Sugababes’ Keisha Buchanan says harshness in music industry has been ‘gut-wrenching’

Sugababes singer Keisha Buchanan has spoken out about the harshness she has faced in the music industry, calling it “gut-wrenching”.

Buchanan, now 38, was a teenager when she shot to fame as one of the original members of girlband the Sugababes with Mutya Buena and Siobhan Donaghy.

In a new interview, the trio spoke to Channel 4 News about what it was like to become pop stars so young and discussed their experiences in a male-dominated industry.

Sugababes formed in 1998 and Donaghy left the band in 2001 and was replaced by Heidi Range, with Buena replaced by Amelle Berrabah in 2005 and Buchanan, the final original member, replaced by Jade Ewen in 2009.

Speaking on the fallouts and how women are treated in the music industry, Buchanan said: “Women in general – the magnifying glass on their relationships is actually quite odd to me.

“I think it’s especially harsh if you’re a person of colour. God forbid if you make a mistake.

“The harshness, in my experience, has been very gut-wrenching. It’s been really difficult.”

Speaking about whether the music industry has had an issue with women being in control of their own careers, she added: “I can’t speak for whether it’s just the women because I feel in general, artists are treated like bird brains.

“I remember there was this quote someone said from our past: ‘I hire and I fire the members of Sugababes.’ And that is the way that certain people are looked at – the industry is run by mostly men, though it is getting more diverse and I think, as an artist, you have to know who you are [when] going into it and surround yourself with the right team.”

Sugababes in promo art for their new album (Press image)
Sugababes in promo art for their new album (Press image)

In 2021, Buchanan gave a shocking interview in which she claimed that producers “told” her and Buena to “fight each other”.

The Sugababes reunited in 2022 to perform at Glastonbury and the group are currently preparing for a performance at The O2 in London, having put on a show at British Summer Time Hyde Park festival in July.

The full interview with the Sugababes will air on Channel 4 at 7pm on Friday 8 September.

Additional reporting by Press Association