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.