Mis~Teeq - Interview

17 April 2002

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-teeq’s new single, One Night Stand, and album, Lickin’ on Both Sides are out right now and they’re both fantastic. Quite simply, they have the power to propel the girls towards superstardom. And they’ve 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 don’t know what genre to put us in,” says beautiful MC, Alesha.

And it’s 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.

“There’s 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. That’s what we set out to do, hence our name Mis-teeq.”

The girls have collaborated with So Solid Crew on the album. “The track’s called They’ll Never Know and it’s different to the other tracks in the sense that it’s got MCing verses for a change and just a singing hook on the chorus,” says Su-Elise. “It’s 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 there’s hard hip-hop R&B and then people who listen to old skool R&B, then there’s 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 didn’t. There were times when I didn’t have a pound in my pocket and Alesha found it hard coming up from Welwyn to get into London and she didn’t have no money.”

“I used to bunk trains sometimes,” whispers Alesha. “I can laugh at it now but at the time it wasn’t 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 didn’t 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 they’ve achieved.

“This didn’t 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 didn’t 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, it’s such a common thing that people feature or collaborate, and it’s about time that us as British artists started to stand together and help each other out by doing things together. I mean, when we’re backstage at a show, everyone meets each other and can understand the pressures that everyone’s going through because we’re in the same industry.”

“We’re particularly friendly to everyone because we care and we’re 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 it’s nice to be level-headed.”

It’s 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 they’d like to work with. “Method Man, Red Man, Timbaland,” says Su-Elise. “Missy Elliot and Lauryn Hill,” adds Alesha. “Lauryn’s my biggest idol.” “Reggae DJ’s we’d like to work with are people like Bounty Killer and Beenie Man,” adds Sabrina. “There are so many artists out there we’d like to work with.”

Whoever they work with in the future, Mis-teeq have proved their worth as a talented UK urban group, while Alesha’s 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 didn’t take myself seriously because I’m 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 didn’t want to do it, because I thought people would laugh at me.”

“She said ‘don’t let me go up there and make myself look stupid Bri’,” remembers Sabrina.

“Seriously! I mean at that time I’d 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 I’d go to clubs and, when I got the chance, I’d pick up the mic. But the guys didn’t want to give me the mic, so I’d just persist and hover around the DJ bit, have a little go and it went on from there.”

“It’s 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 I’d ever heard a woman MC and I was like, ‘Alesha you have to do that,’ and she was like ‘No Bri, don’t make me look stupid.’”

“I was convinced I’d 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 don’t get a lot of support you know, they really don’t,” says Alesha.

“In fact, we’ve 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 don’t get their props which is a shame. A lot of girls think, like I did, ‘nah I’m 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 she’s inspired them to have a go and pick up the mic. “That’s wicked,” she says. “You can’t beat that.”


Another experience that’s UP THERE for the girls is performing at the MOBOs and winning a UK Garage award.

“That’s all been fantastic. We’re very proud,” declares Su-Elise. “We’ve watched the MOBOs since it first started and we’ve always thought, we’d love to be there, we’d 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 – it’s recognition for what we’re doing.”

“It’s a really surreal feeling for us,” adds Alesha, “because this time last year we wouldn’t have envisaged that we’d be in this position at all. It’s a wicked feeling to know that we are representing the UK, we feel we’re the first urban/garage girl group and up there representing feels good.”

Read Misteeq interview @ www.contactmusic.com
Read Misteeq interview @ www.contactmusic.com
Read Misteeq interview @ www.contactmusic.com

By Bez www.ilikemusic.com


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