Keisha Buchanan (b. 30 September 1984, London, England), Mutya Buena (b. Rosa Isabel Mutya Buena, 21 May 1985, London, England) and Siobhan Donaghy (b. 14 June 1984, London, England) created something of a stir on the UK music scene by co-writing and performing one of 2000's finest singles, the urban pop classic "Overload". Childhood friends Buchanan and Buena, of Jamaican and Filipina descent respectively, grew up together in London, England. They met third member Donaghy at a party when they were 13. The three girls were soon singing together and within a couple of years had been snapped up by London Records. Enlisting the songwriting help of Cameron McVey brought about inevitable comparisons to label mates All Saints, but to their credit the trio refused to cash in on the connection to their illustrious peers. Indeed, the Top 10 success of "Overload" was achieved on the strength of radio play rather than the saturation media coverage lavished on disposable record company creations such as Precious and Girl Thing. The trio's genuine talent was demonstrated on the largely self-written One Touch, an impressive fusion of contemporary urban beats and classic soul vocals.
A difficult 2001 saw the group dropped by London Records after disappointing sales of One Touch, and Donaghy replaced by Heidi Range (b. 23 May 1983, Liverpool, Merseyside, England). The revamped trio signed a new recording contract with Universal Island in November and began pursuing a more commercially-orientated sound. Their image also became notably sexualised and fashion-orientated. In May 2002 the Sugababes topped the UK charts with their cover of the Girls On Top "bootleg" hit "Freak Like Me", a combination of the Adina Howard song and Tubeway Army's "Are Friends Electric?". The trio returned to the top of the UK charts in August with the classy "Round Round" (recorded with leading UK pop production house Xenomania) and released their second album Angels With Dirty Faces.
Founding member Siobhan Donaghy launched her solo career in June 2003 with the spiky pop rock single, "Overrated", but failed to replicate the commercial success of her former bandmates who returned to the top of the UK charts in November with the Xenomania production "Hole In The Head". The single also enjoyed success on the US Dance Chart and reached the lower regions of the mainstream pop listings. The second single, the Diane Warren ballad "Too Lost In You" was prominently featured in the UK movie Love Actually. Further UK hits from the trio's third album included "In The Middle" and "Caught In A Moment".
The Sugababes were largely absent from the music scene over the next two years. Buena gave birth to a daughter, Tahlila, in March 2005. Later in the year the trio returned to the stage to perform at the Edinburgh Live 8 concert. Their new single "Push The Button" topped the UK charts for several weeks in October. Buena announced her departure from the group two months later. She was replaced by Amelle Berrabah (b. 22 April 1984, Aldershot, Hampshire, England).
DISCOGRAPHY: One Touch (London 2000)***, Angels With Dirty Faces (Island 2002)***, Three (Island 2003)***, Taller In More Ways (Island 2005)***.
Solo: Siobhan Donaghy Revolution In Me (London 2003)***.
COMPILATIONS: Overloaded: The Singles Collection (Island 2006)****.
VIDEOGRAPHY: Overloaded: The Singles Collection (Universal 2006).
Encyclopedia of Popular Music
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