This girl’s allowed do what she likes
In an age when every pop star is perfectly polished, Nadine Coyle is a wibbly wobbly wonder
Nadine Coyle’s career has been built almost entirely on chance and as the Derry singer and Girls Aloud star takes a second shot at a solo career, you can’t help but admire her blind faith in winging it.
Get to Work is her latest single, a club song so charming in its unpolished nature that we’ll forgive the fact that it sounds more 2007 than 2017. Produced by Girls Aloud hitmaker Brian Higgins, not only is it this year’s best song about morning wood (“Tell me what I gotta do to/ To get you up in the morning/ To get you up in the morning”), its promotional trail has been particularly entertaining.
The 32-year-old has long been off the PR train in an age where most media interviews are so carefully curated. So she has no qualms in saying that because she got the majority of the lead vocals in Girls Aloud, there was a divide in the group. She has been able to give us what few popstars can – the unfiltered truth – even if her career began on a lie.
Nadine first came to our attention in 2001 on the Irish version of Popstars. Stunning judges Louis Walsh, Linda Martin and Bill Hughes with a snippet of Roxette’s It Must Have Been Love, she was a clear star and a shoe-in for the winning line-up of Six. That was until three little words let her down. Nineteen. Eighty. Five. 1985 is a year that will forever belong to one Nadine Coyle. She failed at the first hurdle as a member of Six by revealing that she had added on an extra two years to her own 16 to be on the show. Thankfully, for her own career’s sake and our own jollies (“nayuntahyn ayhty fayuv”), she could no longer be in the group.
But was this the end of Nadine? God no. Less than a year later, she was back on our screens on ITV’s Popstars: The Rivals, where the minimum age to enter was 17.
Of legal pop age, she was thrown together with Cheryl Tweedy, Kimberley Walsh, Nicola Roberts and Sarah Harding, an army of Tangoed girls loaded with streaky highlights and ironed hair, who would become Girls Aloud.
For the next 10 years, they delivered a stream of glorious pop hits – excluding the 2009 to 2012 hiatus that saw Sarah and Kimberley try their hand at acting, Cheryl release three successful albums, Nicola release one critically acclaimed album, and saw Nadine open an Irish pub in Los Angeles and release one solo album, Insatiable, exclusively through . . . Tesco.
The glory came to a blunt end on the final night of their reunion tour in March 2013. Via Twitter, they announced their definite split, with Nadine tweeting afterwards “You should know by now I had no part in any of this split business. I couldn’t stop them. I had the best time & want to keep going. Xxxx.”
It was a hungover tweet that she recently confirmed that she still stands by. That’s our girl.
In a shimmering pop sphere of Beyoncés, Taylor Swifts and even Cheryls, where sleekness is par for course, Nadine’s career is a wibbly wobbly wonder. She has all the vocal talent, but the dancing rhythm of a wooden spoon. And with all of the good will in the world, each slapdash career relaunch seems to fail to hit the mainstream.
While Cheryl and Nicola aim for cool and the other two aim for, I dunno, happiness maybe, Nadine always aimed for camp, even if it’s not totally intentional. And based on her beaming grin during her appearance at London’s G-A-Y last weekend, she’s right where she wants to be.
Nadine Coyle on stage at G-A-Y Heaven in London last week.