Amelle Berrabah was born on 22 April, 1984 in Aldershot, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom, is a British singer, songwriter and member of pop girl group the Sugababes. Since replacing founding member Mutya Buena in the group in December 2005. She achieved a solo number one single in 2009 after collaborating with Tinchy Stryder on their single “Never Leave You”, making her the first and to date only member of the Sugababes to achieve a number one single outside of the group.
Berrabah was born in Aldershot, Hampshire to Moroccan parents. She has four sisters, younger sisters Samiya and Laila, older sisters Zakiya and Nora and a brother Khaled. Her family owned a kebab shop in Aldershot. Berrabah’s father died of cancer in 2002.
Berrabah attended Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford on the merit of a scholarship. It was then that she met her managers and formed the band Boo2, with her sister, Samiya and began looking for record contract opportunities. She won Top of the Pops magazine’s Star Search in 2003 that gave her the chance to be the lead singer of a new band and had performed at Party in the Park as well. Following Mutya Buena’s departure from Sugababes, Berrabah was roped in as a replacement by the group’s management. Their manager had seen Boo2 perform at an American showcase a few years prior and Berrabah had impressed him.
As soon as Buena left, he gave Berrabah a call about the opportunity and got her to record three songs to audition for remaining members Keisha Buchanan and Heidi Range. They liked the demos and Berrabah was then announced as the newest member of the band. The first single to feature Berrabah’s vocals, “Red Dress”, entered the UK Singles Chart at number four. Taller in More Ways was re-released in early 2006 with re-recorded vocals by Berrabah. Because of the hastiness of the replacement, she could only re-record vocals for half the album. She also contributed the song, “Now You’re Gone” to the new tracklisting. They performed the 2007 Comic Relief single with fellow girlband, Girls Aloud, “Walk This Way”, which went to number one. On 28 April 2007, Berrabah was arrested over allegations that she had assaulted a girl on the dancefloor in a club. No charges were brought.
The first single from their album Change, the Dr. Luke produced “About You Now”, topped the UK singles chart for four weeks. In October 2007, Change became the group’s second UK Albums Chart number one, giving the group the top positions on the singles and albums charts simultaneously. Berrabah was credited with co-writing five songs on the album. Berrabah was arrested again on 10 January 2008 on suspicion of causing criminal damage and a public order offence.
The arrest was made in connection with an alleged attack on a car in her hometown of Aldershot on 9 January 2008. The charges were quickly dropped when it was revealed that she was not even in town at the time. Despite announcing a break after the Change tour, the group quickly began working on Catfights and Spotlights, which was released in late 2008 and became their lowest charting album at the time.
After the commercial disappointment of Catfights and Spotlights, the group began working on a new album, Sweet 7, signing with Roc Nation and working with their in-house producers in the US. Berrabah was also featured on “Never Leave You” by Tinchy Stryder in 2009, the single debuted at number one in the UK. Prior to shooting the video for the second single, RedOne production “About a Girl”, Berrabah was rumoured to have left the group. She had missed two engagements promoting the album. It was later revealed that in fact Buchanan had been removed due to disagreements with Amelle and Heidi, and replaced by Jade Ewen.
Berrabah and Range had earlier quit the band claiming that they could not work with Buchanan any more, their management then retained them and removed Buchanan instead. Following these events, Berrabah checked into a European health clinic for a three week stay, citing “severe nervous exhaustion”. Sweet 7 was released in early 2010 after multiple delays from late 2009. It charted at number 14 on the UK Albums Chart.
The Sugababes began recording a new studio album soon after, leaving Island Records for a distribution deal with RCA Records in 2011. The planned first single, “Freedom” was released for free in August after it failed to gain any traction in airplay. A few months after the release, Range explained that the Sugababes were taking a break while they pursued individual endeavors.
Berrabah began working on solo material in 2011 with producer Pete Kirtley, who had previously produced her co-writing contribition, “Now You’re Gone” from Taller in More Ways and material by Boo2. A clip of the song “God Won’t Save You Now” was posted to the Soundcloud account of Kirtley and fellow producer Sacha Collisson, who are collectively known as D-B-X. Berrabah is due to perform at Dance Arena in Dubai.