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by Lars Janssen
It's official - she is the sexiest woman alive, pure female perfection! At least, according to Britain's bulging range of 'bloke mags' that is, where she consistently tops, or features highly, in their endless stream of "who's the most fanciable female" features. Oh, isn't she a singer as well?
As it happens, Louise Nurding (or should that be Redknapp now?) is a singer, but not just an ordinary singer - what we have here people is a real pop star. You know, the looks, the songs, the attitude or persona and, most importantly, the record deal!
In her 1998 video collection "Woman In Me", Louise rather ambitiously likened herself to Madonna or Michael Jackson. Not perhaps the naked self flattery it would seem though. Yes, Madge and Jacko are actually superstars, not just ordinary pop stars like our Lou, but in terms of being a good all-round performer, she definitely has what it takes.
What does it take to spot such a a great potential entertainer? At this point, I must work very hard to keep my readers awake, as I expect you will have heard the same story a hundred times before!
Back in 1988 Louise was dancing in a nightclub, when she was approached by a talent scout by the name of Denis Ingoldsby (responsible for bringing Dina Carroll, Michelle Gayle, MN8 and the Honeyz into the limelight, among others). Liking what he saw, he simply asked her "Can you sing?"
It is the dream of so many teenagers to be spotted out of the blue with a promise of stardom. It's also their nightmare trying to convince concerned parents that quitting school, to go off and record with a complete stranger, is a good idea. Even when 'school' is none other than the famous Italia Conti Stage School. "No", they said.
Luckily the 15-year-old Louise wasn't easily deterred, and eventually she plucked up the courage to get hold of Ingoldsby once more, and so her pop career sparked into life.
The idea was to form a girl group and produce some great R&B/swing influenced songs - an idea well established in the USA, but largely untried on these shores. Years of selecting and grooming followed. Louise, alongside classmate Kéllé Bryan was introduced to sisters Easther and Vernett Bennett and, after some difficulty with the name, Eternal were formed.
Kinky sex! OK, now that you're awake again, let's talk about looks, style and image. Louise has them all in abundance, and many young, male pop fans spotted her the moment she appeared in our living rooms alongside Eternal's Easther, Vernie and Kéllé... but her image could never have been described as kinky or sexy.
Following in the footsteps of Kylie (and no doubt many before her), Louise's pop image started out with the 'girl next door' look, and pretty soon her poster could be found on many a bedroom wall.
Even pop stars grow up it seems, and so too did Britains biggest male-orientated magazines, such as FHM, Sky and Loaded. Featuring a scantily clad woman somewhere in the issue each month was no longer enough, and every front page screamed "totty!" at the top of it's voice. Even Gentleman's Quarterly, long since a monthly title, could no longer claim to live up to either part of it's name!
It was a marriage made in heaven for the now solo Louise, whose new sexy grown-up (but still endearingly girl next door) looks graced every cover at least once.
But what's in it for our Lou? Do cover sales translate into record sales?
As part of Eternal, Louise shared in one of the UK's most successful R&B albums ever - their debut, "Always & Forever", weighed in a cool 1.2 million copies sold. Back then, all four girls portrayed a relatively unsexy image, preferring to promote their religious beliefs and great voices rather than their image, and in doing so they picked up a wide cross section of fans.
Whatever the reasoning behind the move, Louise (sensibly dropping the Nurding surname) was a big hit. Her solo career took off nicely with the ballad "Light Of My Life", a perfect example of what we mean by 'good pop music'.
The real stormer though was "Naked" (don't put that one into AltaVista kids). This very strong pop-dance track a great play on words, acknowledging Louise's super-magnetic attraction for the opposite sex and also the title of her debut album.
Incidentally, there are still relatively few acts who can boast five top 20 hits from their first album - the remaining three being "In Walked Love", "Undivided Love" and "One Kiss From Heaven".
Pop stars also need fans of course, and Louise definitely had the upper hand in this department, retaining a loyal section from the Eternal fanbase (who found themselves buying twice as many CDs all of a sudden, a real boon for record label EMI and management First Avenue!)
Fans had to wait until 1997 before they were treated to Louise performing live (if not actually naked) on stage. Into her second album, "Woman In Me", by then and going strong, the tour was a success. It was sponsored by deodorant brand "Soft And Gentle", ideal for those energetic, perspiration-drenched dance routines! In fact Louise's early years at stage school paid off, she really can dance. Not world class, but we can definitely see that all-round performer here.
After what seemed like a lifetime of rumours and reported 'sightings', 1998 saw Louise's marriage to Liverpool football star and male heart-throb counterpart Jamie Redknapp. Sadly, we've heard very little from her since then, just some tabloid gossip about Jamie reportedly wanting Louise to stay at home and be a housewife.
Never mind sexual equality, Mr Redknapp give her back! Never mind cover sales, FHM, there are plenty of supermodels in this world. Louise belongs to the world of pop don't you know.