Louise Redknapp has enjoyed a long and versatile career so far - musician, TV presenter, actor, dancer and fashion blogger.
She rose to prominence as a member of girl band Eternal, before embarking on a solo career.
Eternal were the first all-girl group to sell over one million copies of an album in the UK with their debut Always & Forever, and remain the top selling girl band of the 90s with over 10 million records sold.
Louise went solo in 1995 and her first album, Naked, produced five hits and sold over one million copies. In 1997, she embarked on her first UK tour, selling out at over 20 venues across the country, including Wembley Arena. Louise then released a further four albums over the next few years selling five million records in the process before a Greatest Hits UK tour. And she hit the UK Top 5 again with Pandora’s Kiss in 2003.
And now she is set to return to this first love - music - with the release of a brand new album of solo work, and a UK tour to promote it.
Louise is full of enthusiasm for this latest work, saying: “The new album, it’s called Heavy Love. It’s my first album obviously in quite a few years.
“I co-wrote the majority of it with lots of different, amazing people - everyone from JoJo to RAYE, to Sinead Harnett, and Clean Bandit are on this. Some great songwriters involved on the album.
“It’s got a bit of an old-school soul funk sound running through it with a little bit of pop thrown in for good measure.
“I’m super proud of it actually. I actually really enjoy listening to it, which shows a lot about your own album.”
When asked what it felt like to be back in the studio, she said: “Do you know what, it felt like I’d never been away.
“It’s obviously been a long time but I think it was just something I’ve done so much in my life, it was just second nature to get back in there and record and write and be creative. And I think it was a long time coming so I just loved every minute of it.”
And she was equally as excited about getting out on tour with the album: “I can’t wait to get on tour.
“I always say that everybody has different processes and things they love most about making an album, and for me it’s the creative and the songs, but there’s nothing like actually taking a record out on the road and going on tour with it.
“That’s the bit I love.
“I’ve got an amazing band. I’m working with the amazing Steve Anderson who is sort of best really known, I suppose, for all of his big Kylie stuff and everybody. I mean he’s just an amazing MD (musical director). So not only loving what he’s done with all the old stuff but loving what he’s doing with all the new stuff as well. So super excited.
“If people are going to come down to the tour I’ll look forward to seeing them. It’s going to be a fun party event”, she laughs.
The new album and tour come on the back of a stint on stage in 9 to 5 The Musical, which toured around the country. Louise played Violet Newstead, one of the main female roles in the musical.
“It’s great. Musical theatre is great fun,” she said.
“I mean it’s very different from obviously going out on tour with your band. It’s a different voice almost.
“It’s great fun. I love the acting part. I love the dancing part. I have a great time doing that. It’s lovely to be able to do them both.”
But 9 to 5 The Musical wasn’t her first experience with live theatre. “I did Cabaret last year with Will Young actually, so this is my second theatre show,” she added.
Following these two roles Louise admitted she was keen to tread the boards again, saying: “I’d love to. I’ve really enjoyed theatre.
“I mean obviously my passion and my soul is so much into making an album and touring and doing what I love to do. But I have really enjoyed theatre and it is definitely something I’d want to do more of.”
In autumn 2016, Louise was announced as a contestant for BBC’s flagship show Strictly Come Dancing where she joined 11 other celebrities for the 14th series. Louise stormed her way to the finals, and was named runner-up.
“It feels like a lifetime ago now. Everybody sort of loves the show. It’s really intense. You work your butt off. But you know, you learn new things every week. It’s nerve-wracking. But it’s very exciting as well. It’s great to learn a new craft like that,” she said.
Adding: “I did get to dance in Blackpool, which was great fun.
“Oh my god, it was quite breathtaking, yeah, it really is breathtaking. It’s really beautiful. You can kind of see it’s steeped in ballroom history sort of thing. I was really lucky to have made it there.”
In addition to her music, Louise has worked extensively as a TV presenter on programmes such as BBC1’s The Clothes Show, ITV2’s Soccer Aid, and Channel 4’s How Not To Get Old.
In 2007, she presented The Truth about Size Zero for ITV1, a documentary that followed Louise on a personal journey to highlight the dangers of extreme dieting and weight loss.
The year 2009 saw a follow up ITV1 documentary, Super Skinny Pregnancies, investigating the pressures on women to stay in shape during and post pregnancy.
Louise co-presented BBC’s Something For The Weekend in summer 2009 alongside Tim Lovejoy, before becoming a permanent co-host in 2010 and 2011.
Alongside her presenting and performing, Louise is in much demand as a brand ambassador, working with companies such as Schwarzkopf, Colgate, Thomas Cook, Nintendo, Sainsbury’s, Pandora, and most recently Harvey’s, the largest furniture specialist in the UK, launching her own exclusive home collection called BOLD by Louise.
Louise also has her own style blog A Style Album (www.astylealbum.com), which she launched with friend and fellow fashionista Emma Thatcher.
With so many amazing moments during her lifetime in music, dance and theatre, there must be one stand out moment, and Louise was animated when she explained: “I think for me it was actually a gig we did in South Africa for 150,000 people. It was an Apartheid concert with Sting.
“I think that is not only a lot of people to perform in front of, but I have to say, something that will go down in history, as such a poignant moment in my life to have performed at that in South Africa.
“So proud to have been there and to have witnessed that.”
With her musical career very much to the fore again, there was one more burning question to be asked - what about a reunion with the girls from Eternal?
“I never say never.
“I always say I am open to working with the girls again if it is something they were up for doing.
“I’m so proud to be part of Eternal so who knows.
“You know I’m going to get this tour done and under my belt and see what the future brings.”
Louise’s latest album, Heavy Love, is set to drop on January 17, 2020. It will be available in all record stores and on download via her website, https://louiseofficial.co.uk/
The UK tour kicks off in London on the same day and Louise will be in the region on Thursday, March 17, at Manchester’s 02 Ritz. Tickets are £26.18, from https://songkick.seetickets.com/event/louise/o2-ritz/1338495?aff=id1songkick