Watch: Louise Redknapp recalls the emotional rollercoaster of tickets going on sale for her comeback gig
Today, Louise Redknapp is seemingly unstoppable.
She headlines major West End musicals, has a new acting career and is releasing a Greatest Hits album.
Yet, when the former pop star relaunched her performance career in 2017, she was not convinced that she would achieve anything.
It’s a situation she discussed frankly with Kate Thornton on podcast White Wine Question Time.
Redknapp’s decision, she revealed, to return to the spotlight came after a 17-year recording break to parent sons Charley, 18, and Beau, 14. It was a job she described to Thornton as the “best in the world”.
When pangs for her music career emerged during this period, Redknapp said she pushed them aside, accepting, “there's no way I'll ever do it again.”
She even stopped listening to her favourite music for a while.
“I just thought I really want to be doing that and… I can't,” she confessed. “[It] made me a bit sad because it reminded me of what I wasn't doing.”
A stint on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing in 2016, however, reignited her love of performing.
Afterwards, Redknapp considered relaunching her music career.
Yet with that decision came serious doubts.
“I just thought, who's gonna want more music from me?” said Redknapp, who previously sold millions of records with R&B group Eternal, and her solo career. “I just felt like that ship had sailed – it just wouldn't be an option again.”
When her future management suggested “a little gig… just [to] see how it goes,” Redknapp, therefore, had to be convinced.
“No one wants a gig from me!” was her reply.
She then experienced “nerves beyond nerves” about ticket sales.
To calm them, she enlisted the help of the “close buddies” she calls her “cheerleaders” who have “been there throughout, no matter what”.
“[They’ve always] been there on the side of every gig I've done,” she revealed, “[or] giving me a little text message when I've been on the red carpet… going, ‘Love it babe, looks fab.’”
“I said to my friends, please, all buy a ticket,” she continued. “I'll pay you, I’ll give you the money, but please don’t let me not sell any tickets!”
Redknapp recalled one friend replying, “It’s alright, I'm getting five [tickets], I'm gonna take the whole family, so don’t worry… and another friend’s getting five as well so you've sold at least 20, just with us two, so you're gonna be fine."
Yet on the day of ticket sales, Redknapp’s worst fears came true.
The website crashed. Her friends couldn’t buy tickets.
“I rung my management, and I was like, ‘I knew this was going to happen, and now the press are going to write that I can't sell any tickets!’” Rednapp told Thornton. “’And I'm just going to be a laughing stock, and this is just exactly why I didn't want to put myself out there.’”
Her management’s response still makes her laugh today.
“They were like, ‘What are you talking about? It's just sold out… in four minutes!'”
“I pulled over the car and was like, ‘Oh, thank you, I don't need to be humiliated.’”
Redknapp’s anxiety was partly due to changes she witnessed in the music industry during her long hiatus.
“Now you can just make music and put it out online and social media, but you couldn't then,” she told Thornton. “You needed a record deal, you needed radio to play it, you needed money… on an international marketing level.” The consequence of that, she explained, was “if you didn't chart, there's every chance that you wouldn't have the next record.”
Listen to the full episode to hear Louise Redknapp speak frankly about the challenges of returning to work after a career break and the fears she overcame
Fortunately, Redknapp’s 2020 album Heavy Love was critically acclaimed, and a national tour followed.
This year, she’s releasing five new songs on a Greatest Hits album.
In the sleeve notes, the singer thanks her supporters,, including a “huge mention” for her sons who she described to Thornton as “my biggest champions.”
“I'm just so proud of them,” she said. “They've turned out to be such good, young, strong, talented, you know, ambitious, young… guys. And that makes me so happy.”