Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1099

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Mutya Buena
Mutya Buena Mutya Buena

When Mutya Buena decided to bounce from the Sugababes after 9 years, it wasnât because the original memberâs musical tastes indicated she was really an R&B chick at heart and could no longer stomach the saccharine offerings they churned out so consistently.

As any good reader of our nationâs quality tabloid fodder will attest, the tumultuous nature of that trio had all the markings of Destinyâs Child drama with some of the Spice Girls issues thrown in and some good olâ bitchiness to make it all the more bitter. In this case, Mutyaâs birth to daughter Tahlia in 2005 put a strain on the award-winning group â especially as she was later diagnosed with post-natal depression and could no longer continue as a member. âEveryone was trying to say, oh well everythingâs going to be fine,â admits the cute singer. âAnd me trying to explain to someone, âno, itâs not going to be fineâ, because Iâm not feeling right within myself.â

Despite her insistence that she didnât use her daughter to leave the âBabes (âMy daughter was one of the reasons why I left, yes, because I wanted to spend more time with herâ), itâs clear Mutya is a happier bunny for it â for starters, sheâs replaced her trademark scowl with a gorgeous smile. âIâm far from moody,â she explains of her infamous reputation. âItâs just something as a teenager I dragged on TV with me. It was me saying âI donât careââ But with her collection of tattoos, diamond lip stud, gold tooth, and her no-nonsense attitude giving the impression sheâd ride or die for her North Weezy manor like a teenage Mary J, is she really a ghetto girl at heart? âTo tell you the truth, I wouldnât say Iâm âghettoâ,â she smiles. âItâs just that the people Iâve grown up with, theyâre not your bog-standard, like industry people. Half of a lot of my friends donât work, some of them got children and donât work, and some of them do work nine âto-five. I donât have celebrity friends and I think thatâs whatâs kept me nice and grounded.â

Musically, the 21-year-old has created an album which is more faithful to the roots of a girl who grew up listening to hip-hop, garage and soul. However, she does admit that this debut was only the tip of the iceberg. âI knew that obviously I kind of wanted to go the more soulful way,â she explains, âbut I also didnât want to make it too R&B because I know that living in England, itâs a very hard place to put out what you really want to do.â But even with the inclusion of Groove Armada on the electro-pumping âOut of Controlâ, âReal Girlâ will be a pleasant surprise to her previous fans and urban junkies. âI just made sure that this album was something I felt comfortable going on stage with, and I wonât feel embarrassed about, like âI just want to get off the stageâ,â she says, in a veiled reference to her Sugababes days. âIt was fun doing the album though.â

Itâs just a shame she wonât be celebrating her newfound independence with former bandmates Keisha Buchanan and Heidi Range, as things havenât been too cool since she left the group two years ago and was replaced by Amelle Berrabah. But sheâs not sweating it. âI had great times with the Sugababes, Iâm not even gonna deny that. But I just think if we were meant to be that closeâ¦â she trails off. âTo tell you the truth, weâre going to be bumping into each other â so I donât want no hard feelings!â

The album 'Real Girl' is out now through Universal Records.
Words Matilda Egere-Cooper

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