Little Mix slay some acapellas, do stuff

The four lovely ladies of Little Mix are set to conquer the world.

Jade Thirlwall, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Perrie Edwards, and Jesy Nelson originally auditioned as soloists for the eighth series of The X Factor UK back in 2011, and were later formed into a group following boot camp. The stars aligned for that grouping, as Little Mix went on to be crowned the winners of the series.

It’s easy to draw comparisons from the great girl groups of the past, and Little Mix often embraces the influences from groups such as the Spice Girls and Destiny’s Child. In fact, Little Mix’s debut album DNA actually beat the chart record for the highest debut for a U.K. female group on the Billboard 200 Chart – previously held by the Spice Girls.

While the message of girl power is similar between the two groups, don’t be mistaken – Little Mix holds their own with with their charisma and strive. For their sophomore release Salute, which was recently released in North America, the girls actively got more involved in the development and writing of the album. The message in their music is something they certainly embrace and stand by, as we learned.

We had the opportunity to chat with Little Mix ahead of the first show of the Neon Lights Tour with Demi Lovato and Fifth Harmony in Vancouver. We talked about their new album, meeting their Canadian fans, touring necessities, and even got a playlist of their favourite love songs. A lot of your fans are really excited that Little Mix are in Vancouver. You’ve previously toured in the UK, the US, and Japan, but Canada is a new territory for you. How does it feel to have such a warm reception from your Canadian fans?

Jesy Nelson: It’s lovely. Obviously, we’ve never been here but when we got to the airport there were so many fans there. They wait for us outside the hotel and they’re so sweet.

Leigh-Anne Pinnock: There’s so many of them at the hotel.

Perrie Edwards: They’re so polite too, even though they’re still crazy and they’re still really excited to see you. We just got off the plane and looked like absolute crap but they didn’t run over and they kind of respected that we had a long flight, and they’re really lovely. Every time we meet them they’ll come over and they’re like, “Is it ok if we get a picture? Are you sure it’s ok?” – they’re never rude or anything. They’re just so lovely. We love the place, and we love everything about it.

LP: Yeah, it’s a beautiful, beautiful place and we hope we get to come back.

PE: We’ve only just got here and already want to come back!

LP: One thing I love about Vancouver is that you’ll be in the city with all the shops and stuff and you look to the side and there are lovely mountains. It’s just beautiful.

A: What was the first song in your recollection that inspired you to become a singer?

LP: Oh wow, that’s a good question.

PE: Steve Perry, “I Stand Alone”. Sorry guys!

JN: I only wanted to be a singer literally just before I started X Factor, so mine’s going to be Jessie J, “Who You Are”.

Jade Thirlwall: I think mine is Diana Ross, either “Baby Love” or “When You Tell Me That You Love Me”.

LP: I think mine was definitely a Mariah Carey song, I think it was “Always Be My Baby”. I just blasted in my room all the time.

PE: And Christina Aguilera. Yeah, definitely.

A: Little Mix has a very dedicated group of fans, otherwise known as Mixers. Have there been any fan moments that have been especially rewarding for you guys either as individuals or as a group?

JT: I think every fan event we do, it always makes us a bit emotional because that’s the time, like signings – things where you actually get to see them and meet them face-to-face and learn how your music has helped them. I think that’s really lovely, like when they give you a letter or you know what’s really nice – when their mums come with them and the mum says, “Oh, by the way, I just want to say thank you for being such a good role model or for helping my daughter” with whatever problem she has and stuff like that.

That has to be one of the best feelings ever, really. You don’t really think about it until you actually meet them face-to-face, I think for all of us, and when we’re up on stage and we sing songs like “Change Your Life” and you see them in the audience crying you sort of take it in and they’re singing the words too.

PE: Yeah, when they sing the words back to you, you’re like, “Woo! I’m a rockstar!”

LP: Yeah, and when they cry because they’re proper feeling it, like every word that we’re saying. It’s amazing.

A: The four of you co-wrote the majority of Salute. In previous interviews, you’ve talked about how you wanted it to have more of a R’n’B sound, which I think is achieved in songs especially in tracks like “Boy”.

PE: Thank you!

A: Was there anything else that came out of the recording process that came a surprise to you that was achieved of the album?

PE: I know this sounds really weird, but I think… obviously the first album, we have the first album but it was more of an experience – but I can’t believe how good, actually, of writers we are. Whether going into production, writing, everything – even the songs. Even when we had “Boy”, it started off with a piano and then we wanted to make it acapella and instead of just having voices we started adding [vocal] sound effects, all in the background – every little detail really makes it sound fuller.

I think we’re really good at stuff like that, if you know what I mean, like all the sound effects. Even in “Move”, when we wrote it, we made the sound effects first on the mic just joking around. I think it’s all a massive learning process really, when we’re in the studio, I think we’re getting more and more mature and getting better at everything that we’re doing.

A: Tonight is the first night of the Neon Lights Tour with Demi Lovato and Fifth Harmony. If there were three words that you had to choose to describe what your set is going to be like for your fans that are attending the show, what would they be?

JN: Fierce, sassy…

PE: Powerful!

JN: … energetic!

PE: Oh! Good one.

LP: There’s so many words to describe it.

A: What are the top necessities for Little Mix when packing for tour?

JN: Oh god, everything.

LP: Make-up, because we don’t have hair and make-up with us. Make-up, things to do our hair with, costumes, onesies are so important – OnePiece, shout-out to OnePiece.

PE: A good sports bra, I always say – just a trick.

JN: Yeah, no one wants saggy maggies. That’s the thing, if you don’t wear a sports bra now, when you get older they will be down to your knees. Especially if you dance a lot.

JT: Dry shampoo, because we don’t really wash our hair much.

PE: Dry shampoo, yes! I’ve got the greasiest hair right now.

LP: Can I borrow your dry shampoo, please, for the tour?

JT: Why? You can buy one yourself.

LP: Nah, I’m gonna use all yours.

JN: A good razor, because if you’ve got hairy pits and legs…

PE: Oh my god, a razor! I always forget my razor!

LP: I have so many razors. If you need to borrow a razor, let me know.

A: That’s the good thing about being in a girl group, right? If someone forgets something, someone else has one.

JN: Yes, but that’s the bad thing about being a girl, to do all this bloody poo!

PE: You know what’s really annoying? All these things we mention now, I bet a boy wouldn’t even have to think twice about it. SIGH

LP: Of course they wouldn’t.

JT: It’s so easy for a boy, isn’t it?

PE: Ruffle their hair, pull their shirt down, and get a bit of peck out, and boom!

A: To get back on track, there are a lot of high-energy tracks on Salute, are there any in particular that you’re looking forward to performing on tour?

All: “Salute”!

LP: We are obsessed with “Salute” and I think as a performance, it’s one of the most powerful ones we’ve ever done.

JN: It’s the opening of our set.

PE: I think also, even though it’s not on our album, our new single “Word Up” that we did with Sport Relief – that is so much fun to perform. You just get to rock out and get to just have fun with it really. That one’s really, really cool.

A: In contrast to the high-energy ones, you also have songs like “Little Me” and “Good Enough” which are more along the lines of vulnerability, but I think the overall theme of Salute is…

JN: Girl power.

All: Yeah!

A: Yeah, girl power and empowerment. If there was a message that you would want your music to convey, what might that message be?

LP: I think we’ve kept it in both albums and the message is literally just to be yourself and don’t care what anyone else thinks about you, because we’ve all experienced it. The haters, the people that tell you you’re not good enough when really, you are. We’re here – we’re living proof of it.

PE: It’s like people are scared to be different or scared to be unique, and you shouldn’t be, because that’s what makes you amazing. I think “Little Me”, even though it’s quite sad and it’s quite emotional on the album, it is very empowering at the same time.

If we could go back in time now and tell ourselves what we would say, it’s like: “I’d tell her to speak up, tell her to shout out / Talk a bit louder, be a bit prouder / Tell her she’s beautiful, wonderful / Everything she doesn’t see” – we want our fans to know that.

That’s why we wrote it, because our fans – obviously if they’re young or whatever age they are, no matter how many times you’re told to be yourself and be unique, you never really listen so we always try to get it in our music somehow and it always helps our fans. It’s a very strong song.

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