Miranda Cooper is the main songwriter in Xenomania. She shares co-writing credits in nearly all Xenomania-written tracks.
Daughter of a former director of royal jewellers Asprey, Miranda Cooper first became interested in music when she was nine years old. "My sister Rebecca [who is now an opera singer] and I used to put on shows - I was hugely into dancing," recalls Cooper. "So we were shipped off to boarding school to get it out of our systems. It had completely the opposite effect." After getting A-levels at Canford in Dorset, Cooper was spotted by Dannii Minogue at a dance studio. That's when her musical career began.
1996-1997: Gina G and T-Shirt
She originally started her career as a backup dancer for Gina G at the UK's Eurovision entry in 1996 with the song "Ooh...Ahh! Just A Little Bit!". She also appears in the song's video. The other backup dancer was Chloe Treend, with whom Miranda went on to form a pop duo called T-Shirt.
In 1997 Miranda and Chloe landed a deal with Gina G's label and released one single, a cover of Hot Chocolate's "You Sexy Thing". It was a re-working with the original music and lyrics but with new added additional rap/vocal segments. Errol Brown from Hot Chocolate starred in their video. "Errol even agreed to appear in the video and had us laughing all day," Miranda Cooper said. "You Sexy Thing" was a hit in Australia and New Zealand.
After that Miranda went into TV presenting, and then met the man who would change her professional life, Brian Higgins. "It was at the right time. As soon as he played me some tracks, I thought 'This feels right.'", says Cooper. Miranda was introduced to Xenomania's Brian Higgins by Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs (from Saint Etienne) in the late 1990s. After writing some tracks of her own, London/First Avenue Records signed her as a solo artist in 2000, under the name Moonbaby.
A four track promotional album sampler was issued, but the album that it was meant to promote was never released. Her debut single, "Here We Go", was pressed up and the video was shot, but the single was withdrawn. The deal between Xenomania and London Records fell through and her solo career came to an end. In November 2001, "Here We Go" was used as a basis for the theme song to the cartoon show Totally Spies. It was a re-worked version and featured new lyrics.
Moonbaby songs have since appeared on releases by other artists. "Here We Go" has been recorded by Lene (lead singer of Aqua) who released the song on her 2003 album Play With Me. In 2004 Girls Aloud, included "Deadlines & Diets" and "Here We Go" on their album What Will The Neighbours Say?. In 2008, Alesha Dixon recorded "I'm Thru With Love".
"I was the singer because I didn't think there was any other way but I was out of my depth. Radio 1 saw the photos of me in a Jacuzzi with a bottle of champagne and said, 'Oh, she's some dolly bird, she hasn't written the stuff.' Then we started writing for other people," says Cooper. "I'd had complete writer's block for myself but, as soon as it was for somebody else, all these songs popped out."
After ending her solo career, Miranda Cooper joined the Xenomania team. Brian Higgins first saw as a backing dancer for Gina G. "Miranda was the blonde-haired beauty singing, "Ooh aah, just a little bit," with Gina G. That's where I saw her first... and now she's one of the most gifted female songwriters in the world!", he told on an interview with the Guardian. Miranda is now the main lyricist in the Xenomania house. "When I met Miranda, she had a take on lyric writing that I could never had and, as a result, I am not really a lyricist any more. She deals with all of that", Higgins said.
Miranda sees herself as a workaholic: "There are lots of late nights. My husband Nick is a songwriter's widow. I have my phone with me all the time to record things. Sometimes when the washing machine is going round or a train whizzes past I end up writing something."
After Moonbaby, the first song to be released with Xenomania was Sugababes' "Round Round", which went straight to No. 1 in 2002. "I though, Ohmygod this is good. The first record we put out was a hit.'", says Cooper. Xenomania have since had four No. 1s and several Top 10s.