After splitting from her husband of 19 years in 2017, Louise Redknapp could be forgiven for wanting to avoid the limelight for a bit.
But instead, the 45-year-old mum-of-two has started the new decade in what is quite possibly the best form of her life.
She released her first album for 20 years, Heavy Love, last month and is about to kick off her tour, the first date of which was an intimate gig at St John’s Church, in Kingston, on the day of the album’s release.
When we caught up she was, despite being right in the thick of promoting the album, making the most of a relatively quiet morning at her Oxshott home and feeling a little reflective. Unsurprising when you consider how deeply personal this album is.
“Do you know it took about 18 months for me to make the album,” she mused. “It was something I didn’t want to rush, it was something I really wanted to get right and I think it was just a bit of a process that we when through. We really waited until we thought we had the right songs for the album.
“Most writers that I know write from quite a personal place and think those are the most honest songs that you come up with. So this really is a pretty personal album.”
Putting herself out there in such a real fashion, especially when you consider how much emotional upheaval she has navigated her way through since splitting from former footballer Jamie, must have been rather tough?
“Yes, I think it is a little bit scary,” she says. “You know, we live in such a judgemental world, so you don’t want to open your life up to everyone, you want to keep things personal, but it’s really hard when you’re writing not to write about your own feelings and emotions.”
In fact she actually questioned whether she said “too much” in her songs at one point.
“It’s very much about how I felt over the last few years. It’s not meant to be mean or unkind. It has good times, moments, but also touches on the sadness, and anxiety you feel in your heart over a relationship. I wear my
heart on my sleeve and I’m genuine.
“I’ve just poured my heart and soul into this album. It’s not always about situations or personal things, or the fact you’re putting your whole life out there, but for me, well, I put my heart out there a little bit.”
Ex-Eternal star Louise is no stranger to the spotlight though.
She has sold more than five million records in the UK, and 15 million records worldwide.
But it transpires when she’s home in Surrey, with her boys Charles, 15 and 11-year-old Beau, she’s pretty low maintenance. “We get a lot of Chinese takeaways from the high street,” she giggles. And despite the platinum selling albums, the Strictly appearances (she made the final in 2016), the tours and the photoshoots (some of her more sizzling shoots have had her sons begging her to ditch the racy outfits) she is still something of a
homebody it appears.
“I walk my dogs all over the Oxshott Woods, I love walking the dogs over there, that’s one of my favourite
places,” she smiles.
She grew up in Surrey, and it’s clear she has retained a real affection for the county.
“It’s lovely. There’s lots of space and walking the dogs is like my little comfort – going into the woods with the dogs and just walking and relaxing. That always makes me think now I’m home, because you can’t do that in many places.”
When it comes to tough crowds, I’m guessing her sons are up there with the most hard to please, so how have
the boys reacted to the album I can’t help but wonder?
“Having boys who are into music means whenever I’ve written song or recorded something I’ll come back and normally play it in the car on the school run or when we’re on our way somewhere,” she reveals.
“I got lots of opinions from them and I did sort of take their opinion on board.
Because if someone doesn’t like it, or goes I’m not so keen on that one, it does make you double think and make you go, oh maybe this isn’t good enough. And then when they did love something you think, ahhh okay, I’m
onto a winner with this one!”
And it seems they can pick winner or two. The first track from the album Stretch has already become a fan favourite and the incredible video for Stretch shot straight to number one on iTunes video chart.
But with all her success and literally decades in showbusiness, it’s hard to imagine that she still gets excited about gigs and album releases? “I think even more so now,” she says. “I think first time round I did so
much that it’s really easy to take it all a bit for granted. When you have a big, long break and you go back to it, you kind of realise how lucky you are to be doing it – it means loads.”
The tour will take her all over the UK, and finishes up not far from her home at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London. But what can we expect? “It’s a really, great fun night,” she enthuses.
“I’ve got an incredible band, everything is completely live. It’s a bit of a trip down memory lane but then there’s lots of new stuff too,” she says.
“It’s just a really fun night that you can come along, sing along to, have a dance and just listen to a great band and hopefully know lots of songs.”
Interview first published in Surrey Living magazine.