It's hard to believe it that as Misteeq head out on their first ever UK tour it's been 3 long years since they first formed. From the Queens of Urban Music in the UK to playing the festival circuit to die-hard rock fans it seem that Alesha, Sabrina and Su Elise seem to firing on all fronts. Recently a bootleg of "Scandalous" was heard in a sound clash with the Strokes "Last Night" and as the girls headed out on their UK tour Designer Magazine was on hand to find out about the ups and downs of being the premier girl group in the UK.

Q: Were here in Manchester, the forth date of the tour. You've really felt a need to prove yourselves on this tour that you're not just another pop act. How's it been going?
Sabrina: It's been going really well. We've been waiting some time to do a tour for quite sometime. We've been blessed by doing a lot of the rock festivals which a lot of people wouldn't expect Misteeq to do. When we did Glastonbury and V Festival we've gone down really really well and the tents have been packed out which is been an amazing thing because Misteeq are a band that kind of have mass appeal. I had this really old lady come up to me the other day (adopts posh voice) "I Love your song 'Scandalous', I think it's so fantastic".

Q: The Mobo's came around right in the middle of the tour and from the rumours we're hearing you blew everyone away with the Redman remix of "Scandalous".
Alesha: Redman - what an honour. Great guy. "Smash" is a fantastic track and "Scandalous" just sat right on it. It couldn't have gone better if we tried and the chemistry on stage was brilliant.

Su-Elise: We normally wear boots on stage, but we wore trainers that night because we really wanted to get grimy. Now everyone's going on about these leather socks were wearing and it's like what...it's nice to know were trend setters.

Q: There must have been so many highlights leading up to this first UK tour. What's been the stand out moment for you?
Sabrina: Everything's been a highlight for us because we've worked really hard to get where we are. Our first album "Lickin On Both Sides" going double platinum was a fantastic opportunity for us because before that people were saying urban music doesn't sell but we proved them wrong. A lot of people with laughing on the other side of their faces after that. Also we've been blessed by having a second album "Eye Candy" that has done really really well. I can't say anything has stood out more than any other.

Q: You've always kept grounded throughout. Apart from the award shows you don't really do the showbiz circuit.
Alesha: Eventually someone's noticed that...

Sabrina: ...a lot of people think that being in the music industry is just about getting dressed up, getting drunk at parties and falling out of cabs. And a lot of people think that were quite boring because we don't do the usual showbiz things. They've got to realize that we didn't grow up with that. We grew up away it and it's an industry we wanted to get into despite all it entailed, but our focus has always been our music. Our music came out before anyone had actually seen us, so that's always going to be the main focus for us.

Alesha:  If you have a hard day at work the first thing you want to do is go home and relax. This is our profession and sometimes people don't understand how many hours you have to put in. We can do a 20 hour day and that's unheard of in any other profession...most people do 9-5 with a lunch break. People don't understand that the thing you look forward to most is going home, because you don't see your home.

Q: Didn't you have these career plans in case you didn't make it in the industry. It's hard to imagine you now as teachers, lawyers and business women?
Alesha: Were realistic girls. People that are away with the clouds and away with the fairies, it's ok to dream but you've got to be realistic in life. To us the music industry was always something that was perceived as something far away and hard to get into so we all thought "I can be a teacher. I can be a lawyer. I can be a business woman", but obviously this was the path we were meant to take.

Q: How did you feel when you'd been working for years and then the Reality TV shows came along and people were turned into stars instantly?
Sabrina: We like watching it and think it's quite entertaining. A lot of talent comes out of it and these people are just trying to get their foot through the door. The music industry is a very hard industry to get into and at the end of the day they wouldn't be doing if people didn't watch the shows. It's not the way we would come across it...

Alesha: ...the reason being because of the stigma that comes with that. It's nothing to do with the talent or their vocal ability as artists. For us it's just that grounding of coming through the underground scene and working our way up slowly I think we had a lot more respect. Therefore the media has worked for us because were not putting ourselves up for criticism.

Q: In the roles that you are do you feel like female role models to the fans?
Su-Elise: Were aware that are fans look up to us. We've all got younger brothers and sisters so we like to set a good example. But were young and we like to live a good life. It's important to be positive and send out the right messages so people can follow their dreams and do what they want to do in their life's.

Alesha: There's always barriers that were constantly trying to deal with. When we first came out people used to say we'd never sell albums and then the album came out and it showed that a black urban act in the UK could sell records.

Sabrina: It is hard for us being girls anyway, but I think being black girls I think it is harder for us in the industry. There's a lot of things that go on and a lot of politics that I have seen. We haven't even been on the cover of Smash Hit's for example, which is a magazine which we've always read from when we were really really young, and there's girl groups coming up after us that may not have sold as many albums as us, yet they can still get on the cover. There's still a lot politics out there and people can cover it up and say it's not there, but it so is!!!

Words: Alex McCann
Live Photos: Karen McBride - www.karenmcbride.com

"Hip Hop Style" is released on 17th November
The "Eye Candy" album is repackaged with extra tracks shortly after
For more info

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