Mad or stupid? Louise takes on UK tour
December 14, 2001
Pop princess Louise heads into the New Year planning to throw out the old and bring in the new in a spectacular spring clean of her career.
The former Eternal baby turned pop babe begins a gruelling UK tour in January and plans to give her old material a good airing before returning with something fresh in the spring.
Thirty-six dates in the first quarter of 2002 makes for a demanding schedule, but Louise has never been afraid of hard work.
"I don't know whether I'm mad, stupid or what," she confessed to Sounds this week.
"Because the venues aren't terribly big, we have to do a lot of dates to cover everywhere, but this tour also marks the end of a chapter for me."
That chapter is neatly summed up by 10 years with EMI, with whom Louise has opted not to extend her contract.
In fact, the release of her greatest hits album, Changing Faces, arguably had more to do with the record company getting full value from that contract as it did with the artist herself.
But those 10 years have seen Louise chalk up 16 hits and four platinum albums, totalling two million album sales and as many singles.
All that from a solo career that followed a phenomenally-successful spell with girl band Eternal.
Undoubtedly ahead of their time and paving the way for the likes of Spice Girls and All Saints, Eternal achieved massive success from the moment their debut album, Always and Forever, hit the streets.
Selling nearly three million copies worldwide, the album earned them a Brit Award nomination for best newcomers.
Those were the good bits.
There was also a major downside for Louise, who signed to EMI as a 15-year-old schoolgirl and was immediately thrown into the cutthroat world of the music industry.
It was the pop equivalent of sending your kids to sweep chimneys, and Louise was emotionally scarred by the experience.
"Eternal was a good learning experience, but we took it totally for granted.
"Now, when I work so hard to get a day off, I realise what lucky young girls we were.
"But we were too young to be travelling the world. We didn't appreciate what we had and at 17 I became really homesick.
"We were tired and we were spending every day together and it got to the stage when I just needed to get out."
So she did, though ultimately the nervous and publicity-shy Louise owed much to a lucky break on the day she announced her exit from the band.
Robbie Williams chose the same day in 1995 to reveal his departure from Take That and the spotlight inevitably shifted away from Louise.
It's a stroke of luck which she remains - pardon the pun - eternally grateful for and her desire for privacy intensified when the celebrity single became a celebrity couple following her marriage to Liverpool and England footballer Jamie Redknapp.
"The Eternal experience taught me to work hard and still keep a little bit back," she says.
"In the early days, the publicity was on us being together but it was never really our thing and, after a while, people realised that.
"Now they tend to leave us alone, which suits me fine."
However, even when her marathon run of gigs ends in March, Louise has no intention of taking a break.
"The rest of the year is fairly mapped out. When I come out the other end I intend to start recording.
"It would be good to go away for a while and come back with some fresh material and make a new start."
* Louise visits Reading's Hexagon on February 21, 2002, and Basingstoke's Anvil on February 19.