Well, this may ruffle a few feathers. Love them or hate them, I have a lovely soft spot for the defunct girl group combo Girls Aloud. Today, the least likeable but most talented member of Girls Aloud has turned the grand old age of 35. No, really: this time it’s the truth. Work it, girl.
Fiery tempered Derry-born Nadine followed in Cheryl Cole’s footsteps to become the second member of the hugely popular girl group to launch a solo career. Though it’s fair to say that without the celebrity status that comes with marrying a footballer — then a millionaire — then a member of One Direction — Coyle has been rather less successful than Cole.
Nadine began singing at an early age and, encouraged by her parents, recorded a demo tape that she sent to Boyzone manager Louis Walsh. In 2001, she auditioned for the Irish tv version of Popstars, where she landed a place in the short-lived band Six. She was replaced when it was discovered that she had lied about her age on camera and was only 16. Encouraged by Walsh to try out for a 2002 iteration of the show in Britain, The Rivals, that November, the newly formed Girls Aloud were born, scoring an instant chart-topper with Sound of the Underground, beating the show’s other creation, One True Voice (remember them? No, didn’t think so).
With a succession of brilliantly crafted Xenomania-produced records (Biology, Call The Shots for instance) dominated by Nadine’s show-stopping mezzo-soprano vocals, the quintet went on to become the UK’s biggest-selling girl group of the 21st century, scoring 20 consecutive top 10 hits, two No.1 albums and winning Best British Single (the sixties-styled Spectorish The Promise) at the Brits (I was there. Get me*), finally calling it a day in 2013.
Coyle made her first solo appearance in 2010 when she performed at a TV tribute show to Stephen Gately. Debut album, the somewhat bombastic Insatiable, was released later that year, reaching No.20 in Eire and 47 in the UK. 2018’s Nadine EP reunited her with Xenomania, as did a couple of pop banger singles such as the immensely catchy Go To Work, though none of them troubled the charts.
She also ran a pub restaurant called Nadine’s Irish Mist in California’s Orange County, which received rave reviews when it opened in time for Saint Patrick’s Day 2009, but is now back living in Ulster to raise her daughter Anaíya. A sophomore album has been talked about for 2021-ish, but we know how dyslexic she gets with numbers.
*Get me again. I was also invited to attend the taping of the ITV special The Girls Aloud Party in 2008 and witnessed how the other four girls refused to speak to Nadine the whole evening. That temper, eh.