Keisha Buchanan is the last original Sugababe after Siobhan Donaghy was replaced by Heidi Range and Mutya Buena by Amelle Berrabah. Change, the band's fifth album, is about to be released, while their single, About You Now, is out on Monday. Keisha will be at the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust's Gift of Life ball on Saturday (www.aclt.org).
You’re about to release your sixth album. Are you surprised the group have lasted this long?
No. We’ve achieved a lot but we’re only halfway there and we have something to prove.
When did you realise you were famous?
I’d be on the bus when I was 16 and people would say: ‘That’s the girl from that Gap video’ – people said the Overload video looked like a Gap ad. Everything is so laid back in London that people aren’t going to chase you down the street. If you’re going to hang around at 3pm outside a school you might be surrounded. But I go shopping on my own and do regular things without anyone bothering me.
What’s the most ridiculous promotional thing you’ve done?
We did a lot of teenage magazines where we had to get dressed up as horses or fruit – I was an apple once. The Saturday morning shows were a lot of fun too. Everyone was jumping in gunk together and having a laugh.
You are the senior Sugababe now. Does that mean you have special privileges?
No, everyone thinks that, but I don’t. We all write and we’ve all helped produce tracks. Everyone has input. The only difference is that I’ve experienced the group from the beginning. I haven’t had a normal life like Heidi and Amelle. I’ve been doing this since I was 13 but I don’t call the shots, it’s a team effort.
Do you worry that you’ll be replaced one day?
No, I doubt that will happen. It would be like a totally different band and quite weird. We’ll keep on doing it as long as we’re happy. I’ve never thought about leaving the Sugababes.
Siobhan was offered a solo contract. Me and Mutya were told we’d never amount to anything
Siobhan said she left because you didn’t like each other. Are you difficult to get on with?
We were 13 at the time and the producers had their favourites of who they wanted to sing. Mutya’s parents were heavily involved as well. Their daughter was the lead singer. I was the second singer and Siobhan would get a vocal where they had space for her. It was totally unfair. We were played off against each other.
How do you mean?
Siobhan resented me because I was Mutya’s friend and I always got to sing. Now that I’m older I can see why she’d feel that way but, at 13, you just do what the producer wants. The truth is Siobhan got offered a solo contract and me and Mutya got sent a letter saying we’d never amount to anything.
Then stories started that me and Mutya had been bullying her that she never confirmed or denied, which upset us. I sent Siobhan a MySpace message and she ignored it, which is fine. I was upset to read interviews with her saying I bullied her and that she and Mutya are suddenly the best of friends. I think she has an issue with whoever is left in the Sugababes. After everything Siobhan put us through, I was hoping Mutya might have said: ‘Don’t you think this is a bit unfair on Keisha?’ but obviously that conversation hasn’t happened. I wish her the best of luck though. She’s an amazing songwriter. I bought Mutya’s album too.
That’s very gracious of you.
I don’t hate anyone, you know.
Did it damage your careers to be thought of as a pair of bitchy, stroppy girls?
It’s hard because you have to justify everything you do. We decided during the Push The Button campaign we’d go out and meet the journalists who’d been writing things about us. That changed their opinion. We know we’re good people, that’s important.
Did you really threaten to sack Amelle unless she chucked her boyfriend?
No, it’s such a load of crap. It’s a bit conniving to do something like that behind someone’s back and we’d never do it because it’s not in our nature. We’re cool. Everything’s fine.
Why are you supporting this leukemia campaign?
We were asked to help raise money for a boy called Keiton Knight. It was a one in 100,000 chance he'd find a match from a black or mixed race donor. They didn't find a donor in time and he died. He was only 6 years old. It was heart breaking. So I'll help campaigns like this whenever I can.
Do you own your own Sugababes doll?
I took two home and they were attacked by my little cousins so I don't have one myself.
What's been your most extravagant purchase?
My money goes into investing. We've all bought houses. We have nice cars though. I've got a convertible Beetle. The roof comes off and it had cream leather seats so I got that. Heidi's got a convertible mini and Amelle has an SLK.