Living a life in the spotlight is not always just about the fame and fortune. It's as much about having a dream realised and being able to "live" that dream.

Video: Amelle talks to Gulf News in Dubai

For Amelle Berrabah, the latest addition to the revolving-door girl group the Sugababes, that's all it's about. Being able to do what comes naturally invokes a sense of belonging and the rest is, well, just part of the package.

Tabloid! caught up with Berrabah in Dubai.

She was taking some time out to just enjoy relaxing on the beach, soaking up the desert sun for a couple of days to "get away from it all and enjoy a nice holiday," along with her sisters Laila and Nora, who has been living here for the past 12 years.

Home away from home

For Berrabah, a frequent traveller to Dubai, it's a place where she feels " very fitted in."

"I absolutely love it here, I feel very comfortable, I enjoy the way of living, the people, everything."

So much so, that the she's going to be looking at some property on the Palm Jumeirah to make it her "home away from home" as she can see herself "coming here a lot".

Life in a villa on the Palm is a long way from Berrabah's fishy beginnings. Before joining the Sugababes, she worked in a chip shop. "Yeah, I had loads of odd jobs, working a chip shop while at college. You gotta earn money man."

She also held down jobs at a call centre and as a waitress. "But every Saturday I would be down at the studio, waiting for ages and eventually get asked to leave, only to be back again the following Saturday." She laughs.

"It's so hard trying to get into the industry, there's so many setbacks, everyone's always pinpointing the bad, which can leave you feeling a bit inadequate but you have to have the drive to keep coming back."

On meeting Berrabah, the one thing that stood out about this artist is her genuine passion for what she does. It is clear that music, performing and writing lyrics is deeply embedded in her and always has been.

She's young, extremely energetic; she exudes enthusiasm for what she does, things to come and everything in between.


But the turmoil in her life is obvious. "If I didn't have music I would be a bitter old woman who resented everyone," she admits.

"I love what I do, its my life, it's in my blood and I love being able to fulfill my dream, write music and perform."

Before joining the Sugababes, the band had always stood out for her, as they had a different take on music and seemed to break away from the stereotypical girl band genre.

"The Sugababes have always been ever-changing. I've always been interested in them, respected them, as a lot of pop bands don't perform live and I think if you're a singer you should always perform live. I thought they were really talented as they wrote their own music. I loved their rawness, edginess."

So when she was offered the opportunity to be a part of that dynamic it was, of course, "the happiest'' she'd ever been. Berrabah seemed to slot in with sheer ease after replacing former co-founding member Mutya Buena.

"I work with loveliest girls, we're very close and really humble about what we've achieved, we're honest with one another. We're a very close family'' she adds with a smile.

Although she was born and raised in the UK, Amelle is of Moroccan descent and her Arabic heritage is still very much a part of her.

Quizzed about the possibility of incorporating Arabic music into some of her songs, she said: "Yeah man, of course, got to bring some of the flavour, I've got some ideas, like a hip-hop-Arabian fusion. There's got to be a few of those kinda tracks on the next album."

So what can fans expect from their next album? ‘'Definitely an album for everyone! For the older crowd, the kids, it's going to be something everyone can relate to, a bit of up-tempo, mid-tempo, we'll definitely throw in a few love ballads."

The Sugababes' next album was due for release in September but the band didn't feel comfortable rushing it, risking loosing their creative freedom. They decided to postpone the release for a couple more months, Berabbah says.

And when can we expect to see the Sugababes performing live in Dubai? Well, for now, there's no fixed date but it's definitely on the cards. "We'd love to perform here," says Berrabah.

Perhaps alongside local musician Karl Wolf, of whom Berrabah is a big fan.

"I'm quite interested in him. I really respect him, he's made it made it in America and he's really big over here. I'm really intrigued by him, and would like to meet him. Good luck to him, although he doesn't need it."

Run-ins with the law

What does she have to say about her recent run-ins with the law and some rather bizarre actions by her boyfriend, Freddy Fuller, who she's been dating for the past four years? "I trust him with my life, he's a good man."

On the Sugababes receiving a lot of bad press in the past, she said: "You always have to explain yourself and you hear or read something and you're like ‘that's so not true'. There's only so many people you can tell [the truth] and you can't tell the whole world. People take personal digs at you and they don't even know you. It happens, happens a lot. But to be honest I don't read much about it, I keep away from that and just live my life. I love what I do and I'm fulfilling my dream, so the good definitely outweighs the bad."

‘She is crazy'

Sugababes singer Amelle Berrabah was arrested for attacking a teenage girl in a nightclub in Surrey, UK, in April 2007.

The unnamed 18-year-old victim then claimed that Berrabah had to be dragged away by club security after launching a vicious attack.

She told Britain's The Sun newspaper, "She didn't care police were there. The police grabbed her and locked her in the van. She is crazy.

"Amelle went mad and attacked me. She started kicking me but ended up hitting my friend in the head as well. It was terrifying. She wouldn't stop."

A source told Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper: "By the end of the scuffle Amelle had a handful of hair extensions. Then the police showed up and took her away."

It was reported that Berrabah and her sister Laila spent a night in a police cell after clashing with a gang of women during a dancefloor brawl.

Berrabah said she has been left "devastated" by the incident. She said: "I am devastated this has happened when things were going so well with the band. We've just had a great tour and I was having a drink with my sister Laila relaxing on a day off.

"The other girls should be the ones punished, not me. What happened was unbelievable and my sister got hit by one of the boys. I am the innocent party."

She was later released on bail only to be arrested yet again on January 10 this year on suspicion of causing criminal damage and a public order offence. She allegedly vandalised a woman's car in her hometown of Aldershot, Hampshire.

Berrabah, who denied the claim, was questioned for four hours at a police station and bailed.

It would seem that Berrabah and her man have a penchant for getting into brawls as her boyfriend Freddie Fuller was assaulted on a street sustaining injuries to his head and leg, with his left arm almost being hacked off.

Freddie had to undergo emergency surgery to save his arm and life.

UK police were investigating the incident which is believed to have been a revenge attack for a quarrel which broke out where a man is alleged to have "felt up" Berrabah's bottom. Almost losing an arm to guard his girlfriend's bottom.

The pair seem to be a match made in heaven.

Rape hell

Amelle Berrabah experienced a "nervous breakdown" after her younger sister accused her boyfriend of rape.

Last year in January, Freddie Fuller was arrested along with several of his friends in relation to the alleged sexual assault of the singer's sibling, Samiya - a claim he strenuously denied.

Fuller was eventually released without charge after Berrabah's sister admitted she must have "dreamt" the whole incident.

Berrabah later admitted that the affair has scarred her for life. She was quoted by website contactmusic. com saying then, "I feel like I have had a nervous breakdown. I just shut off like a switch, my whole body. Sometimes I'd have panic attacks. I physically and mentally couldn't handle it. Freddie and me feel like we are the shadow of the people we were.

"It is horrible hearing what people have to say. Hearing your boyfriend being called a rapist is awful."

But the singer insisted that she has been able to forgive her sibling. She said, "To turn around and say, ‘I must have been dreaming', I need more than that. I still love her - she is still my sister. I know Freddie doesn't like to hear it."

Did you know?

Sugababes, which have been named the most successful all-female act of the 21st century in the UK, have sold more than 5 million albums in the UK alone.

The girls won Best World Group at the ESKA Music Awards 2006 in Poland.

The group was formed in 1998 when Keisha Buchanan and Mutya Buena, who had been friends since they were eight, met Siobhán Donaghy at a 1998 party when they were thirteen, and were introduced by manager, Ron Tom.

During a Japanese promotional tour Siobhán Donaghy left the group stating initially that she wanted to pursue a fashion career, eventually being diagnosed with clinical depression amid reports of in-fighting among the Sugababes members.

Heidi Range, a founding member of Atomic Kitten, was announced as Donaghy's replacement in 2001.

Following an apparent illness, Mutya left Sugababes on December 2005. Amelle Berrabah joined the Sugababes replacing Buena.