In their ten years together, Girls Aloud reshaped the template of what a pop band could be.

Like all great bands before them, they felt like a unit and maintained a sense of fun in everything they released. Yet, what made them stand out amongst their peers was their consistent delivery of substance, as well as style. In many ways, the songwriting and production team Xenomania, founded by Brian Higgins, whom they collaborated with on every album (notably Chemistry, Tangled Up and Out Of Control) were essential to the band’s DNA. They created the glistening perfection of ‘Call The Shots’, the dizzying rush of ‘Biology’ to their sweeping six-minute opus ‘Untouchable’. The long-standing relationship with Higgins helped them spearhead mainstream charts with daring and unconventional pop. So, when the quintet announced that they had reached their conclusion as a band, the world of pop shrunk with disappointment.

Last year, Coyle announced that she signed a record deal with Virgin/EMI to start a new chapter in her career and reunited with Brian Higgins to make new music. Picking up where they left off, the two have a singular vision: delivering great pop songs. Andrew Darley spoke to the Nadine about how she is determined to follow her own impulses and what to expect from her new music and tour.


How did you come to work with Brian Higgins and Xenomania again? Did you feel you had unfinished business?

No, not really! Brian and I had always kept in touch. I got into my car one night and there was really good music on. I was like “Who does music like this? Oh, Brian Higgins!”. I text him and he text back straight away with “I’ve been trying to get hold of you! Have you changed your number?”. I was back in London and I wasn’t using my American phone anymore. That was it; we met up and got back in the studio.

Since there’s been a break between this EP and your solo debut, do you see it as a new chapter?

I think when you’re writing songs, the beauty of it is that depending on where you’re at and your headspace, they all sound different because you’re in a different place in your life. Some songs I write can be really happy and upbeat and then there’s other songs where I think. "What mood was I in that day?” because it’s so dark!

With those darker moments, is there a fine line between what you want to say and what you feel people want to hear?

Even with Girls Aloud, we never had the attitude “Let’s make this song because this is what people want to hear.” If you’re thinking that then you’re going to try and sound like Ed Sheeran. There’s enough people trying to do that. You have to go with what feels right and what you, as an artist or a singer, feel a connection with rather than what’s all over the radio. You could be years following other people and then you’re just an Ed Sheeran or Adele tribute act.

During Girls Aloud, Xenomania were always regarded for their unconventional song arrangements and quirky lyrics. Was that something you wanted for your new solo music?

Again, it’s whatever feels right. There’s some parts we do together and then Brian puts them together in all sorts of different ways. The first time you hear a version is always completely different to the actual version we end up with. We have so many versions floating around and it’s just whichever one flows better. At the last minute Brian could say “Oh no, I want this but on there!”. With ‘Girls On Fire’ the “We come, We come out of nowhere” (sings) part was thrown in at the last minute and I really, really like it!

It sounds like he’s a bit of a perfectionist?

Yes, he is. He listens to things thousands of times.

Do you work in the same way?

When I’m doing the singing parts or any studio stuff, I am a perfectionist. I’ve always been like that; I don’t take a drink of water, I don’t stop for a break, I don’t look at my phone. I sing for four, five, six hours non-stop. By the end of it, I’m completely wired. I’m like some mad eejit who can’t hold a conversation because my mind is running so fast. After that, I can walk away and Brian can take over and start pulling bits apart and putting them together.

How did you choose the four songs that make up the EP?

It was really difficult. It was more about which ones I really liked and we decided to put them together to put it out. Even though I’ve been doing this for a long time, I’m a brand new artist doing it myself and this is a new venture with Virgin/EMI. We’re just trying to get as many songs out there as possible. We’re going to release the EP and then keep putting songs out after it.

It sounds quite liberating that you can just release music if and when you want to, rather than waiting for twelve songs to come together to form an album.

You’re exactly right. Nobody has to go and get them pressed onto CDs and getting shelf space in shops which was a huge thing when I first began. Now it’s much easier – it’s an upload!

I imagine with the old format between the time you record something and when it’s released, it could be two years and you’ve probably mentally moved on from it.

Absolutely and then you’re out promoting it, thinking “What was that about?”. We work pretty fast now in getting the music out.

I’m sure you’re sick of being asked if Girls Aloud will get back together but I’m curious since it’s you and Brian Higgins working together. Do you think the music you’re making now might resemble what Girls Aloud would sound like if they were to pick up where they left off?

It’s hard to say because how we came about with Girls Aloud songs is the same way that me and Brian do it now. He would come to LA or I would go to him. We would do demos of the songs and they would choose which ones to finish off to make singles. The girls would then come in and sing their parts. So it’s basically exactly the same. Any of these songs could’ve been the next Girls Aloud single.

In terms of the tour, which you’ll be singing Girls Aloud songs as well as your solo stuff, is there any part of a song that you’ve always wanted to sing but was somebody else’s in the band?

There’s a couple versions of ‘Something New’ that are demos of just me doing it and some of the parts are really, really good. There’s the Girls Aloud songs that we all know and love but there’s other demos that I did that have other sections that we’ll probably use. There will be Girls Aloud songs with brand new parts in them.

Will you play ‘Untouchable’?

I love that song! It’s really atmospheric. We’re just putting the set together and seeing all the different sections. There’s definitely going to be an atmospheric section and ‘Untouchable’ would fit in perfectly into that.

It’s been eight years since your debut album, Insatiable, was released. How do you view the album now?

I still really like that album. My voice has grown up a lot – it definitely sounds eight years older. I’m looking forward to doing some of them on tour that I think will sound better. I learned that I like working with a team of people. The difficult thing about that album was that I had to make all of the decisions when I set up my own label. Everything fell on me. Everything was so brand new and different – I didn’t have a point of reference. I learned that it was more work than I was willing to do; to be an artist and run a record label was too much for me.

Out of all the new songs you’ve written with Brian, is there anyone that you’re particularly excited for people to hear or they’ll be surprised by?

I’m excited for people to hear them all. I really, really am. For the people I’ve played them for at various listening parties, everyone has something different that they’re into. I’m interested to have them all out and have people say what their favourite is and why. There’s a lot of songs to come that we’re still finishing off which are different again to ‘Go To Work’ or ‘Girls On Fire’. It’s interesting that you mentioned ‘Untouchable’ because I haven’t heard that song mentioned in a long time and it’s the first one that you mentioned! Everyone has different favourites. I just want to put them out and see what people like.

You’re looking forward to showing your range then?

Yes, the range of whether I’m really dark and moody today or am I really upbeat and bubbly! It’s my Gemini coming out.

To hear Nadine’s new music, visit her official iTunes page. For upcoming tour dates, click here.