Nadine Coyle chats to Joanne Savage about Girls Aloud, girl power and finding her path as a solo artist as she announces Belfast tour date and new EP
Girls Aloud were the most successful girl band since the Spice Girls, constantly hitting the top of the charts with pop offerings that fizzed with pizzazz and attitude, packing out stadiums, and drawing in millions of fans. Girls Aloud tore up the pop rulebook, spray-painted it pink and clocked up 21 hits across 11 years.
Aided by producer Brian Higgins and songwriter Miranda Cooper, some might say they helped to redefine UK pop via singles and albums that imbibed and mixed genres - from ricochetting synthpop, power-pop and dance-pop beats to garage, new wave influences and saccharine balladry - their sound was diverse and the all-female line-up was a welcome addition in a boy band-dominated industry; here was a group of new sonic ambassadors for girl power, the Spice Girls of the Noughties.
All the while Londonderry’s very own Nadine Coyle was indisputably the ‘voice’ of the band, the stunning frontwoman with the powerhouse vocals and enviable cheekbones, easily mastering those high octaves, swooshing her hair and strutting her stuff through glossy music videos as the girl group released one irresistible pop offering after another.
Since their debut Nadine was front and centre, working it for the camera and singing with the range and vibrato of a young Mariah Carey.
Exclusively on the phone to the News Letter from London where she has been spending a lot of time in the recording studio, Nadine describes her time with Girls Aloud as “unbelievable and full of so many great experiences. There were so many incredible things we got to do, touring, playing packed-out stadiums. I met some of my greatest friends, singing so many great songs. We had so many hits but Sound of the Undergound was always one of my favourites because it was our first song and was number one for a month.”
Now fans can look forward to hearing all the band’s greatest hits once more when Nadine heads out on a new solo tour that will see her perform at Belfast’s Limelight on May 20.
The star, who relocated to LA nine years ago where she lives with her partner Jason Bell and four-year-old daughter Anaiya, will also perform some of the new music she has been working on over the past few years - sassy and seductive electro-pop that hasn’t yet managed to climb up the charts in the way it perhaps deserves to.
Kick-starting her solo career, Nadine is back working with musical producer/mogul Brian Higgins and his coterie of pop mavericks at Xenomania who were responsible for so many Girls Aloud hits. Recent single - Go To Work, an addictive, aggressively up-tempo pop confection - has now been followed by the release of her new EP, which has reached no three on on the UK iTunes Top Albums Chart. Nadine will perform her slick new pop offerings on her forthcoming tour as well as rebooting Girl’s Aloud’s substantial string of chart-bothering hits.
“It’s gonna be one big party night out,” says Nadine of the tour.
“I’ll sing all the hits the fans love plus the new songs. I literally can’t wait to get out back on the road again.
“I still love performing these songs and it’s a nightmare trying to put the set list together, because there are so many hits I just absolutely have to sing.
“But I also love all the tracks on the new EP,” she adds, her transatlantic accent a strange, sing-song mixture of Londonderry lilt and American twang.
”I especially like Girls on Fire which is a really in-your-face track, bold and energising and really all about girl power, and girls taking over the world, there’s nothing we can’t do - that kind of feeling.”
It’s a feeling Coyle and the other members of Girls Aloud know all about because their brand of girl power took them to levels of meteoric success they could never have anticipated. They were the Spice Girls’ natural successors, producing hit after hit, looking gorgeous and perfectly choreographed in music videos and in gaudily-lit stadiums, clocking up a whopping 20 consecutive top 10 singles, including four number ones, seven certified albums and five Brit Award nominations. A panoply of feel-good sing-along chart-toppers made the group new age princesses of pop with hits like No Good Advice, Biology, Jump, Call the Shots, The Promise and Something New only a small section of the band’s robustly rhythmic back catalogue.
After so many years together touring and performing Nadine reveals that she no longer has any contact with Cheryl, Nicola, Kimberley and Sarah.
“It’s five years since we split up and I haven’t seen them since.’’ But would a reunion ever be on the cards? ‘‘Well you never say never. Not at the moment, but it could be a possibility in the future.”
Coyle’s rise to stardom began in 2001 when she auditioned for the Irish version of the reality television talent show Popstars, which featured Louis Walsh as a judge. She won a place in the band Six, but was prevented from going further because she was only 16; 18 was the minimum age requirement.
Walsh then encouraged Coyle to enter Popstars: The Rivals, the second British series of the franchise.
The goal had been to create two winning pop groups – a boy band and a girl group, each consisting of five members. Girls Aloud emerged from the show and the rest is history. But Coyle is now firmly set on pursuing her own path and with her soaring vocals and pop goddess looks she could yet emerge as an independent recording artist to rival Madonna, Kylie and Katy Perry. And Nadine sounds ready for the challenge: “I have the best job in the world,” she laughs.