The Saturdays Ink U.S. Album Deal, Plot Reality Show
British Pop Group to Release Single in Early 2013; Working With Diane Warren & Rodney 'Darkchild' Jerkins on Full Length
Last week one of England's top girl groups, The Saturdays, walked the red carpet at the MTV VMAs, performed at a Perez Hilton party, then held a performance and signing event in New York a few days later. They topped off their busy week with an acoustic set at Island Def Jam headquarters -- exciting events for any artist, but particularly one that has yet to release any music in America. Now the popular pop quintet have set their sights on the U.S. and spilled all the details about their plans to Billboard at afternoon tea (though no one ordered tea).
"We were so afraid. We didn't want to leave England," explains member Frankie Sanford. "Nowadays, luckily, [English] people are a lot more open to their favorite acts going to America. It used to be a little bit like, 'They're leaving us! They're going to the U.S. and they're never coming back!' People seem a little more accepting of that now."
"We feel like the time is now for pop music coming from the U.K. and Ireland," says Una Healy, the group member who just gave birth to a daughter six months ago. "But there's never been a girl band coming from there since The Spice Girls. It's time for us."
And if recent British breakout stars like Adele, One Direction, The Wanted, Ellie Goulding, and Cher Lloyd, who have thrived on the charts in both territories, are any indication it very well may be their time.
The Saturdays have inked a deal with Island Def Jam and Mercury Records for a U.S. album led by a still undecided single coming in January 2013. Until then, the girls will release their newest single "What About Us" (performed at both their U.S. gigs last week as it may be their debut track) in the U.K. with a version that will feature pop-reggae royalty Sean Paul.
The girls have already had loads of successful singles back home -- eleven Top 10 hits so far. The disc is set to feature production from Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins and songwriting from Diane Warren. As the girls shout almost all together, "We're not messing around!"
"We've been together a long time now, five years. We're just starting fresh here. That's what its about," adds Healy. "We've always wanted to come out here and go to different territories. We really feel ready now."
Adds Mollie King, the group's Baby Spice (with her blonde hair), "We've done three tours actually [in the U.K.]. Once we did an arena tour we thought, 'Right. We're cemented here at home. Let's try to conquer the world starting off with America!'" ("Just starting off small!" Sandford adds with a laugh).
To help introduce America to The Saturdays, the girls are looking into reality show options. "We were meeting with networks and pitching ideas that this was a big journey for us, we want it to be documented," says the newlywed Rochelle Humes, who married another pop British bandmember, Marvin Humes, of JLS. "At the minute, we're here just to record an album and shoot the music video for the single. We haven't agreed to anything just yet, but it's an idea that will probably happen." Adds Healy, "It's definitely in the cards."
So what should fans expect sonically from the album? The answer is tricky given their range of sounds with past singles from the new wave, 80s-inspired "If This Is Love," rock-pop angst on "Forever Is Over," electronic ballad "Missing," "You," and the showering synths on "All Fired Up." (Some past material may end up on the American album too.)
"I kind of feel like that's why we're pop music and that's why its fun to be pop because we can try different genres," says the group's tiny powerhouse vocalist Vanessa White. "We're all so different anyway and have such different tastes in music so when we do a different genre of song it feels at least natural."
Another natural quality for the act is their friendship. "We feel like we're the type of girl band where we love The Spice Girls, we love the Pussycat Dolls," continues White. "But what we really want to get out to the fans is that we all really get on and its all about friendship. We want people to be our friends...we're not going to steal your boyfriends!" Adds Humes with her hot chocolate, "We're not those girls!"