After bursting back into our lives last year with the infectious 'Go To Work', the Nadine Coyle solo train is officially gathering steam with the release of her equally anthemic new single 'Girls On Fire'.
Forget what Cheryl, Nicola and co. have released over the years: Nadine's blistering brand of pop is closest you'll get to the iconic off-the-wall sound that Girls Aloud cultivated so expertly during their 10 years together - which is just as well considering that some of the band's staple classics will be getting a long overdue showing on stage alongside Nadine's new solo material when the 32-year-old tours the UK and Ireland in May.
As gay men across the country add 'Girls On Fire' to their pre-Saturday night playlists, Attitude's Will Stroude caught up with Nadine to find out more about her upcoming EP, which Girls Aloud tracks definitely won't be getting another airing this spring, and why she might just end up becoming the "new Kris Jenner"...
Hi Nadine! You must be having a very busy week – how’s it all going?
It’s going really good! I try not to think about it because you can get yourself overexcited.
‘Girls On Fire’ is out today, we’ve got the EP coming and now you’ve announced a tour – how long have you been sitting on all this news?
It’s been a while! The plan was also to do ‘Go To Work’, get everything back up and going again and reintroduce. ‘Girls On Fire’ is bit heavier - when you hear it first you go ‘What on earth is she doing?!’ It comes nicely after ‘Go To Work’ I think. And the tour is something I always really love doing, so it was natural to just go back into that. Get back on stage, strut around - why not?!
As you say, ‘Girls On Fire’ is definitely a bold choice of single. What was the inspiration behind it?
Well ‘Girls On Fire’ is very, very sassy. It’s very much, ‘We can do whatever we want’, speaking from a position of power. I don’t like to write or be involved with songs that make anybody a victim. No victims around here! So we’ve made something that’s really powerful. When you’re listening to it, it can make your heart speed up, like you’ve had too much coffee. It’s one of those songs. It’s a really belter too, you’ve got to really clear your throat and get ready. I just want people to hear it and enjoy it.
You’ve been working with old Girls Aloud producers like Xenomania – are ‘Go To Work’ and ‘Girls On Fire’ indicative of what we can expect from the EP?
Well I do really enjoy that upbeat, energetic stuff, but there’s another song on the EP called ‘Gossip’ which is really, really laidback. It’s completely different to ‘Go to Work’ or ‘Girls On Fire’. It’s surprising. There’re a lot of different types of music and styles that are still to come but the plan [with] the songs we have, we just put them out periodically. There’s no set time, just when it feels right. There should be lots more singles before the end of the year.
How have you gone about deciding which Girls Aloud songs you’d be performing on tour? Is it fan faves or your own faves?
Well it’s great that now the fans know I’m going on tour there’s loads of requests, and each time a song’s mentioned I’m like ‘Maybe I should do that one!’ So I’ll definitely be seeing what people want, and if something’s coming up again and again the I just have to add it to the set. But really it’s just about which ones work really well and sound the best with just one voice.
I’m sure you love them all equally like they’re your children, but I have to ask: which of the group’s songs would you categorically not want to perform?
Um, the one that jumps out is probably ‘No Good Advice’ – and I liked it, I really like that song. It’s only because I didn’t like my dress in the video. It’s put me off the entire thing. But really I don’t think there’s any songs… Ok yes, you remember that huge mistake we made of doing ‘Beautiful ‘Cause you Love Me’? That one would most certainly not make it. I just don’t like it! Like, I’m beautiful anyway and so is everybody else, not just 'cos you say so. It’s cos I say so! I didn’t even sing on that song because I really didn’t like it [laughs]. So that one.
Does performing Girls Aloud tracks on your own present any challenges? Do you remember everybody else’s lyrics?!
Well I done a show last week in Birmingham and I’d done ‘Biology’, and when I started rehearsing it I thought ‘Let me see if I can remember the lyrics just from memory’ - and I could for the most part, but there’s that ‘closer’ part and I was like ‘What on earth are we saying?!’ But once you know the words it all starts rushing back. And even the choreography; it’s amazing how things stick in your mind.
Your daughter is four now, which I couldn’t believe. Is she getting to an age where she knows that mum’s a pop star?
Well she knows this ‘work’ concept, so she’ll be like ‘Bye mummy, I’m going to work’, and she’ll head off under the kitchen table for a few minutes and then come back. But a lot of the shows I do are late at night, and a lot of the things I’m doing she wouldn’t enjoy – yet! But we sing and mess around the house.
The musical talent is in her blood then?
Oh she loves to sing. We were just making up songs earlier. I was like ‘this is really good!’
Can’t wait for her to join the hottest new girl group of 2028.
Wouldn’t it be brilliant? I would be the momager from hell. I would be like Kris Jenner [laughs]. The new Kris Jenner!
What would your advice be were she actually to get into the entertainment industry?
I think it’s a great industry to be a part of. And I don’t know if I’ve just been one of the lucky ones of if other people I’ve spoken to have just been unlucky. But to be able to sing and do these things that are so out of the norm, it’s such a privilege. Anybody that wants to do it, I think they should do it. It’s about finding your niche. We’re not all going to be Mariah or Beyoncé but we can all be our best selves.
All of Girls Aloud are doing their own thing right now, and we saw Sarah win Celebrity Big Brother last summer – did you manage to keep up with it?
Yes I made it my business to catch it! I was like ‘Oh my god, I have to see what’s going on here’. And I was just so pleased for her. We had a huge celebration in the house when she won. I thought it was great for her. I was really, really happy.
Would you ever consider going on CBB yourself?
No I’d never consider it. It’s not what I would call a fun time!
When you announced the tour there seemed to be a lot of people saying you were trying to do a Girls Aloud reunion without the other girls – what did you make of that?
[Groans] That was hilarious. It’s a natural thing if you’ve been part of a band for however long to do some of the band’s hits. I know if Alesha Dixon’s doing something she’ll always do Mysteeq, or Ronan Keating will always do Boyzone – it doesn’t mean he’s reuniting Boyzone just [by] himself! Beyoncé does Destiny’s Child, and all the girls from Girls Aloud have done Girls Aloud tracks. It seems like a shame not to use them when they’re so good live. But it is hilarious how things can be made into this whole thing.
Obviously we have had another iconic group reunite this week in the Spice Girls. Does seeing that give you hope that you and the rest of the girls might still reunite again one day in some capacity.
Oh it could always be possible. We had stopped working for a while and then we done that last tour together, so it’s always something that’s possible.
Would it have to be all five of you? Obviously we’ve seen some groups do partial reunions.
Um, yeah you’d want it to be all in or all out. If it’s just a couple [of us], because then it’s not Girls Aloud, it’s some other strange reunion going on singing Girls Aloud songs. I mean, each to their own, whatever anybody wants to do, it’s always great to go on stage and perform those songs. So we’ll see. – it’s 15 years we’ve been together now.
My friend Anthony is coming to see you on tour and he wants to dress as the wasp that infamously attacked you on stage at V Festival in 2008. Is dressing up something you encourage?
Oh I’d love that. [Fans] always remind me of [those] moments. I remember going on stage and there was this wasp flying around the mic as I was trying to sing, getting closer and closer… And you don’t think about it at the time, but people remind you and you’re like ‘Actually that was really funny!’ But yes, I would like to encourage people to come dressed as whoever or whatever you want. But I will look out for Anthony dressed as the wasp. [laughs]
You’re based back in London now that you’re working on solo music again – where have you been spending time while you’re here?
I found myself in [Soho gay bar] Freedom a month or two ago – a late night Freedom experience, which I hadn’t done in years! It was me and a friend, one of the Girls Aloud dancers, and we were like ‘Are we 19 again? Are we even legal to be in here?’ It was wasn’t a good day the next day but it was a good night.
Well you’re no stranger to bar life having owned Nadine’s Irish Mist in LA – would you ever consider opening something in London? Maybe your own Freedom-esque drag bar in Soho.
Well that would be way more exciting than just a regular bar! I would much prefer that. And if I was going to do something it would definitely be something around that area. But I’ll wait until this has all calmed down a wee bit [laughs].
'Girls On Fire' is out now. Nadine tours the UK and Ireland in May.
Tickets are on sale from Friday 9 February and you can check out the full list of dates below:
10 May - Glasgow O2 ABC
11 May - Birmingham O2 Institute
13 May - Manchester O2 Ritz
14 May - Bristol O2 Academy
15 May - London O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire
19 May - Dublin Olympic
20 May - Belfat Limelight
Interview: Will Stroude