Interview: Pixie Lott, singer

Pixie Lott
Pixie Lott
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IT’S just gone 11am in Popworld and our star is wandering around her flat. She’s had breakfast, brewed a pot of coffee and now Pixie Lott is putting This Morning on pause to explain why she’s not bothered to get dressed yet. “Took the day off, so I’m just chilling out,” says the blonde bombshell.

And it seems she’s got nothing too strenuous planned for the rest of the day, either. “No,” she confirms. “It’s my dad’s birthday, so I’m going to get dressed in a bit and then hop on a train to my parents’ house - we’re going out for lunch and then dinner.”

As suspected, it’s not such a bad life being a pop princess - though don’t go thinking that every day is a holiday for one of the UK’s most successful female pop stars.

Indeed, the very next day the young singer is back out doing promotional work for her eagerly-awaited second album, which is due to be released next week, including a special show to celebrate its release at Liquid Room tomorrow night.

And the hard work is clearly paying off for the singer. Since she burst on to the music scene two years ago, the 20-year-old has enjoyed massive success. She’s sold a million albums, two million singles and had three No1 hits.

With numbers like that, there’s plenty of expectation of what might come next.

Co-written by Lott herself, new album Young Foolish Happy was recorded in both LA and London. It is, she says, a far more grown-up effort than its predecessor.

“It’s very different to the first album because I started writing that one when I was just 14,” explains the singer. “It’s not so much that I can’t relate to those songs anymore, but I’ve moved on in my life.

“The stuff on the new album, which I’ve written this year, it just feels a lot more relevant to me at the moment. It’s a lot more mature, more soulful as a whole, and yeah, I’m really excited about the album as a whole.”

A few months ago, Lott announced that there were “a couple of really cool collaborations” on the album, adding that she had “worked with some big people”, but she didn’t want to say who in case those tracks didn’t make the final cut.

It seems she wasn’t kidding.

“I wrote a song with John Legend and there’s a song where Stevie Wonder features on the middle eight, which is amazing,” she says. “We met through a friend and I found it all overwhelming. When we met he held my hand for ages - I guess it’s just to feel your aura.

“We wrote a song called Stevie On The Radio and he played harmonica on it,” she adds.

The in-demand Essex girl also worked on a song with Tinchy Stryder for his album and has had the pleasure of recording a duet with Lionel Ritchie. “He is such a lovely guy, he is such fun - he really is - and we’ve become good friends,” she says.

Aside from the music, Lott has made a splash in world of fashion, launching her own collection for high street brand Lipsy. “This is the fourth range I’ve done so far and we’ve done some special dresses for Christmas and New Year,” she says.

It may have seemed like she was an overnight success when she burst onto the music scene, but the stockbroker’s daughter has been been honing her craft since a young age.

When she was just 11, Lott enrolled at prestigious talent academy Italia Conti, but despite landing roles in the West End production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and in BBC One’s Celebrate The Sound Of Music while a pupil there, she felt the school wasn’t quite right for her.

“Italia Conti is definitely more about musical theatre and it’s not really the pop side of things, and that’s why I had to go out by myself,” she says.

When she was 14, Lott replied to an advert in trade journal The Stage ‘seeking the next pop diva: must be 16-21’.

“My mum was like, ‘I don’t think you should go, it’s probably a con’, but I forced her to take me. I pretended to be 16, and from that I got my first manager.”

One year and a handful of songwriting sessions later, US music mogul LA Reid flew over to London and asked to hear her sing.

“I said to my school that I had a dentist’s appointment,” laughs Lott, “and I came back from the meeting and nobody suspected a thing. So I lied about my age and then I lied about that!”

Eagle-eyed TV-watchers may also remember the teenage Lott from a fleeting appearance in the auditions for ITV1’s stage-school drama Britannia High.

She appeared in the first couple of rounds, but wasn’t picked to go through to the actual series.

“I wasn’t disappointed to rejected,” she insists. “I wasn’t really feeling the audition, to be honest. I knew it wouldn’t suit me, so I’m really happy with how all it turned out.”

Having been rejected once, Lott refused to enter further reality TV shows as a shortcut to fame - and she’s now proud to have achieved success on her own merit.

“I’m glad I didn’t take The X Factor route to fame,” she says. “I wanted to work my own way up. Sure, The X Factor is a great platform - you’ve instantly got attention from viewers and the media - but I wanted to have my own voice and do things my way.

“I think that’s why my music appeals to all kinds of audiences, from teens to Radio Two listeners and even musos,” she continues. “My love for all kinds of music - from retro-soul to my dad’s Duran Duran and Squeeze albums to the divas such as Mariah Carey - comes through in my own recordings.”

Looking ahead to tomorrow’s gig at Liquid Room, Lott says she can’t wait to return to a city where she always gets a warm welcome from fans.

“I’ve done a few things in Edinburgh in the past, and I always love the crowds,” she enthuses. “They’re so enthusiastic and really get involved, more so than London crowds.

“I’ll mostly be doing stuff from Young Foolish Happy, so hopefully a few people in the audience will already know some songs. Obviously they like the old songs, but I really hope they like the new ones, too. Fingers crossed!”

Pixie Lott, Liquid Room, Victoria Street, tomorrow, 6.30pm, £13.50, 0131-225 2564