Girls Aloud's Cheryl Cole steps into solo limelight

Fri Oct 30, 2009 7:27pm EDT

Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Cole smiles as she watches performers during the Brit Awards at Earls Court in London February 18, 2009. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Cole smiles as she watches performers during the Brit Awards at Earls Court in London February 18, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Dylan Martinez

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LONDON (Billboard) - Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Cole is a tabloid fixture in the United Kingdom, thanks to her marriage to the soccer star Ashley Cole and her role as a judge alongside Simon Cowell on the TV ratings topper "The X Factor." She's also a model for the cosmetics brand L'Oreal and still a member of Girls Aloud, which has enjoyed 20 U.K. top 10 hit singles since 2002.

At the moment, though, the focus is on Cole the solo star. Her debut single, "Fight for This Love" (Fascination/Polydor), entered the Official Charts Company listing this week at No. 1 with sales of 293,000 copies, according to the OCC. Cole performed the track October 18 on "The X Factor," with U.K. network ITV1 claiming an audience of 9.3 million viewers. The biggest-selling single of 2009 to date, it preceded the October 26 release of Cole's debut album, "Three Words."

Polydor U.K. president Ferdy Unger-Hamilton predicts first-week sales of 120,000-150,000 copies for the album, which he expects to produce "at least four" U.K. singles. The next one, due before Christmas, is the title track.

It was co-written by Cole with session guitarist George Pajon and the Black Eyed Peas' Will.i.am, who also produced and duets on it.

The title track will be followed in early 2010 by a third single, "Parachute." The album will roll out internationally early next year as well, starting with Europe, Unger-Hamilton said. A U.S. release through Interscope will follow at an as-yet-unspecified date.

The U.K. campaign involved a heavy online factor: Cole conducted a live video Web chat on MySpace; users of social networking site Bebo were offered a chance to interview the singer using Twitter to ask her questions.

At the market-leading retailer HMV, head of music Rudy Osorio reported that during the latest sales week the album has been "outselling its closest rivals by a margin of nearly two to one." Cole, he says, "has a fantastically broad demographic appeal: kids, moms and dads all like her, as do guys and girls. We always felt this would be one of the best sellers of the Christmas period."

(Editing by SheriLinden at Reuters)

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