Then & Now: Sugababes

It’s time again for another installment of my newest monthly feature here at Beausic, the “Then & Now” series! For anyone who isn’t familiar or may have mused the previous posts, the “Then & Now” series is all about showcasing artists who have been around for a long time and the highlighting the differences in where they began and where they are today. As soon as I decided to do this series there was one group in particular that I knew I had to do one of these posts on because I can’t really think of any artists who have undergone such extreme changes from where they began as this group. Their changes have been so extreme, in fact, that the only thing that hasn’t changed in this group is the name. That name is, of course, Sugababes.

Mutya Buena, Siobhan Donaghy and Keisha Buchanan: Sugababes Original Lineup in 1998

Sugababes are one of the UK’s most successful girl groups of all-time, (which seems to be a title that is thrown around a lot when it comes to girl groups in the UK,) who became famous for their music but became infamous for the controversy that has surrounded them since the very beginning of their careers. This controversy, nine times out of ten, centered around the changes in their lineup. For those in the US, who may not be familiar with the group, think back to 2000 when one of America’s most successful girl groups of all-time, Destiny’s Child, suddenly replaced two members, then only months later dropped another. Remember all the scandal and headlines that surrounded that? Well, for Sugababes you can multiply that by 4! Sugababes began with two fresh-faced young ingenues, Mutya Buena and Siobhan Donaghy, who were signed on with a big name management team as solo artists who decided to work together. Mutya brought her best friend, Keisha Buchanan, into the studio to visit one day and it was decided that the three should become a trio. They released their first single, “Overload,” and debut album “One Touch,” to much success, although the sales were still considered underwhelming by their label, London Records, who dropped them. Then, with an uncertain future ahead, the first member decided to leave the group…

SIOBHAN DONAGHY

Siobhan Donaghy in 2003
Siobhan Donaghy in 2012

After the ‘babes were dropped by London Records, Siobhan decided to leave the group. Initially Siobhan stated that she wanted to pursue a career in fashion but amid loads of rumors of in-fighting among the group, Siobhan was diagnosed with clinical depression. Eventually, Siobhan did come out and say that she felt that she was forced out of the group by Keisha Buchanan, even calling her “the first bully” in her life. In spite of these issues, though, the first lineup of Sugababes proved quite successful charting four top 40 hits from “One Touch,” including their brilliant first single “Overload.” Check out the video below!

To overcome her depression after leaving the group, Siobhan began writing music with a collaborator on the first Sugababes album, Cameron McVey, and performed initially under the name “Shanghai Nobody,” which is an anagram of Siobhan Donaghy. She released her debut single, “Overrated,” under her own name and scored her first solo top 20 hit. Follow-up single “Twist of Fate” didn’t fare as well, peaking at number 52 on the UK Singles Chart. Her debut album, “Revolution In Me,” also did not fare well, entering the UK Albums Chart at 117. Siobhan released a second solo album in 2007, “Ghosts,” but neither the album or any of it’s singles fared any better than “Revolution In Me,” although they both are quite cherished among Sugababes fans, myself included. Siobhan also made her West End debut in 2007 starring as Mimi in William Baker’s production of “RENT.” Probably my favorite track of Siobhan’s solo career is the title track for her 2007 album, “Ghosts,” the video for which can be seen below.

In researching Siobhan and different images she has portrayed throughout her career, I found a set of promo images for “Revolution In Me,” or at least from around the same period in time, and I absolutely fell in love with them. In the images she had a very messy, grungy red-toned smokey eye and very minimalist makeup on the rest of her face. As soon as I discovered these images I knew that I wanted to recreate the look not only because it is so striking and so different from most things I have featured here on the blog before but also because I really felt like it kind of personified that period in Siobhan’s career, with her struggles with clinical depression and the moody tone of her solo music. I loved this look so much and felt so strongly about it that I decided to film a tutorial for it! Check it out below!

PRODUCTS USED:

FACE:
Clinique Superbalanced Makeup in Bisque
Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Concealer in Fair
Covergirl Clean Pressed Powder in Natural Beige
Covergirl Cheekers Blush in Sierra Sands

EYES:
Glamour Doll Eyes Loose Pigment in Lovers Lane
MAC Crushed Metallic Pigments Summer Stash (pink-toned champagne shade)
Urban Decay Smoked Eye Shadows in Kinky, Barlust and Backdoor
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil in Perversion
L’oreal Voluminous Extra Volume Collagen Mascara in Black Brown
Rimmel London Professional Eyebrow Pencil in Hazel

LIPS:
E.l.f. Matte Lip Color in Nearly Nude

MUTYA BUENA

Mutya Buena in 2006
Mutya Buena in 2012

After Siobhan left the group, she was quickly replaced by a former member of another popular girl group of the time, Atomic Kitten, and the group moved forward with a new label, Island Records, and began to make a much bigger splash in the music industry with their second album, “Angels With Dirty Faces,” scoring their first two number 1 singles, “Freak Like Me,” and, one of my personal favorites, “Round Round,” the video for which can be seen below. The group’s success only grew with the release of their third album, “Three,” and with their growing success came growing controversy. The group were seen by the media as being “moody” and there were tons of tabloid headlines about alleged catfights within the group and they became somewhat known for throwing temper tantrums in the midst of press junkets, etc. There were many rumors about Mutya and Keisha bullying Heidi, all of which were denied, although Mutya did state later that she just didn’t talk to her at all when she first joined the group. During promotion for their fourth album, Mutya became pregnant and following the birth of her daughter, it was announced that she had left the group.

After leaving Sugababes, Mutya signed to Island Records as a solo artist and released an absolutely brilliant record, called “Real Girl.” The video for the title track can be seen below. The first single she released as a solo artist was a duet with George Michael, called “This Is Real Love.” The album featured a number of other big name and brilliant collaborations, including two other singles with Amy Winehouse and dance outfit Groove Armada. The album and it’s singles didn’t sell or chart near as well as expected and Mutya was dropped from the label. She went on to feature on singles from several other artists over the years but never released another solo album, although she contributed 6 tracks to a record called “The Sound of Camden” in 2010, on which she performed toned down versions of rock songs by bands like U2, Radiohead, The Pixies, Iron Maiden, etc. Mutya also appeared on the sixth series of “Celebrity Big Brother” but walked out after surviving eviction, making her the only person to have walked off in the show’s history. In 2010, Mutya announced that she had no more interest in continuing a career in the music industry and stated that she was in the midst of training to become a child psychologist.

This week managed to get away from me a little bit and my time management skills have never been the best in the world, so I kind of ran out of time to complete all of the looks I had planned. So, I decided to do a little recycling. Yes, for my Mutya Buena look, I am recycling a look from a post a few months ago about the breakout stars of British girl groups. This was a look from promotion for Mutya’s “Real Girl” album.

PRODUCTS USED:

FACE:
Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Foundation in Natural Beige
Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Concealer in Fair
Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Protector Finishing Powder in Natural Beige
Covergirl Cheekers Blush in Sierra Sands

EYES:
Urban Decay Naked2 Palette Eye Shadows in Blackout, Foxy and Bootycall
L’oreal Infallible Never Fail Eye Liner in Black
Urban Decay Supercurl Curling Mascara

LIPS:
Tarte Vitamin-Infused Lip Gloss in Serenity

 

KEISHA BUCHANAN

Keisha Buchanan in 2007
Keisha Buchanan in 2012

After the success of the group’s fourth album, “Taller in More Ways,” and their absolutely brilliant single, (and my favorite track of their career,) “Push The Button,” (the video for which can be seen below,) and the controversy surrounding Mutya’s leaving the group, a replacement was brought in and “Taller in More Ways” was re-released with re-recorded versions of many of the album’s tracks with new vocals. The only remaining member of the band was Keisha Buchanan, the alleged “bully” of the group but also kind of the vocal powerhouse of the group. In spite of these changes, the group had reached new heights of fame and released their first greatest hits album, “Overloaded: The Singles Collection,” and released a number one hit collaboration with an even bigger girl group, my beloved Girls Aloud. Still, it seemed at this point that Keisha was beginning to explore her options outside of the group.

Keisha appeared in collaborations with a few other artists, including a track with the gorgeous and ever-popular Jay Sean, but it wasn’t until 2009 that she began actively pursuing a career as a solo artist, following her controversial split from Sugababes. She was said to have recorded upwards of 50 tracks intended for her debut album, however the project was eventually shelved and only one of these tracks have seen the light of day. “Fearless” leaked to the internet in 2011 and showed a lot of promise. Check out a video featuring the song below. At this point, It seemed as though Keisha’s career may have been over.

For my Keisha Buchanan look, I recreated a look that I found from some awards ceremony she attended in 2012. I just really loved the simple, classic look she wore, although I was very disappointed with the lip that I did for this look. It appeared considerably more red in person than in the photo but, regardless, it didn’t come out near as beautiful as Keisha’s in the picture above. In any sense, I was pretty pleased with how the rest of the look came out.

PRODUCTS USED:

FACE:
Covergirl TruBlend Foundation in Natural Beige
Clinique Line Smoothing Concealer in Moderately Fair
Covergirl TruBlend Minerals Loose Powder in Translucent Light
Sedona Lace Contour & Blush Palette (deep contour shade)
Stila Illuminating Finishing Powder in Rose Gold
Stila Convertible Color Dual Lip & Cheek Cream in Orchid

EYES:
Urban Decay Smoked Eye Shadows in Freestyle, Mushroom, Asphalt and Barlust
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil in Perversion
Revlon Grow Luscious by Fabulash Mascara in Blackest Black
Elf Eyebrow Lifter & Filler Pencil in Ivory/Dark

LIPS:
Stila Convertible Color Dual Lip & Cheek Cream in Orchid

HEIDI RANGE

Heidi Range in 2007
Heidi Range in 2012

When Siobhan left the group in 2001, she was replaced quickly with the gorgeous and talented Heidi Range. Heidi was formerly a member of the girl group Atomic Kitten, although she left the group before they actually hit it big. Heidi is the longest-standing member of the current lineup of Sugababes and has been featured on all but their first album, including their fifth studio album, “Change,” which featured one of the band’s biggest singles, “About You Now,” and one of my favorite tracks of their career, and perhaps one of the most relevant tracks of their career, “Change.” The video for “Change” was absolutely stunning and is included below. After the departure of Keisha, Heidi revealed that she and the replacement for Mutya had actually quit the group but their management made the decision to continue with the two of them and find a third member rather than finding two new members to work with Keisha.

Heidi has not actually done any solo music outside of the group, although she stated in 2011 that she was considering recording a solo album. Perhaps her most notable work outside of Sugababes has been her time on the seventh series of the popular British reality program, “Dancing On Ice,” which is, essentially, “Ice Skating With The Stars.” Heidi was paired with professional ice skater Andrei Lipanov and was eliminated at a respectable 7th from the series. Below I have included a clip of Heidi performing on the series.

In researching Heidi’s looks, I stumbled upon a look from an event she attended in 2012, the Tesco Mums of the Year Awards. I just really loved the look and the fact that the eye in the look featured such a gorgeous fusion of warm and cool tones. I also thought Heidi looked absolutely radiant in the images I found from the event and really wanted to try my hand at recreating that look for myself!

PRODUCTS USED:

FACE:
Calvin Klein Infinite Hydration Moisturizing Foundation in Toasted
Clinique Line Smoothing Concealer in Moderately Fair
Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Protector Finishing Powder in Natural Beige
Tarte Mineral Bronzer in Park Avenue Princess
Smashbox Fusion Soft Lights in Tease
Stila Illuminating Finishing Powder in Rose Gold

EYES:
Urban Decay Smoked Eye Shadows in Kinky, Barlust and Blackout
Tarte Mineral Bronzer in Park Avenue Princess
Smashbox Loose Shimmer in Burlesque
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil in Perversion
Revlon Grow Luscious by Fabulash Mascara in Blackest Black
Rimmel London Professional Eyebrow Pencil in Hazel

LIPS:
L’oreal Colour Riche Lipstick in Fairest Nude
Stila Lip Glaze in Ulta-mate Pink

AMELLE BERRABAH

Amelle Berrabah in 2005
Amelle Berrabah in 2009

When Mutya left the group, she was replaced with the lovely and talented Amelle Berrabah. She had only minor brushes with the music industry prior to joining Sugababes having won the Top of the Pop’s “Star Search” and being chose to lead a new girl group that never came into fruition. Once joining the Sugababes, Amelle joined at the height of the group’s success and has been around to experience both the high and low points of the band’s success, including their lowest selling album, (and my personal favorite album of theirs,) “Catfights and Spotlights.” “Catfights and Spotlights” was led off by the group’s brilliant girl power anthem, “Girls,” the video for which can be seen below. The album peaked at number 8 on the UK Albums Chart and only bore one other single, “No Can Do,” which was considered a flop. As a sidenote, being from the US, I did not grow up with Sugababes music as many in the UK have and, in fact, “Catfights and Spotlights,” was the first album of theirs that I heard in full and it remains my favorite to this day.

Like Heidi, Amelle has also not done a whole lot of work as a solo artist, however she did manage a number one hit single outside of the group in her duet with Tinchy Stryder, “Never Leave You,” which is absolutely brilliant. You can check out the video for the song below. Amelle is also said to have begun work on a solo record in 2011 although there is no sign of a release planned any time soon, although one very promising track, “God Won’t Save You Now,” leaked to the internet in 2011.

While researching Amelle’s look, I stumbled upon some pics of a look that I really fell in love with. I am not sure where it is from, although I know it was sometime in 2009 prior to Keisha’s departure from the group, as she was included in these pictures. The thing I love about Amelle’s look in these pics, and in general, is that I think she has the most “me” look of the group. She has a tendency to wear my favorite kind of makeup – it is a little Essex-style and is very focused on glamour, which is my favorite style of makeup to wear on myself.

PRODUCTS USED:

FACE:
Covergirl Clean Foundation in Natural Beige
Clinique Line Smoothing Concealer in Moderately Fair
Covergirl Clean Pressed Powder in Natural Beige
Wet N’ Wild Color Icon Bronzer in Ticket to Brazil
Clinique Blushing Blush in Aglow

EYES:
Urban Decay Naked2 Eye Shadows in Suspect, Tease and Verve
Wet N’ Wild Color Icon Bronzer in Ticket to Brazil
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil in Perversion
L’oreal Voluminous Extra Volume Collagen Mascara in Black Brown
Rimmel London Professional Eyebrow Pencil in Hazel

LIPS:
Tarte Vitamin-Infused Lip Gloss in Serenity

JADE EWEN

Jade Ewen in 2009

Leading up to the release of the group’s seventh studio album, “Sweet 7,” it was announced that Keisha Buchanan would no longer be a part of the group. As I mentioned before, it is said that Heidi and Amelle had quit the group stating that they could no longer work with Keisha. Instead of finding two other members to work alongside Keisha, the group’s management decided instead to remove Keisha from the group and find a new third member to replace her. That new member was Jade Ewen. Jade was the UK’s entry into the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest after winning the series, “Eurovision: Your Country Needs You.” With a new lineup in place, the group had to re-record the vocals on “Sweet 7,” which caused delays in the album’s release. These delays, along with the public outrage over the dismissal of Keisha, caused abysmal sales of “Sweet 7,” and it’s first single, “About A Girl,” which I absolutely adored both with Jade and in the leaked version featuring Keisha’s original vocals. Check out the video for the song below. Once promotion for this record was finished, the group announced a hiatus in 2011 but have been confirmed by both Amelle and Heidi to currently be in the studio working on new music to be released in 2013.

Being the newest member of Sugababes, you would kind of assume that Jade didn’t have much solo work under her belt, however this is not the case. Prior to joining the group, as mentioned above, Jade won the series “Eurovision: Your Country Needs You,” and competed in the Eurovision Song Contest with a gorgeous song called “It’s My Time,” composed by the legendary Andrew Lloyd Webber, (the video for which can be seen below.) Aside from this, though, Jade also had developed a career in songwriting, having written tracks for artists including Jessica Mauboy and the group Booty Luv, as well as having acted in several television series, including “Casualty” and “The Bill.”

For Jade’s look, I found a series of photos taken at a Disney theme park, (I believe Eurodisney,) from shortly after her time in the Eurovision Song Contest and I just felt she looked absolutely stunning in the pics in a really natural, everyday sort of look, although with a little bit of a dark edge. I found this look stunning, and also wanted to share some of my tips for doing makeup in a rush, so I actually filmed a second tutorial for the week for this look!

PRODUCTS USED:

FACE:
Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream in Light/Medium
Clinique Line Smoothing Concealer in Moderately Fair
Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Protector Finishing Powder in Natural Beige
Tarte Mineral Bronzer in Park Avenue Princess
Clinique Blushing Blush in Aglow

EYES:
Urban Decay Smoked Eye Shadows in Freestyle, Mushroom and Blackout
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil in Perversion
L’oreal Voluminous Extra Volume Collagen Mascara in Black Brown
Rimmel London Professional Eyebrow Pencil in Hazel

LIPS:
Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Lip Balm Stain in Honey

MUTYA KEISHA SIOBHAN

Mutya Keisha Siobhan 2012

In April 2012, further solidifying 2012 as “The Year Of The Comeback,” news broke of a million pound contract having been signed with Polydor Records by none other than Mutya Buena, Keisha Buchanan and Siobhan Donaghy – the full original lineup of Sugababes. Unfortunately, in spite of the name having been made up by the group’s members, they are no longer allowed to record under the name Sugababes. So, a new group has been formed – Mutya Keisha Siobhan, or MKS. They have announced that they are currently in the studio and have plans to release new music by the end of the 2012.

SUGABABES 4.0

Jade Ewen, Amelle Berrabah and Heidi Range as the Sugababes current lineup in 2012

With the original group reformed, the question remains: Is there room in the world of British Pop Music for two groups of Sugababes? With the current lineup set to release new music under the name Sugababes in 2013, only time will tell.

So, all of that was pretty confusing, right? Well, this random guy on YouTube created the hilarious and brilliant “Idiot’s Guide to the Sugababes” to help clear it all up for us all!

Like I said above, Sugababes have been a real force to be reckoned with in British Pop Music and it is so fascinating to me that, in all their lineup changes, they have managed to wind up forming two separate groups. It’s kind of like a really nice ending for every individual member involved – everybody winds up in one group or the other! You can’t make sh#t like this up! In any sense, I am also really excited that I managed to get this up while it was technically still Friday – for another 17 minutes! lol. Anyway, I wish you all a beautiful weekend and a beautiful life!

Jason

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