By Leonie O’Connor
With the roaring success of Tinchy Stryder, Tinie Tempah and co., it’s clear that UK is definitely making its mark on the music scene. But hold up boys; the ladies are back in town. This autumn looks set to cap a great year for female talent with the likes of Terri Walker, Jamelia, Estelle and Keisha Buchanan all gearing up to release new material to much anticipation. Not only do these females have talent to burn, but they all have one thing in common: their resilience. Having to contend with tabloid scandals (Keisha/Sugababe gate anyone?), marital problems and lacklustre record sales, they’ve dusted off their shoulders and are ready to strut confidently back onto centre stage. So let’s take a look at what they have in store.
Estelle continues her American dream
Estelle is the undisputed comeback queen. Remember when she came out with the anthemic ‘1980’ a summer jam that’s still a classic to this day? The singer/emcee then hooked up with Megaman of So Solid and pop band 3SL (haven’t heard of them either) and was riding high off the buzz of her hit single with many a publication touting her as the British Lauryn Hill. But then things went quiet. So much so that her record company got itchy feet and as a consequence they parted ways. But rather than bury her head in the sand, Stelly got to work, relocating to NYC and hooking up with John Legend who signed her to his Homeschool label. The gamble paid off when American Boy dropped in 2008 catapulting the Londoner to worldwide fame. The single broke into the top ten worldwide and was nominated for Song of the Year at the Grammies. Estelle has not only been recording music but also dabbling in fashion, collaborating on a jewellery line with designer Rachel Roy. Currently working on her third album, ‘All of Me’ and enlisting the help of Swizz Beatz and Travis McCoy, she released a buzz single ‘Freak’ featuring Kardinal Offishall; showing off a more experimental side of her personality. The singer recently released the official lead single of the album, ‘Fall in Love’ with two videos; one featuring John Legend and the other with Nas. The album is expected to come out at the end of the year.
The Tremendous Ms Terri
Everybody remembers Terri Walker, the bubbly chanteuse who burst onto the scene in 2003 with her debut album ‘Untitled‘. Singles such as Ching Ching (Lovin you Still) and Guess You Didn’t Love Me became instant classics granting her a dedicated fan base who fell in love with her soulful voice, relatable lyrics and infectious personality. Although a firm favourite on the underground R&B scene, Terri’s albums didn’t fare too well in the charts and she dropped off the radar in 2006 following the release of third album. Far from resting on her laurels, the British songstress has kept herself busy. She has lent her vocals to heavyweight musicians such as Duran Duran, Jamie Callum and Nas as well featuring on the Sex and the City 2 soundtrack, with a song entitled ‘Hey Baby’. This time around, Mz Walker is taking no prisoners, having been signed to Damon Dash’s new label, Blue Roc and enlisting the help of super producer Ski Beats to place her firmly on the UK charts. Describing her new album as being more Hip-Hop orientated, Walker will be collaborating with Hip-Hop acts both here and in the US. A teaser single, Understanding, was recently released by Ski Beatz, showing that Terri hasn’t lost her edge.
Speaking of edge, Jamelia is also set for a comeback, following a brief hiatus from the music biz, which saw her have another child, get married and divorced, while picking up a few modelling gigs along the way. Not content with trying to emulate Naomi Campbell’s supermodel stardom, Jamelia has returned to her first true love: music. The singer enjoyed notable success with her second album ‘Thank You’, which spawned the hit ‘Superstar’, which reached number two on the national charts. After the release of her third album, the critically acclaimed but poorly performed ‘Walk with Me’, Jamelia left her record company, although some refer to her single ‘Beware of the Dog’ as one of the best of her career. In June, Jamelia announced that she was about to sign with a new record company and although she filmed the signing on Ustream, she kept the name a secret, until revealing that she was now a part of All Around the World/Universal; home to the massively successful N Dubz and relatively successful Dannii Minogue. Look out for a warm up single this autumn.
Keisha Buchanan: going it alone
Another songstress ready to set her stiletto clad foot in the charts this year is Keisha Buchanan. One third of the highly successful Sugababes, Buchanan was dramatically booted out of the group last year with remaining members Amelle Berrabah and Heidi Range opting to re-form (yet again) drafting in Eurovision contestant Jade Ewen to fill Keisha’s spot. Taking to twitter is the norm nowadays, and Keisha didn’t hesitate to give her side of the story, announcing that she was no longer a part of the group that she helped form and would be concentrating on carving out a solo career. Not one to let bad times get her down, Keisha threw herself into the studio, occasionally popping up on Twitter to assure her fans that she was hard at work writing and recording. Describing her solo debut as ‘cool, with an old-school vibe’, Keisha’s also quick to point out that she’s not aiming to stray too far from the Sugababe sound that she perfected over the years. Leaked track ‘Fearless’ produced by Davinche showcases a rockier, stronger edge to Keisha’s voice and no doubt the song is based a thinly veiled reference to all of the Sugababe’s drama. Keisha’s debut solo album is set to be released later this year/early next year, but in the meantime look out for her on Strictly Come Dancing as she’s rumored to be one of the contestants (well it worked for Alesha Dixon…). which should be interesting.
So there you have it. Four beautiful and extremely talented ladies set to make a return to the charts. Looks like the race for the Christmas number one just got stiffer