Schuh Magazine

Date : 2000

 She's one of pop's hottest properties. Callum McGhee tracks down Mrs Redknapp, aka Louise for Schuh Magazine.

 According to the readers of FHM, the perky voice that I'm happily united in conversation with, belongs to this year's ninth most sexiest woman in the world! A woman who - aside from her unshakeable top-ranking in desirability polls - is famous for her vocal assets on pop gems such as 'Arms Around The World' and 'Naked'. A woman who, over the forthcoming months, we are thankfully going to be hearing and seeing a whole lot more of...

 After a two-year absence from the limelight, pop princess Louise is gearing herself up for the release of her sassy new single '2 Faced' and her third solo album 'Elbow Beach'. But despite her enduring popularity, the sweet-natured singer confesses she is somewhat anxious about returning back to planet pop.

 "I am sooo nervous!" she exclaims. "It's been a long time, and I'm relying on a lot of people. You need help along the way when you are going to release a record. So it's not really just down to you - it's down to a lot of people - and you know, you feel sometimes like it's a little bit out of your control. All you can do is work really hard.

 "Also there is a huge amount of pressure on not being away from the music industry for too long, cos' someone will quickly come and take your place."

 Changing Faces

 Although Louise looks as fresh-faced and youthful as ever in the stylish video accompanying '2 Faced', the reality is that the doe-eyed beauty has changed significantly as an individual during her sabbatical; with the Louise of today more mature, more ambitious, more in control of her music, and more woman than ever before.

 Instrumental to the changes in the 25-year-old was her marriage in June 1998, to Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp. Introduced to each other by Robbie Williams at a concert in Milan, Louise and the soccer supremo were - despite what the tabloids speculated - "just really good friends" for a few years, before love finally blossomed. During their honeymoon, Louise began to assess her past musical achievements and decided that it was time to take a well-earned break.

 "I think you need to take time out," explains Louise. "You can carry on being given records, recording them and churning them out, but after a while I think it all gets a little bit tedious and people can get sick of it. You can get sick of it. So for me, it was time to go away, grow up a little bit in my own time and in my own space, and not be somebody that's well known and in the public eye."

 Having worked solidly since the age of 16 when Eternal were formed, Louise became famous in 1993 when the funky foursome debuted with 'Stay'; but in 1995 (after a further five singles and an album with the south London homegirls) Louise quit, deciding that R & B, just wasn't her thang. Whereas other singers would then chew over their differences (musical... or otherwise) with their band mates in the tabloids, Louise immediately threw herself into launching her solo pop career.

 "Leaving a band is always hard - especially if it's been successful. But for me, I don't know, it wasn't time to sit down and reflect on all that had happened, it was time to go and make another album and soldier on kind of thing. And I did, I literally went to work about five days after leaving the band. It wasn't planned, it was just the way it happened. It all happened so quick that I didn't have time to even start feeling sorry for myself."

 Going Solo

 Having put her solo career on pause-mode (after scoring two platinum albums and eight hit singles in only three years), Louise spent the next twelve months as the newly-wed Mrs Redknapp; decorating her house, going shopping; and enjoying her time at home as a wife. An experience that brought her great personal satisfaction, and taught her much about herself.

 "I think in that whole year I'd learned a lot. I'd learned about what really makes you happy as a person away from the music industry. And that as much as I love the music industry and I would like to be in it for as many years to come, it's not the only thing in life. It's important, but it is important to enjoy it and to not let it kind of be the most important thing that you have."

 Before starting work on her new album Louise returned to the Bermudan paradise of Elbow Beach: the cherished setting of her wedding and honeymoon a year earlier, and the place where she first saw her life with an all new sense of clarity and perspective. Inspired to write the tracks for her next album herself, Louise devoted the next nine months to penning and recording her own songs.

 "It was a totally new experience for me. I'd always wrote small bits but never to the extent of nine months in the studio. I'd come in on a morning and just say, 'You know what, I fancy writing about this,' and just doing it. Even from the Eternal days I never had the control and the opportunities to say what I wanted to say... so I made the most of it," she giggles.

 "It's not all a hugely personal album or anything like that," she adds. "But there are a lot of parts of the album where I'm most probably speaking more about myself than I ever would in an interview. I'd much prefer to be personal and let my side come out in a song rather than have to sit in an interview and get personal."

 Pin Up

 Whilst Louise isn't keen to bare too much of her personal side, in the past she's never minded letting her sexy side come out once in a while, in sultry photo shoots. So her many male admirers will be relieved to know that Mr Redknapp won't be asking his much-lusted missus to retire from the premier league of pin-up cover-girls just yet.

 "To be honest I think Jamie knows that I wouldn't ever go beyond a certain limit," reveals the luscious Louise. "I think you can be sexy without having to bare all. I always make a little bit of a comprise if I am doing a bit of a lad's mag, and be sexy, but only to a certain extent.

 "I certainly wouldn't disrespect Jamie by wearing anything so revealing, and I certainly wouldn't put myself or him through that because I don't think it's fair. I think that once you are married, in my view, you do have to remember that there are two of you involved. But I think I've always wanted to keep a little bit of respect for myself," she laughs.

 "I think you can be sexy without having to bare all."