Now, as she releases her first album in 15 years, Heavy Love, Louise candidly reveals to us that the album is a symbol of the woman she has become. Having let go of the need for everyone’s approval, overcoming intense sexism in the reports around her marriage and having the ‘film of perfection’ wrapped around her ripped away from her, Louise emotionally reveals she finally feels like she can be herself.
Louise Redknapp has spent 28 years in the spotlight, as a member of Eternal, then as a solo artist with such bangers as Let’s Go Round Again and 2 Faced then as a wife to Jamie Redknapp and a mother to her two sons.
This is a new Louise, so much so she is more than comfortable ordering a Vodka Slim Line Tonic at 4.30pm on a Monday during an interview. “I would never have ordered gin and tonic after an interview, before,” she laughs. “I would have had a mint tea before!” Now that is our kinda girl…
Heavy Love is your first album in 15 years. How nervous do you feel about putting yourself out there like this?
I didn’t realise I was nervous actually until a couple of days ago and I started to think I was very anxious about it and stressed out. I think I’ve completely blocked it out as it was finished ages ago and it felt like it was never going to come out at some points. I think in one way it’s a really positive feeling because I feel like I’ve got nothing to prove. I’m not expecting to set the world alight in the music industry. At the same time, I feel that I’ve got a lot to prove to myself in a way. There’s been a massive change in my life especially in my personal life. I put so much focus and energy into the album becoming my life for 18 months. I was solidly just songwriting and being in the studio. Now it’s coming out and it can be picked apart in a good way or a negative way. That part, I think, is a little bit scary.
Why do you feel like you have something to prove to yourself?
I think coming from the music industry where I was all those years ago, it’s a very different experience to this album. I was a pop singer and we churned out what we did. Even though Eternal was amazing, and we wrote so much of that album when I left it was what I call, ‘fast pop.’ It was always a fast turnaround, touring, and ticking boxes, and I couldn’t have done then what I’ve done on this album. I wouldn’t have had the life experiences, the emotion, the knowledge, that I have now. This time I went out there and co-write an album during such an emotional time of my life. I am putting my soul out there, more than I have ever done before.
I think I’ve always been, until this, very protective. I have had this ‘film of perfection’ around my life. Whether it be as Louise the girl next door pop singer to Louise the perfect life. And that film I feel like over the past year has been ripped away tenfold. There’s not film anywhere. It’s like my life went from being the most unscrutinised, really as I was quite private. People only ever really got what they were given which was very small amounts. Then everything was out there. There was nothing that wasn’t written about me for a period of time. With this album I have bared my soul. I am really proud that I’ve done it and it really helped me.
This album isn’t just about your marriage though, it’s about your own personal journey…
The album isn’t all about the marriage which I think people may be thinking. You can’t write a whole album about marriage and I wouldn’t do that to Jamie. The one thing I can be honest about is my feelings, being a mum, being in a famous marriage and how I felt in those moments. That’s all I could draw on. But there are positive songs too. There’s one song called ‘Settle for Nothing’ and whenever I’m having a bit of a day where I’m feeling a bit crap, which I have, I’m a girl. I don’t have a partner, I don’t have a boyfriend, I think that’s what’s wrong with me. I put that on as I wrote it when I was feeling really positive. I was really lucky that I had the kids, my family, and very good friends – even though a lot of them went to the other side in the break up. But I also got a career that I was given a second chance at. You know, that was like my saving grace, I think.
How do you feel like your relationship has changed with yourself in order for you to be able to be this honest?
I think I’m back to myself now. I don’t think I was myself 15 years ago. I needed everyone else’s approval. I needed Jamie’s approval, I needed family’s approval, I needed everyone to approve what I was doing. I think now I’m totally okay to back myself against even if no one else does. I think that has come with age, heart break and dealing with having really nasty things said about you, on a really big scale. There were positive words too, though but it’s hard not to focus on the negative.