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Gwen Stefani‘s climb to fame started with No Doubt before breaking out into a successful solo career. But despite all of her success as a solo artist, the records she made with her band still had a special place in her heart.

Gwen Stefani once reflected on starting her solo career

Gwen Stefani performing with band No Doubt during KAABOO Festival 2015 at Del Mar Fairgrounds.
Gwen Stefani | Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Stefani would become even bigger than her band No Doubt when embarking on her solo career in 2001. After doing so, she made several hit records like “Hollaback Girl” and “Sweet Escape” to become one of the industry’s biggest pop artists. One of the reasons why Stefani pursued her solo career was out of a desire to explore different types of music.

“I just got this feeling that I wanted to make a dance record,” Stefani once said on The Howard Stern Show.

She asserted that she dabbled in sub-genres that she couldn’t with No Doubt, who made music for a particular kind of fan. But Stefani and No Doubt didn’t go their separate ways for long. The singer eventually reunited with the group for another album. And Stefani believed the transition back into No Doubt was actually smoother and more natural than her solo career.

“It just feels so much more natural being back in this mode. The solo records allowed me to indulge my girly side but it was never meant to be taken seriously,” Stefani once told The Guardian. “It was just like an art project that kept going longer than I expected. The group never ended – we always knew we’d come back to make this album.”

Gwen Stefani explained why the No Doubt reunion didn’t work the first time

Although Stefani and her band would get together, they couldn’t make music as easily as they once did. Stefani and her bandmates were at different points at their lives. Overwork also made it difficult for Stefani to focus on the record the way she might’ve wanted to.

“I was just burned out. I’d done the two [solo] albums, the two tours, I’d had the two babies – there had been a lot of output in those years [since Rock Steady]. When you first have a baby your life doesn’t really change,” she said. “You’re tired but it’s nothing compared to when they grow and they’re humans and they need you. By the time we were making this record my toddler was becoming a little guy and school, and oh my God, it was [super] challenging.”

But the group would finally be able to crack an album in 2012 with Push and Shove. Looking back on it, however, even that record was a struggle to get through.

“That whole time period was just a really hard time. Everything was like we were in molasses and nothing was coming easy,” Stefani once told Fault about the songwriting process.

Stefani credited exhaustion for making the record a chore to make. But she also seemed happy that No Doubt had enough passion to finish the record.

“We just had come back together, and we wanted to do it so badly, but for me, I was completely depleted from my world tour and giving birth. So many things had happened and then we tried to write that record. Spike Stent, another Englishman, was part of producing that album. When you work with No Doubt, it’s almost like you have to have somebody that’s just there to make everybody happy so that everybody can have their little piece. It was a lot, that was a struggle, that record. But, I’m happy that someone listened to it. That makes me happy,” she said.

Gwen Stefani recently reunited with No Doubt for Coachella

Years after Push and Shove, the group have recently reunited for their No Doubt fans. Stefani asserted there wasn’t much planning into the reunion this time, which made it even better for the singer.

“It just happened so fast, and that’s my favorite kind of thing to happen. We haven’t really figured out the next steps of how we’re going to do this, but we’re just all so excited,” Stefani said in an interview with People “And I think really just watching the internet blow up [with] how excited that the fans are? It’s inspiring us.”