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Last Updated: Monday, 7 August 2006, 08:23 GMT 09:23 UK
Alesha returns with added gloss
By Caroline Briggs
Entertainment reporter, BBC News website

Former Mis-Teeq star Alesha Dixon is preparing to unleash herself on the music scene with her debut solo single Lipstick.

Alesha Dixon
Alesha's debut album Fired Up is released in October

The singer has an eye firmly on lighting up the charts with her hi-octane sisters-unite anthem.

"I have been away for a while and I wanted to hit the public with a 'bam!' in your face... I'm back," says 27-year-old Alesha, whose vocal skills as an MC added power to Mis-Teeq's sound.

Music producers Johnny Douglas - who has also worked with Kylie Minogue - and Anders Bagge, co-writer on Madonna's current hit Get Together, have collaborated with Alesha on her debut album Fired Up.

"Anders is a crazy guy! He's like a bolt of energy, which is how some of my friends would describe me. I think that's what helped Lipstick become what it is."

Douglas, she explains, has "great pop sense" and was a big influence on her burgeoning solo career.

"I was unsure about which direction I wanted to go in, but Johnny really helped me decide what kind of artist I wanted to be," she says.

Mis-Teeq were hugely popular in the early 2000s

"I'm influenced by so many different styles and I have been able to reflect that in my album.

"My dad is Jamaican, so I was brought up on reggae music, while my mum played a lot of James Brown."

Alesha wrote most of the songs on the album, which she says is her own take on the music industry.

"There is a superficial level that is not my cup of tea, but when you get past that, start performing with your live band and being creative, it overcomes everything else. It doesn't matter anymore.


"I am aware that there are a lot of illusions in the industry, like fame."

And Alesha got used to fame as one third of the highly successful Mis-Teeq.

Along with Sabrina Washington and Su-Elise Nash, Alesha released two albums - Lickin' On Both Sides and Eye Candy - which spawned several top ten hits.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't enjoying being a solo performer
Alesha Dixon

They split in early 2005 with Mobo and Brit awards under their belts, and were rumoured to be on the verge of signing a deal with a major US label.

Despite the split, Alesha says she is still friends with her former Mis-Teeq band members.

"We have so much love for each other. Mis-Teeq were not together because we had to be - we wanted to be," she says.

'Very scary'

She admits going it alone was a daunting experience.

"It was very scary - it kind of still is! I have up and down days. Some days I feel insecure and wish I had the support of the girls.

"But I would be lying if I said I wasn't enjoying being a solo performer."

Alesha Dixon
Alesha says her husband Harvey has been a big support

While Alesha has beaten Mis-Teeq singer Sabrina to a solo career, it may not be long before the two are rivals.

Sabrina has reinvented herself as Puma Washington, and is expected to release her own material.

"Sabrina has been in Miami making a record and has put some of her stuff on MySpace," says Alesha.

"Su-Elise has gone back to college as she wants to open her own dance school - something she's always wanted to do."

Alesha says husband Michael Harvey - better-known as Harvey from So Solid Crew - has helped her to deal with the music industry.

"If I get wound up about something he is very good at keeping me relaxed and it's helpful to have that at home," she says.

"He's been through his own strife and it's good to have someone who can relate to how I'm feeling.

"I don't know what I'd do without him."

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