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Alesha Dixon tells us about ‘Ransom’, her first song in nine years

As Alesha Dixon returns with 'Ransom', the singer tells Rolling Stone UK about her grand return - and whether a Misteeq reunion is happening any time soon.

By Nick Reilly

Alesha Dixon (Picture: Press)

Alesha Dixon has told Rolling Stone UK about making her return with ‘Ransom’, the first track from the singer in nine years.

“I think that the beauty of being at this point in my life, the age that I’m at, with the experience I’ve had, and also being an independent artist, I’ve got a bit more of a relaxed attitude about it,” she says of her return.

The track, meanwhile, sees Alesha explore her roots and blends dancehall, reggae and a sample from  Ini Kamoze’s iconic ‘Here Comes the Hotstepper’.

“Nothing has influenced me more than the music I was raised on with my family and what feels like my authentic self,” she tells Rolling Stone UK.

You can read our full chat about Alesha’s comeback and whether a Misteeq reunion could ever happen, in full below.

You’re back with your first song in nine years. Why is now the right time to make a comeback?

Well, I want to be back as Alesha Dixon the artist. I’ve been recording throughout the years, but hadn’t felt quite ready to release anything for a multitude of reasons. One of them being the fact that I’m an independent artist now and it’s very expensive to put out music, and the industry is very tricky. The business aspect of it is what has put me off going down that road again.

I just haven’t got time to play the music industry games and, you know, trying to compete for chart positions with artists that are signed to major labels. The whole thing puts me off, but the love and the desire of making music has never faded. What made me change my mind this time round was feeling like I’d written a song where it sort of just aligned with how I was feeling.

It just felt more authentic to me, and I felt more confident to put it out.

There’s also just that feeling of life is too short. I just wanted to feel like I could put something out into the world, regardless of the industry, regardless of the expectations, the business, the money.

And I really, really missed being on stage. ‘Ransom’ fits more with the sort of vibe that I wanted to put out into the world right now.

The music industry, as you say, is very business driven and cut-throat. How have things changed, in your opinion, since Misteeq first broke through?

I’ve experienced solo success, group success and I’ve experienced failures or learning curves. I feel like I’ve experienced what it means to be an artist and go on that journey.The highs and the lows, the ups, the downs, the unpredictability, the beautiful magical moments, the doubtful, vulnerable moments.

I feel like I’ve been there, worn the T-shirt and I’ve got this armour on my back now. I feel very thick skinned and prepared for whatever the industry has to throw at me. But I think that the beauty of being at this point in my life, the age that I’m at with the experience I’ve had, and also being an independent artist, is that I’ve got a bit more of a relaxed attitude about it.

In a weird way, I don’t feel the pressure that I felt back in the day, I can kind of enjoy it for what it is.

Another thing the industry has taught me is that you’ve got to enjoy the moment because nothing is guaranteed. If all artists leaned into the fear aspect of the industry and music, nobody would put music out.

So you kind of have to stay tuned into what’s important and stay focused on that because everything else is just noise and distraction.

It’s a personal song for you too, because it leans into dancehall and sees you exploring your Jamaican heritage.

Yeah, it’s interesting, because obviously, in the past, I’ve released a lot of pop records. But ultimately, when I’m at home, when I’m with friends, when I’m out, the music that I listen to leans into my heritage That’s what feels natural to me.That’s what’s always felt like an extension of who I am.

I think it was just a matter of time, really, before putting something out that reflected my culture more. I think I’ve dipped in and out of it over the years and I’ve tried to experiment and play around with different sounds.

Nothing has influenced me more than the music I was raised on with my family and what feels like my authentic self. So I think it’s trying to marry everything up. The commercial aspect of myself meets the grounded, rooted aspect of myself.

I’d like to record a reggae album in Jamaica one day too though. That’s on the bucket list.

What else is on your bucket list?

It’s a good question. One of the things I’ve really missed is touring and I really want my kids to see me doing that. If I could get to that place where I could go back out and do some live shows and have my children come on, that journey would be really special.

A really beautiful full circle moment to sort of go back to the beginning almost.

There’s been a slew of successful Noughties reunions recently – Girls Aloud are currently on their tour. Would you consider a Misteeq reunion?

Well, I’ve considered it over the years, and the truth of it is that it has to feel right energetically for me to want to do it.

For me, it’s not a business transaction. We’ve been offered to perform at many places over the years.

And the reason I always say no is because the most important thing to me when it comes to Misteeq is the relationship between us three girls and when that feels right, that’s when it will feel like the right time. So that’s the best way I can answer it, really. We communicate and there’s a lot of love and respect there. But you know, there’s work to be done and there’s healing that needs to take place.

And I think once that has happened, then we could potentially look at doing something in the future.

When you say healing, is that a reference to a rift within the band?

We’ve always been very mindful of keeping Misteeq business exactly that, in the sense that we’re not one of those groups that talks our business in public. Well, I certainly don’t. I’ve prided myself on that, and, you know, you’ve got to remember we spent eight years of our lives together. We saw more of each other than we did family and friends.

We’ve always compared our relationship to more of a sibling relationship where you love your sibling, but they can irritate you sometimes, and it’s no different being in a group.

So when I say healing, there were things in the group that weren’t ideal, and you know, you have to work through them.

But at this point in our lives, we’ve moved on past those things. But for me, I’m more invested in the relationship between us girls and that feeling good before we do anything. It would be an easy thing to get back together but I have to do things that feel right, and it doesn’t feel right at the moment.

I hate killing the joy for people because people always ask me about a reunion, but I love that I can put on the radio and I still hear Misteeq. That brings me so much joy, because Misteeq was the beginning of everything and it seemed so long ago, but we still feel so relevant.

People keep us alive by talking about us, by playing our music, and that warms all of our hearts. That makes us feel so great.

So I would do a reunion, is the nuts and bolts of it. I think it would just be such a beautiful moment. But like they always say, nothing before it’s time. And I just don’t think right now is that time.

Fair enough, thanks for your time Alesha!

Thanks, have a great day!