The first rule of Stooshe? There are no rules!
Utterly uninterested in following the formula, this London-based three-piece have not only disregarded the girlband code of conduct, they’ve ripped it into teeny tiny shreds. They wear weird clothes, they have (gasp) opinions and they’re really funny. Oh and they can sing. Really, really sing.
Boisterous, mischievous, outgoing and witty, Alex Buggs, Courtney Rumbold and Karis Anderson are three brilliantly distinct personalities, as attainable as they are aspirational. They’re more likely to tell you about eating bananas off a stripper’s tit in Amsterdam than they are their favourite colour. Doing away with outdated ideas, when it comes to who they are and the music they make, Stooshe are determinedly deconstructing stereotypes. Packed full of provocative, punchy wordplay, cutting-edge choruses and three incredible vocals, their sound is as bold as it is edgy. Filling a huge gap in the girlband market, Stooshe deliver a ‘90s sensibility with a futuristic sound. Describing their entire philosophy as ‘GhettRo’, they combine Salt & Pepa with Odd Future, En Vogue with Jay-Z and TLC with The Supremes.
The name, a nod to street slang ‘stoosh’ which means everything from ‘expensive’ to ‘thinking you’re too nice’ also references the Spice Girls by smacking a ‘she’ on the end. Very girl power! “Actually, it’s time for woman power,” notes Alex. “We love the Spice Girls and we’d love to achieve even a third of what they have!” Karis, the ‘Bootylicious Brit Brat’ with her 18 tattoos, brings ‘knowledge and discipline’ to the group. The ‘Bubbly, Quirky Haired’ Courtney is the group’s calming influence, while ‘Blue Blood’ Alex kindly provides ‘Geek Chic’.
Their outspoken sense of style and unruly wordplay soon attracted a legion of fans following an early N-Dubz support and thousands of downloads of their free download mixtape ‘The Stoosh Tape’. That inital momentum soon escalated when the lyric video to their debut single ‘Betty Woz Gone’ became a YouTube smash as it attracted over 150,000 views in just two days, making it the most viewed video in the UK and the 14th most viewed globally.
Rewind just two years ago and the trio were three solo singers trying to make in the murky business of music. 23 year-old Karis, who was born in Brixton, started dance lessons at the age of three, but began singing when a teacher at the Brit school asked her to take part in a performance. Surprised to discover she could more than hold a note, she soon began training with the same vocal coach as Adele and Jessie J, making a smooth transition from dancer to singer.
Now Stooshe are preparing to unleash their eagerly anticipated debut album, produced in the main by pop curators Future Cut (Lily Allen, Plan B, Wretch 32, Professor Green, Kelis), which looks set to cement their reputation. As well as ‘Love Me’ and ‘Black Heart’, other highlights of the collection include ‘Hoochi Mama’ a cautionary tale set to an insistent urban pop soundtrack, the reggae/ska crossover and summery grooves that underpin ‘My Music Man’ and ‘Kiss Chase’ which captures their fiery, independent attitude to an infectious rush of rumbling bass that was co-written by Plan B collaborator Ed Drewett.
As unlikely to be found in Lipsy as they are to lip-sync, together this talented trio offer a powerful proposition for pop music. Ignoring the rules, writing their own manifesto and delivering a truly unique take on urban pop music, Stooshe are the sound of 2013.