ME AND THREE GIRLS, LOTS OF GIGGLES.
A NIGHTCLUB IN THE DAY,
AND BANTER ALL THE WAY.
AN AFTERNOON WITH STOOSHE.
It had been a wet Wednesday morning, so I was looking forward to a little bit of sunshine in my life, which was no doubt served up, in the form of 3-piece Ghetro girl group STOOSHE.
I arrive at the Sloane Square Hotel, descend down a dark staircase into the basement of Kitts Nightclub (a Chelsea hot spot…) and walk in on three young women tucking into some chips and dip, sweets and chocolate. Decked head to toe in funky fashion; cool jumpers, colourful pants and sparkling jewellery, StooShe looked FLY.
So, who are StooShe?
[Left-to-Right: Alex, Courtney, Karis]
First up, there’s 22-year-old, Brit School alumni, KARIS, who fuses her passion for the 1950s with her love of Hip Hop. She’s got that whole ‘cute, but sexy thing’ down to a tee. You know, that ‘thing’ that so many girls want to have but straight up don’t. Well, she’s go it. Her ballet background quickly becomes noticeable when I realize how she sits upright, even more so when answering my questions…but baby got back, so her dreams of becoming a ballerina had to be reassessed. However, all was not lost because as soon as she had her first taste of music she knew it was for her.
Then there’s COURTNEY, the theatrical, outspoken one; the girl who oozes effortless cool. She’s the snap-back-loving, swagtastic one who can make an outfit work that would look awful on most. Oh and she’s the baby of the group, who likes to sleep, likes to eat, but doesn’t cook. She leaves that to Karis. It’s not because she’s lazy, but why cook if she can get someone else to do it for her, eh? P.I.M.P.
And last, but definitely not least, there’s 22 year-old ALEX, the ghetto-fabulous, glamorous girl. She has a marketing degree to her name and a sassy swish to her mane. Courtney highlights the significance of Alex and her ‘hair flicks’ when she recounts a recent gig where Alex [and Karis] turned on their ‘diva’. Courtney says ‘Karis started mincing in the song and Alex turned around and strutted like she was on the catwalk and then, flicks her hair, and was like sooooo listen baaaabe. She literally turned around, tapped the beat and strutted across the stage’. At the same time as telling me this story, Courtney is acting the whole thing out; the actress in her, and her musical theatre past, is coming out. Alex laughs, ‘that was a really good gig’.
So these three together are pretty kick-ass. They are a cartoon, comic book, ‘Betty Boop meets the Spice Girls’, rule-breaking band. They’re larger than life, with big voices, big smiles and a lot, a lot of love. Just watch this…
Usually in these circumstances, interviewees can be quite reserved, calm, and even self-conscious, but StooShe are open, comfortable and chilled. And they are extremely polite, cheeky, but polite. And damn, they’ve got that charm, I just end up flirting with them.
Courtney [on Bruno Mars], ‘I put my chain around him, but then I couldn’t get the chain back off…he’s small though, he’s like 4 foot’.
Alex, ‘Nooo (pause), he’s like…4 foot 9.’
The conversation is quick and flowing. We discuss everything ranging from Bruno Mars’ height to how they are planning on sneaking their partners into the hotel they are staying at, later that night… They bicker like sisters, which is hardly surprising because they’ve become family.
Formed in January 2011 by the mastermind behind it all, Jo Perry, the girls instantly clicked. As Alex says, ‘it all kind of comes naturally to us’. It’s clear that there’s ease to the way that they work. Karis says that if they lived together, they would live in the ‘middle of the West End, Regent St, a penthouse…’, and then Courtney starts describing the ‘leopard-print theme, the candy floss…it would have to be a crazy house’. Yet, this pad would need to be big enough for their big personalities so I guess it’s good right now they can still retreat back to their own places come night-time and have some ‘me’ time. After all, it has been a mad, whirlwind of a year.
The highlight of which was going to LA, they say, because they were able to do ‘amazing things with amazing people’, including recording with the Linda Perry. Courtney declares that it was a big ‘wow’ moment.
Karis, ‘She’s amazing. Really, really cool’.
Alex says that ‘her studio was like the best house in the world. She has a gym, sauna…’ and as Courtney importantly interjects, ‘Pac man!’ – I get the feeling that the whole experience was overwhelming to say the least. The girls are grinning from ear to ear and I can tell that, perhaps even now, it still hasn’t sunk in.
Their excitement to gig with their new, full band is also extremely endearing. Karis’ eyes light up as she starts talking about rehearsing with the drummer, bassist, guitarist and the ‘good ol’ MacBook Pro!’. Their set includes single LOVE ME (ft. Travie McCoy); internet hit BETTY WUZ GONE, ballad BLACK HEART, HOOCHIE MAMA, MY MAN MUSIC and KISS CHASE…
And all this material culminates in the release of their debut album ‘Swings and Roundabouts’. Expect to hear an array of genres ranging from funk, reggae, R&B and pop. The girls tell me that they’ve actually released the most explicit stuff off of the record to sort of test the waters and see how people would take it. Take them. And well, they’ve been met with much love, so things are goooood.
I ask the girls for some advice for all you aspiring songwriters out there. Alex says, ‘do whatever you want to do, when you’re ready’ and Karis notes the importance of writing what you know, so for her, that means writing about growing up in London and the memories she’s had in this city, which is hopefully something that lots of people can relate to. As Courtney adds, ‘I’m sure everyone knows a Betty’ [referring to their track 'Betty Wuz Gone'].
And what’s being bumped in the StooShe van as they tour around the country wowing crowds with their spectacular showmanship? The girls are fans of everyone from Ed Sheeran to Shabba Ranks. Alex is really feeling Lianne La Havas at the moment, whilst Karis is vibing to Rihanna’s latest album and enjoying the likes of Lana Del Rey.
Karis, ‘I love Rap music, I listen to Rap all day, but I study singers, every single note…’
Alex, ‘I grew up listening to Motown; the Supremes. I love TLC, Salt-N-Pepa. I love the 80s.’
Courtney, ‘I like Shirley Bassey, Dreamgirls…but I’ve got bashment, ok?! I’ll be on the floor dutty-wining…and i’ll be like yeaaah!’
So what’s next?
Aside from the release of their album later this year, you can see the girls taking over the Festival circuit; Wireless, Isle of Wight and Camp Bestival are already on their hitlist. Keep your eyes out for more dates to be announced. I ask them if they plan on spreading the StooShe love across the Atlantic and Karis answers. ‘We hope that because we are so British, Americans will respect that’. I’m sure they will indeed, but more importantly, I’VE got ounces of respect for these girls and much love. They’re doing it and they’re doing it big. ‘Tis the Year of StooShe indeed.