After a tricky four years involving a sex tape plus charges for drug possession, assault and drink driving, the former N-Dubz member and X Factor judge is back with a cover of 1999 garage hit ‘Sweet Like Chocolate’, and is still a legend.
You played London club G-A-Y recently, working a leather punk-inspired outfit. Is a change of direction afoot?
“It was just for the night – I guess it’s a little bit bondage-y. I just wanted to have a bit fun, but I am a bit of an undercover rock queen. Even [fellow N-Dubz member] Fazer said, “One day you’re going to turn into Pink!, you’re doing to do a rock album”. Because I do love my rock music.”
Why cover ‘Sweet Like Chocolate’?
“It happened naturally. I heard the new Craig David record with that old school garage sound and I was like, “Why didn’t I come up with that?”. So I started singing all the classics, and ‘Sweet Like Chocolate’ just popped into my head.”
Is an album on the cards?
“An album of singles. If there was an album – which I’m not thinking about – I want to bang single after single. I’m talking a minimum of six and maybe then we’ll think about an album, which I think unless your Adele or Beyoncé that is the way it’s done. Especially with dance music.”
Your last album, 2012’s ‘The Female Boss’, was all about empowerment – what advice would you give to women who want to be more of a boss?
“Look in the mirror, look deep into yourself, and find your invisible balls. They’re in there somewhere.”
How important is it to you to have creative control over your work?
“So important, and I’m so used to it I couldn’t do it any other way. I couldn’t be an artist who was told what to do, what to be, what to sing. It would just be a big fat lie. You would see it in my face. I have to love what I’m doing, it’s got to come from me. I’m an intense singer, so I look like I need the toilet every time I hit a high-note. It’s got to come from the heart and I feel like I’m releasing when I’m on stage.”
You published the biography Honest: My Story So Far in 2012. Will you do a follow-up to talk about the last four years?
“It’s funny you should say that because I wrote a book in my time out. I haven’t even taken it to the publishers yet. I’m just doing my final edits but I want there to be more happy things out there. I don’t want it to be like ‘why me?’, or dragging on about the past. I want to be in a happy place. It’s very much written like Sex In The City, in story form. It was 260,000 words when I finished, and the average novel is 70,000.”
What else is in the works for you?
“I want to go back into acting again. I’d like a kick-ass role like Lara Croft in Tomb Raider, or Resident Evil, just badass. I want to do martial arts and I want to back flip.”