Most Americans probably won’t recognize the name Siobhán (pronounced “SHI-von”) Donaghy or, sadly, the name of the group she helped form, Britain’s all-female Sugababes.
Sugababes, “with sixteen of their twenty-three single releases achieving top ten chart success, album sales in excess of 5,000,000, and 7 Brit award nominations, … [are] the UK’s most successful female act of the 21st century.” (Yes, even more than Madonna.) (Source)
Siobhán only recorded one album with the group and left in 2001 (cat fight! no, just kidding) to eventually pursue a solo career. In 2003, she released her first solo album – “Revolution In Me” – which was not heavily promoted and, consequently, somewhat of a commercial disappointment.
In 2007, under a new label, Siobhán released “Ghosts,” her second solo album. (That’s the bitchin’ album art above.) The album was produced by, among others, James Singer, who has producing credits with U2, Dido, and Keane. Unfortunately, the album received scant radio play and negligible chart success. Adding to Siobhán’s woes was the CD manufacturer’s incompetence: they put the wrong CD in the “Ghosts” sleeve, so when people got home and popped in the CD, they heard some instrumental bullshit, not Siobhán’s pop album. All of this likely contributed to “Ghosts” being voted the most underrated album of all time and I have to agree: Siobhán’s lyrics and vocals are great and she creates lush, intricate, haunting, driving melodies that are far more mature than the fluffier, pop sounds of “Revolution In Me” (which I don’t really care for).
Sadly, Siobhán’s rocky solo career has seemed to take it toll:
“At this point in time I have no further plans to undertake another record of my own. Ultimately, the true nature of the business side of the music industry is enough to keep me away. Nonetheless, if I find myself in the future bursting with ideas and experiences I feel the need to share through music, I will be back.” (Source)
In describing Siobhán’s music (or the “Ghosts” album, at least), the closest comparison I can make is to Imogen Heap – since both have interesting, layered, and electronic-tinged arrangements – although I think Siobhán has perhaps more… warmth (soul?). I’m not sure, it’s hard to describe. Regardless, while it’s an older release, there are some really great tracks on “Ghosts” that warrant sharing; below are my favorites. (Note: Siobhán said that the title track was probably her favorite and I agree it’s definitely one of the stronger tracks; you may even catch that part of the track is played backwards during the song.)
“Ghosts” isn’t available digitally in the US (or not that I can find) but you can buy the CD import at Amazon.