This quote is a bit of a scream.

Eventually, Beese says, he “realised what success looked like from a record company point of view and that I needed to have some hits”. Enter three young pop wannabes in the form of the Sugababes.

Mutya Buena and Keisha Buchanan had already released a critically acclaimed, but under-performing album on London before splitting from original member Siobhan Donaghy and recruiting Heidi Range. Beese signed them to Island and masterminded the 2002 Freak Like Me single, which went straight to No.1. Beese had his elusive hit.

“That’s when I could actually call myself an A&R person,” he grins. “It was validation because of all the misses that I had, that I could get it right – and get it right with a No.1 record. Having a No.1 with Freak Like Me, the type of record that it was, set the bar for me. And for that I thank the madness that was the Sugababes. I thank all of them…”

And there were a lot of them!

“Yes, but no matter what the drama was, when they put out great records, that dictated everything,” he says. “I mean, it was a nightmare! You had three different, inexperienced opinions and I was still inexperienced at managing that madness. And every hit song we made with the Sugababes, they hated. You were always in conflict, but you learned skills that, later on down the line, still hold you in good stead. If you can manage the Sugababes you can manage most things!”

Despite the chaos, and multiple line-up changes, the Sugababes delivered four platinum-plus albums in succession for Island, and Beese was up and running as a hitmaker.
This conversation made me re-listen to the Catfights album in full for the first time in awhile, and I do actually enjoy the album. I find Keisha's comment interesting about it 'not being for them' - I guess the group wanted to stick to the more electropop direction they had been going in with Taller and Change, so the sudden switchup to the Motown-y and more organic sound didn't feel authentic at the time?

I think a lot of the tracks are still very good -especially the ballads. "Sunday Rain" and "Sound of Goodbye" remain two of my favorite Sugababes ballads!


Staff member
Catfights is great. For me its only crime is almost making it a concept album, and then having one or two tracks ruin that concept (though I love Sidechick). Maybe making the whole album Motown-y might have been too gimmicky but it's like 80% there now.
Tagging on the Taio song and About You Now acoustic also was a choice.


Staff member
Beese signed them to Island and masterminded the 2002 Freak Like Me single, which went straight to No.1. Beese had his elusive hit.

What kind of fairytales is this guy telling because Richard X was the mastermind behind the song and getting the girls on the official version after the success of the mashup....
Regarding Change and C+S: I'm with Keisha and Darcus:

Thank you for posting this.

I love reading all about Keisha’s vision. I think that Keisha’s ethic, passion and the way she wanted the group to go with is what made 3.0 eventually split up. I’m not denying Heidi’s and Amelle’s contributions to the group, but it’s clear that for Keisha this has always been way more than a simple job. And this is why things as they are now is how things should be. It’s not only about the hits and the success, it’s about their vision and the artistic project that is called Sugababes.
Just rewatching parts of the Catfights and Spotlights documentary and it's funny how much Keisha mentioned Siobhan around this time. It's not like it was 'a lot,' but considering before there was barely any mention of her it seems that maybe she was reminiscing the journey of the group. I remember lots of people noticed when she included her in the album thank yous.
I saw this at the time as a blatant legimitation of Amelle's presence in the Sugababes, as each girl supposedly would bring something new to the Sugababes sound. It felt insincere that Keisha would suddenly give credits to 'the other girl'.

But I'm really happy now that Heidi's and Amelle's past contribution to the Sugababes is acknowledged. I guess MKS can't get around performing all the classic songs with this line up. And luckily they're creating new music instead of re-recording the older hits. That would be a snub to Heidi and Amelle.