Little Mix On Spice Girls Influence & U.S. Success: 'We Feel Like Justin Bieber'
This week, Little Mix set a chart record previously held by their idols the Spice Girls: "DNA," Little Mix's debut album, starts at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 chart, marking the highest debut ever for a U.K. female group's first album. The Spice Girls previously held the record by bowing at No. 6 with their debut, "Spice," in 1997.
For Little Mix, who stopped by the Billboard studio recently to chat about their recent successes, "DNA" was an opportunity to amplify the message of positivity that the Spice Girls helped spread in the 90s.
"When we were younger, we had the Spice Girls and groups like that to look up to, that had this really empowering message and made you feel really good about yourself," says Jade Thirlwall, who comprises Little Mix along with Jesy Nelson, Leigh-Anne Pinncok and Perrie Edwards. "And I think it's kind of about time that it was brought around again."
Since winning the 2011 British version of "The X Factor," Little Mix's ascent to stardom has been rapid: "Wings," their debut single that champions individuality, hit No. 1 in the U.K. late last year, and has sold 331,000 downloads to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan. "DNA" debuted at No. 3 on the U.K. album chart last fall, and a stateside deal with Columbia Records quickly followed. The first half of 2013 has been all about building momentum in the U.S. -- a process that will continue with "DNA" now for sale, and the group's U.S. television debut scheduled for this Friday (June 7) on "Good Morning America."
"Just seeing the amount of fans that we actually have [in the U.S.] is so overwhelming," says Nelson. "When we go to our signings, it's crazy -- like, we feel like Justin Bieber when we go. It's crazy, and we've never felt like that before, and it's just amazing."
"I think the good thing as well [is that] the album's inspiring people," adds Pinnock. "They're calling us role models, and it's just an amazing feeling that we're being inspirations just by being ourselves and bringing out music to touch people."
With "DNA" now in U.S. stores and in the upper reaches of the Billboard 200 chart, can a follow-up album be in the offing soon? After all, "DNA" is already six months old in the U.K., and Little Mix's devoted fanbase are hungry for more. "We've started writing a couple things, and it's exciting," Thirlwall shares. In the meantime, Pinnock wants to take "DNA" around the globe: "Hopefully, maybe even a world tour? That is the ultimate goal. You've got to aim high!"