Misteeq - Interview
|The So-Versatile Crew|
Mis-Teeq are Sabrina (22), Alesha (22), and Su-Elise (19) - three super-fly talented London girls who are representing the UK urban music scene with energy and passion while keeping their feet firmly on the ground.
Mis-teeqs new single, One Night Stand, and album, Lickin on Both Sides are out right now and theyre both fantastic. Quite simply, they have the power to propel the girls towards superstardom. And theyve earnt it. Since meeting a few years ago in Fulham at rehearsals, Mis-teeq have gone from strength to strength.
Garage remixes of the re-released version of Why, their first single, were supported by the Dreem Teem and got them known around the clubbing circuit.
All I Want, shot to Number Two in the UK Charts and a UK Garage Award (Best UK Garage Act) and couple of MOBO nominations later, the girls are in full swing.
In contrast to All I Want, their latest single, One Night Stand has a strong R&B influence, People dont know what genre to put us in, says beautiful MC, Alesha.
And its exactly this versatile genre-swapping style that is displayed in their new album, Lickin on Both Sides, firmly establishing Mis-teeq as the UK girl band of the future.
Theres lots of R&B, lots of sophisticated garage, hip hop influences, reggae and calypso influences in the album, says the beautiful MC, Alesha, a mix of everything really. Thats what we set out to do, hence our name Mis-teeq.
The girls have collaborated with So Solid Crew on the album. The tracks called Theyll Never Know and its different to the other tracks in the sense that its got MCing verses for a change and just a singing hook on the chorus, says Su-Elise. Its just a different idea that we tried, and it brings a darker style to the album.
The girls appreciate the importance of the remix in order to cater for as many tastes in music as possible. We try to do two garage mixes and two R&B mixes, says Sabrina. Because theres hard hip-hop R&B and then people who listen to old skool R&B, then theres dark garage and uplifting vocal garage, so we try and cater for everyone.
All I Want is a Record Deal
The track is also about the struggles we went through to get where we are, adds Sabrina. A lot of people think that Mis-teeq happened overnight, but it didnt. There were times when I didnt have a pound in my pocket and Alesha found it hard coming up from Welwyn to get into London and she didnt have no money.
I used to bunk trains sometimes, whispers Alesha. I can laugh at it now but at the time it wasnt very nice, but I was determined to get to London to do what I needed to do.
We were very determined, declares Sabrina, and we knew what we wanted, but sometimes it was really really hard. Especially when you didnt have any money and you had to decide between going to your part-time job to earn money, or going to an audition or a showcase for a record company that you really needed to be at.
But the girls think that they needed that struggle in order to really appreciate what theyve achieved.
This didnt fall in our lap, adds Sabrina. It was hard work to get here, so now we really appreciate everything that goes on, and take each day as it comes, trying to be as creative as possible.
The girls had hoped to collaborate with Damage too, but it didnt happen this time round, but they hope to get it
We wanted to collaborate with British artists, says Sabrina. But what tends to happen in the British game is that everyone is for themselves, and nobody wants to collaborate, Whereas, in America, its such a common thing that people feature or collaborate, and its about time that us as British artists started to stand together and help each other out by doing things together. I mean, when were backstage at a show, everyone meets each other and can understand the pressures that everyones going through because were in the same industry.
Were particularly friendly to everyone because we care and were not too big for our boots, Alesha pips in.
Mis-teeq understand that in the music biz you come up but can just as easily fall back down. The people you mistreat on the way up could be the ones to help you on the way down, says Sabrina. So its nice to be level-headed.
Its this attitude, coupled with their talent (vocal, physical and aesthetic) that may help get them their dream collaborations. The girls all love Eminem but have firm favourites theyd like to work with. Method Man, Red Man, Timbaland, says Su-Elise. Missy Elliot and Lauryn Hill, adds Alesha. Lauryns my biggest idol. Reggae DJs wed like to work with are people like Bounty Killer and Beenie Man, adds Sabrina. There are so many artists out there wed like to work with.
Whoever they work with in the future, Mis-teeq have proved their worth as a talented UK urban group, while Aleshas MCing certainly gives the girls a certain edge.
My uncle inspired me to MC a couple of years ago, says Alesha. One day at a party I asked him to teach me one of his lyrics, and after that I used to repeat it constantly which was fun, but I didnt take myself seriously because Im female. Then, one year we had a show in Earls Court. Sabrina and our production company were saying that we should really put this in the show and I was like, No! No way. I really didnt want to do it, because I thought people would laugh at me.
She said dont let me go up there and make myself look stupid Bri, remembers Sabrina.
Seriously! I mean at that time Id not seen female MCs in the UK before, adds Alesha. But I did it and the feedback was really good, and from that point I started developing it and taking it more seriously. Then Id go to clubs and, when I got the chance, Id pick up the mic. But the guys didnt want to give me the mic, so Id just persist and hover around the DJ bit, have a little go and it went on from there.
Its a good thing because when she first started she was a bit shy, says Sabrina. But I always said that it adds something, an element of difference, and it was the first time Id ever heard a woman MC and I was like, Alesha you have to do that, and she was like No Bri, dont make me look stupid.
I was convinced Id look stupid, laughs Alesha, who got more confident after getting such a good response and has now perfected her husky MCing style.
Chicks on the Decks
Female DJs are great but they dont get a lot of support you know, they really dont, says Alesha.
In fact, weve just come back from Japan, says Su-Elise, and we were shocked at the amount of female DJs out there.
I mean the likes of Phoenix, Emma Feline, Femme Fatal, comments Alesha, they can do just as good a set as any of the guys, but they dont get their props which is a shame. A lot of girls think, like I did, nah Im just gonna get laughed at.
But it just takes one person that someone can inspire to, says Sabrina. I think it will happen, because women are starting to take control of their careers and their own destiny.
Alesha has even had people telling her that shes inspired them to have a go and pick up the mic. Thats wicked, she says. You cant beat that.
Another experience thats UP THERE for the girls is performing at the MOBOs and winning a UK Garage award.
Thats all been fantastic. Were very proud, declares Su-Elise. Weve watched the MOBOs since it first started and weve always thought, wed love to be there, wed love to perform there, but to actually be asked to perform and get two nominations, plus four nominations at the UK Garage Awards is just great its recognition for what were doing.
Its a really surreal feeling for us, adds Alesha, because this time last year we wouldnt have envisaged that wed be in this position at all. Its a wicked feeling to know that we are representing the UK, we feel were the first urban/garage girl group and up there representing feels good.