Give Us a Snappy Salute
by Shana Bergmann, Sami Speiss & Ali Speiss
Upon the first time hearing Little Mix’s hit single “Wings,” one thing was blatantly obvious: they might just be the next best thing since Destiny’s Child. Their spunky personalities, cutting-edge song choices and fashion-forward looks make them so much more than your typical one hit wonder.
Four-piece girl band Little Mix were one of the success stories from season eight of The X-Factor UK, which was much more popular than the show’s underwhelming run in the US. While all auditioning individually, Simon Cowell, with his magic eye, saw potential in putting Jesy Nelson (from Romford, East London), Leigh-Anne Pinnock (from high Wycombe), Perrie Edwards and Jade Thirlwall (both from south Shields) in a group – and boy, did he make a good decision. While being viewed with the same admiration as One Direction in the UK, Little Mix has just gotten started with the US, and they aren’t stopping anytime soon.
Immediately after winning X-Factor, the girls of Little Mix signed with Simon Cowell’s Syco Records and Columbia Music. They promptly released their debut single “Wings,” which quickly became every teen girl’s favorite song. Shortly there after, Little Mix’s first album DNA was released in November of 2012 – which showcased a pleasant blend of pop, R&B, and hip-pop. Ever since, they have been on a fast-paced rise to the top, which is being spurred on by the recent release of their follow-up album Salute.
I had the privilege to interview the girls just before their performance on the Neon Lights tour (featuring Collins Key, Fifth Harmony and Demi Lovato) in Bethlehem, PA. Feeling more like a get together amongst friends than an interview, our conversation went as follows:
So, how did you guys come up with the name Little Mix?
Jesy Nelson: Well, originally, we were called Rhythmix but when we were on the show, we found out that a charity was called Rhythmix, so we had to change it. We wanted to keep the mix so we just thought, “Oh, well we’re all little.” So yeah, we just called ourselves Little Mix. (laughs)
You guys all started out as solo singers, what’s it like being in a group? What’s that experience like?
Leigh-Anne Pinnock: It’s amazing, isn’t it? (looks around at group whilst everyone nods) Yeah, now, we couldn’t imagine being on our own at all.
And the company is good, too.
Perrie Edwards: Yeah, it’s nice if you’re having an off day or if you don’t feel well or something. You don’t have so cancel an interview or any shows or anything, because you have three other girls who can talk and who can answer for that person.
Were you guys expecting your single “Wings” to get so big?
Jesy Nelson: No! I don’t think we were because it was our first ever song that we wrote since coming off of The X-Factor. We were just more excited just to see how everyone would react to our music. Obviously we were on The X-Factor for so long and we got off. Everyone did and it did really well.
Would you say that you relate to the lyrics in “Wings”?
(an in-sync “definitely” from the group)
Leigh-Anne Pinnock: I mean, yeah, that’s why we wrote it. We write from the heart. If it wasn’t written from the heart and it didn’t mean anything we wouldn’t be able to sing it. Just don’t let anyone put you down – because we have all experienced it at one time in our lives. It’s just all about not giving a crap about what anyone thinks about you, really.
That’s awesome. What song on your album do you feel most emotionally connected to?
Perrie Edwards: The first album, or the second? (everyone laughs) (The group takes a moment to reflect and ponder.)
Jesy Nelson: Well… I’m gonna say “Salute” because I like to feel like when we’re on stage that we like to get girls 100%.
Leigh-Anne Pinnock: Yeah, it feels like it was where we were always meant to be and we’re there now.
Perrie Edwards: I think every time I listen to “Good Enough,” I’m like (mocks crying and the group laughs) I don’t know why, that one just really hits a soft spot.
Do you guys ever listen to your music on your own time?
(a mutual “yeah, all the time” between the group)
Perrie Edwards: We’re very proud. (laughs)
Leigh-Anne Pinnock: Especially Salute because I felt like, “Oh yeah, we have finally found our sound now” and what we want to do.
Perrie Edwards: Just after we wrote “Salute,” we were like, “Please can we have a copy?” for the car and all that stuff. We weren’t allowed and we were like, “Excuse me! We were the ones who wrote it and we want it now!” Because like when it’s not a final copy they get really insecure about you hearing it first. They just want it to be done. But we were like, “Well, we were there. We know how it sounds and we want it.” As soon as we got that CD, we put it on. We blasted it. Literally we had it on repeat, and on repeat, and on repeat.