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Kimberley Walsh

January 2013

IT is a silly idea but she’s up for it.

“When I next go to Nottingham I’m going to ask the driver to go via Kimberley,” laughs Kimberley Walsh, who promises to tweet a photo of her next to the town sign.
“I have heard of it because someone on Twitter mentioned that it was an actual place. I need to go and check it out.”
The Girls Aloud singer has been this way numerous times with the girl group but even before that she made trips down to the city from Bradford.
“My best friend went to uni there so I stayed with her a few times. I like Nottingham a lot. You can have a good night out there.”
Does she remember any?
“Well they wouldn’t be that good if I could remember them, would they? And these were in my student days so... not really.”
She adds: “Obviously we toured there every time we went out and always had great experiences.”
It’s the reason she will be back in March, for the Girls Aloud tenth anniversary.
“We always knew that we were going to come back, we just didn’t know when it was going to be,” says the 31-year-old, who hadn’t toured or recorded with Cheryl Tweedie/Cole, Sarah Harding, Nicola Roberts and Nadine Coyle since the group announced they were taking a year off in 2009.
They had planned to return a year later but apart from two shows supporting Coldplay with Jay-Z at Wembley Stadium, it wasn’t until the end of last year that they announced another greatest hits album and tour, along with Something New, the official charity single for Children in Need.
“I guess we’ve been lucky enough to be able to pick and choose when that would be,” she says of the reunion.
During the extended sabbatical, each of them pursued solo projects, from music and acting to, well, becoming a brand, in Cheryl’s case.
“I stayed in touch with all of them but I probably see Cheryl and Nicola the most,” says Kimberley, who spent the break from the group working in musical theatre.
“Cheryl lives nearby and Nicola and I do a lot of dinners. We make the effort to see each other, I guess. We’re quite sad, really,” she laughs.
“You’d think we’d have seen enough of each other.”
The 21 date tour, dubbed Ten: The Hits Tour, which comes to the Capital FM Arena on March 19, isn’t necessarily the first of many, she says.
“We will do the tour and see how we feel. If we want to do another album, we will. If we want to take a break and do stuff on our own again, we will. That’s how it’s always been for us. It’s not a bad position to be in. We’re quite lucky.”
The girls were put together on Popstars: The Rivals in 2002, an X Factor style ITV show that resulted in the creation of a girl group and a boy band.
Their debut singles were then pitched against each other in the race for the Christmas No. 1. Girls Aloud won with Sound of the Underground. Close behind them at No. 2 were One True Voice with Sacred Trust/After You’re Gone.
While their boy band rivals disappeared before the Easter eggs were hitting the shelves, Girls Aloud went on to become the biggest girl group of the decade, with 22 hit singles, two No. 1 albums, sell-out arena tours and numerous awards.
Rehearsals for the tour started this week.
“We’ve had more than 20 hit singles so it will be a really strong show,” says Kimberley.
“Every song that we do, everyone will know.”
There are no plans for any of the girls to include their solo material in the set.
She says: “I think it’s a novelty, us being back together, so it’s best to just keep it to all of our hits.”
Cheryl Cole (now calling herself simply Cheryl since her divorce from Ashley Cole), had the most success, selling ten million copies of her three solo albums, two of which topped the UK chart. She brought her debut arena tour to Nottingham last October.
Roberts reached No. 17 with her album, Cinderella’s Eyes, while Coyle’s album, Insatiable, failed to reach the UK Top 40.
Although Harding contributed three songs to the soundtrack of the film St. Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold, in which she appeared, she concentrated on acting and lingerie modelling.
Next month Kimberley will release her debut solo album, Centre Stage, a collection of songs from hit musicals.
Why not pop or death metal or dub reggae?
“Hardcore or rap, I know,” she says.
“The most obvious choice would have been to do a pop album but I feel like I’ve had the most amazing experience doing pop music with the girls, so I wanted to leave that where it was.
“And I didn’t really feel I had any burning desire to try and find my own sound. I didn’t really feel like I had that in me.”
Aside from the recent stint on Strictly Come Dancing, Kimberley has spent the last few years in musical theatre.
“When we took the break I went in to the West End and that kind of unleashed the musical beast in me again. That’s where the album came from.”
It was where she started as a child.
“I went to stage school and did a lot of musicals so I really got the bug from a very young age.”
It was while playing Princess Fiona in Shrek in the West End last year that she was approached about recording the album.
“Vocally, I improved a lot and strengthened my voice,” she says.
“The record label came to watch the show and when they suggested this album it felt right.”
The album includes Memory (Cats), Somewhere (West Side Story), On My Own (Les Miserables) and One Day I’ll Fly Away (Moulin Rouge).
“They are all my favourite songs,” she enthuses.
“And I know my stuff. I am a proper fan.”
Vocally it recalls the softer side of Madonna.
“Do you think?,” she says. “That’s not a bad thing.”
There is a possibility she will do a solo tour to promote the album later in the year.
She says: “I would love to do something live but it would need a big band, a mini orchestra and full on Hollywood glamour. I’d want razzmatazz.”
More musical theatre is another possibility.
“I’m happy to do the pop thing and I love what Girls Aloud are about. We really go for it on tour because there are no boundaries. But I’d also love to go back in to the West End at some point and maybe do a bit more acting.”
She appeared alongside Burton Joyce’s Mathew Horne in the 2011 film Horrid Henry, playing Prissy Polly.
“He’s a nice guy,” she says.
He’s from Nottingham.
“Yes, I could tell that from the accent. And he was funny. On film sets there is a lot of waiting around and we managed to entertain each other.”
No, not like that... Kimberley has a long-term boyfriend and the couple only recently returned from Barbados with her family. It was her treat.
“It was their Christmas present,” she says.
“I said ‘I’m sorry, I haven’t had time to get any presents and they were like ‘yeah, I think I’m all right with that’,” she laughs.
“We got a big villa together and it was nice family time.”
Talking of which... marriage and children?
“I’m sick of the peer pressure about the clock ticking!” she laughs.
“I’m not that old really.
“It’s something that I want to do at some point. Kids are important to me, so I’m not going to leave it too long but it’s not really the right time just now.”

Girls Aloud appear at the Capital FM Arena on Tuesday, March 19. Tickets are £42.50 from the box office, call 0843 373 3000 or go to
Centre Stage is released on February 4.

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