Wonderland.

Nadine Coyle

As she makes her musical comeback, a chat with the Girls Aloud alumna.

Coat ZEYNEP KARTAL

Girls Aloud’s impressive body of work has long been part of the pop canon, still dominating the playlists of millennials across the UK in 2017 (we’ve all been under the DJ booth screaming for “Love Machine”, right?). Their debut single, 2002’s banger “Sound of the Underground” continues to be considered a brit-pop game changer, and despite the group splitting four years ago, the gals are still very much in demand (I mean, Sarah just won CBB!)

Thankfully, Nadine Coyle is on hand to serve up some new tunes to fill our aural Girls Aloud fix, teaming up with Brian Higgins (who was basically responsible for all your fave GA jams) on her upcoming single, “Go To Work.” For the past two years she’s been writing new material, exploring her new found “soulful” voice.

Ahead tomorrow’s drop (the single lands 8 September), we caught up with Nadine to discuss the evolution of her sound, her relationship with her Girls Aloud bandmates, and the power of the potato… (yes seriously!)

Dress ARTHUR ARBESSER x YOOX

How has your summer been? What have you been up to?

I went to Spain a few times. I love Spain! And being in London you hop on a plane to Europe and you’re there! There’s this beautiful part, my parents actually took us there when we were kids and I was searching the world for this beach and it was in my mind and I thought it must have just been in my memory, but it turns out, it exists and it’s in Spain and I love it!

Nice. So you’ve just signed with Virgin EMI, how does that feel?

Surreal, completely surreal! I’ve got the chance to do it before and I’ve got the chance to do it again. It brings a tear to my eye, everybody is so good and so amazing that I just feel really really really fortunate.

You’ve had a bit of time away from music, how does it feel coming back to it?

To be a singer you can just walk around the house and sing, you don’t have to be in a studio or on a stage. [It’s] something I’ve always loved to do. [I’m] working with Brian Higgins again, who did all of the Girls Aloud stuff.

You must have a great working relationship with him!

I met Brian when I was 17, we’ve done every Girls Aloud song ever really, all of our singles have all been Brian, he knows how to push me and we just have a great way of working together. I love the challenge with different tunes.

Considering your time away, do you feel nervous or excited about coming back?

I feel excited because it’s one of those really odd things where it’s so out there, like oh my god, you shoot a video, you do photo shoots, you do all these things, it’s such an exciting job that I’m really really happy to be back and I’m really happy to be here and I’m really happy to have all the people here and have these opportunities.

What can we expect to hear? What’s the sound that you’re going for?

The sound is definitely pop. I’m all about the pop! My voice has changed a bit since before, so it’s a bit more soulful, soulful melodies, but just fun, the whole thing! What you can expect is to get up and be dancing and be able to put it on and hopefully feel energised and in a better mood, that’s the hope, that’s what we’re really going for, fun times!

(LEFT) All clothing MIU MIU
(RIGHT) Top TEMPERLEY

So, are you working on a full album right now or just an EP?

We have so many songs; Brian and I have been working for a year and a half, two years, so to say how many songs, pushing 100. So you can just pick out the best ones. “Go To Work” just fitted.

Tell me a bit about what the first single.

The first single was written because there’s so many love songs like either “I love you so much” or “you broke my heart”. This was none of those things whatsoever. This was [about] a thing that people do to get on your nerves. They don’t get up out of bed, they don’t want to get up, they don’t want to do anything for you, they just want to sit there and do nothing, so this is a song about that, being annoyed! “Why don’t you go to work, why don’t you just do it, what is wrong with you, go do it, I’m sick of looking at you and dealing with you.” That’s what its about.

How does being solo compare to being in a band?

Everything goes much quicker, everything definitely is much faster, it’s the main difference because if this [shoot] had been [with] the rest of the girls, it would have been four other people having to do exactly the same thing that I’ve just done, so everything just takes longer; four hair and makeup! Apart from that, I’m with a different branch of Universal, the team’s different but the producers [are] the same, the music is music that I love. I love the Girls Aloud music.

Do you keep up with what the other girls are up to?

I do yeah, as much as I can. What do I know? I’m sure I know as much as you know, or anybody would know.

With Girls Aloud and other disbanded girl groups, the press have this tendency to latch on to rivalry and fall-outs that occur after the band has ended, how do you handle that press and attention?

I think it was more difficult when we were in the band together because from the very start, basically 2002 when “Sound of the Underground” was out, there was a huge story that I was going solo. I was like “sorry what?” It took a long time to get in. [I was] so so happy in the position of the band, I would have never wanted to start off as a solo artist and it just comes part and parcel. People would be looking and they’d be like “are they talking or are they not talking| and like “oh I’m sure I saw someone giving somebody a dirty look”.

(LEFT) Coat FENDI, dress ARTHUR ARBESSER x YOOX
(RIGHT) All clothing SKIIM

It’s almost like they want you to hate each other.

Yeah, it’s way more fun. It’s way more interesting. It’s more entertaining if there’s a bit of drama going on.

Do you think you’d ever get back together, if there was an opportunity for a reunion?

I would never say never, definitely.

Has it ever been discussed?

Well I didn’t really want the band to split up in the first place so if it had have been my choice, we still would have been doing stuff together… but it wasn’t my choice and we find ourselves here, so I’m just making the most of it. Making the most of the most of the situation which has turned out to be something I’m really enjoying.

And dreams for the situation?

To stay alive. Huge one! I mean you want to set up a life for yourself that is sustainable, that you can spend time with the people that you love and spend time doing things that you love, and really it’s important as much as everyone can to navigate their lives towards that and work is work for everybody, so you have to go to work, so I hope that I can keep doing things that I love and really enjoy doing.

My final question, what have you got lined up over the next few months?

I have the single coming out, more photoshoots, interviews, performances.

Back on the stage! Do you have any rituals?

It changes all the time. It’s usually what I do on the first night. I got into this habit of doing 10 press ups in the costume and because I did it on the first night I had to do it every night, or if you play a certain song and the show’s good, then I have to play it. I get superstitious like that. I always have to have some form of potato, either chips or mashed potato or roast potatoes on a show day. I’ve done that for 10 years.

Does it work?

It gives you the energy that you need! Some people believe in juices, I believe always in potatoes.

On that note, we’ll leave it there!

“Go To Work” is released 8 September.

Photography
Bartek Szmigulski
Fashion
Kamran Rajput
Words
Ryan Cahill
Makeup
Bea Sweet at LMC Worldwide
Hair
Stefan Bertin at Frank
Nails
Emma Welsh at Frank
Nadine Coyle

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