as Keisha adds that famous rappers and singers like Rita Ora supported the band from the crowd, "but there's been so many highlights since then so I feel like it's just the whole experience. The Take That show in Hyde Park was incredible in itself because it was such a huge production to be part of like you can use all their staging, the lights...that was awesome."
Selling out the O2 for the very first time 25 years after the band's formation is a pretty unbelievable achievement. "That just felt like an incredible experience especially after what Keisha was talking about – getting the name back," Siobhán says. "It felt like everything over the past two years built up to that one day so it felt really incredible to take that it and really take in the achievement of it. To be honest it was something we will never forget."
With mega hits like 'About You Now', 'Too Lost in You' and 'Overload' in their repertoire, it's hard for fans to pick a song they are most excited to hear live again, never mind the three London-based songstresses. Mutya reveals that 'Push The Button' and 'Round Round' stand out for her. "The crowd loved Round Round," she says. For Siobhán it's all about 'Freak Like Me'. "Freak is what we've been starting the set off with this year and the band has got a fresh new take on it. I like the intro and it starts the show off with such a bang so for me, I love that," she says.
Part of the joy of reuniting after all these years is reconnecting with fans who have followed the girls from the early days, but also the new fans who are discovering their music as they break back onto the pop scene, owing hugely to a resurgence in 2000s energy in pop culture this year. Keisha tells us: "We see our peers, our age group, we see older [fans] which isn't surprising because even when we were coming out at 15 or 16 there were adults at our shows, and there's loads of the new generation and that's always quite cool."
She adds: "We've had so much awareness of those who listen to our music. When you're in the group it's like this little bubble so it's interesting to see how many people we've had an impact on in a positive way."
All the 2000s nostalgia
With 2000s nostalgia around every corner (low-rise jeans and the Barbie movie, we're looking at you), it is easy for the girls to cast their minds back to those happy days of getting together and a certain fashion choice that Keisha says is still her guilty pleasure. "I was obsessed with the Spice Girls trainers when they came out!," she says, referring to chunky Buffalo kicks. "I had them in white and black and I wore them to the end-of-year school dance. You couldn't tell me I didn't look good! And I was taller than everyone!".
Though a divisive shoe choice she says she loves that parts of the era have come back around. "Now I wear it on stage or through festival season," she says. "I love that that has had a bit of a comeback because it's important when you want to wear heels but you want to be steady."
Mutya too has a pair of shoes that were essential to her look in the 2000s that have found their way back into her wardrobe. "We used to wear lots of pointy boots when we were younger," the singer recalls. "I used to call them witchy boots and now I actually wear them, it's quite funny. I think a lot of the fashion has come back and it's repeating itself."
Their upcoming gig
Now the band is pulling together all their noughties nostalgia and getting back in the studio to make new material as they step out for a secret concert in partnership with Trainline. The girls are headlining TrainLive tomorrow night at a yet-to-be-revealed London train station alongside up-and-coming artists including London-based artist Billy Crabbe and singer-songwriter Ella Tobin hailing from South East London.
The Sugababes say it is an opportunity that struck an (inevitably harmonised) chord with them straight away. "I think we're always quite interested in things that happen in London because we're from there so that always kind of like gets our interest going," Siobhán reveals. "We really like that they are supporting up-and-coming artists and giving them a platform to showcase themselves and also it just felt quite Christmassy."
A train station setting also has a certain festive appeal. "It's almost quite cinematic," Siobhán says. "It sounds so lovely for Christmas so we wanted to get involved." When asked what fans can expect from this more intimate gig, Mutya's answer was simple – "A good vibe and good music". We wouldn't expect anything less.
New music is on the horizon
Before the girls look to the release of more new music in 2024 (their latest single 'When The Rain Comes' is such a bop) there is a certain TV appearance that the girls will proudly sit down for on Christmas Day. Keisha exclusively tells us what taking part in the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special alongside pro partner Gorka Marquez was like just hours after wrapping the episode.
"It wasn't easy at all. I didn't go into it thinking that it was easy, but I didn't realise it was going to be that hard," she admits. "I had three days of rehearsal, I've had no dance training in my past and I learned that just because you've got rhythm, doesn't mean that you can step into any genre of music!
"So my respect for dancers has just gone all the way up," she adds. "Gorka, my partner, was amazing so it was so much fun."
As the girls enter the new year they say the new album promises to offer a "really eclectic" sound but there is one thing the girls are sure of – it will sound recognisably Sugababes. "We have an eclectic taste between us anyway and we feel like if it's the three of us harmonising over any genre of music, it will sound like the Sugababes," Siobhán tells us. "Even The Lost Tapes that we released last Christmas. That album is really eclectic from one song to another and that is the signature Sugababes thing so expect the unexpected."
Friendship is at the heart of everything
Key to their signature sound is their undeniable chemistry. "No matter what happens, when we come together and we put those harmonies together I just feel like where the root of our chemistry comes from – our love for music," Keisha tells us. "And then I think because we grew up together there's such a genuineness that people feel and that's where that meets us on the stage."
The girls look forward to a smaller gig tomorrow night, but that doesn't mean the energy won't be electric. Ever wondered what the energy in the Sugababes' dressing room is like before a show? "Wild!," Keisha jests. "Especially when the band is there."
"We are partial to a bit of a rum punch before a show and just good tunes and good vibes," Siobhán adds. "[We] always like to get that energy up before you go out."
With the 2000s resurgence showing no signs of slowing down, the girls look forward to more girl bands and young female artists emerging onto the pop scene.
Keisha says Victoria Monet is a staple in their pre-show playlist, adding: "We've met a couple of up-and-coming girl bands that have come our or are about to come out. We love FLO, they're really lovely girls. It's nice to share the stage with people. There's room for everybody." We couldn't agree more.
Sugababes will be headlining the first ever festival in a train station – TrainLive. Tickets for the exclusive, intimate performance of the Sugabaes can be won through a ballot hosted on the Trainline website. While performances by London’s finest up-and-coming musical talent can be booked completely for FREE through Design My Night.