That's Your Lott, Pixie
As she hits the stage in Belfast tonight the teenager tells Maureen Coleman of her journey to the top
With a top 10 debut album to her credit, two number one singles and a third one poised for similar success, life is good for pop’s new princess.
And Pixie Lott has just won an MTV Europe music award for Best ‘Push’ Artist, a new category for emerging talent. Even the constant travelling for promotional duties fails to burst her bubble or dampen her enthusiasm.
“I love music, always have done,” she says, en route from Germany to Belgium. “I’ve been singing for years, going for open auditions, doing karaoke. It’s my thing.’’
Born Victoria Louise Lott in London in 1991, several months premature, the singer was nicknamed Pixie by her mum because she was a “tiny, cute baby”.
These days she’s not so small, but still boasts the elfin looks that earned her the ‘Pixie’ tag.
“No-one calls me by my real name, well no-one except my science teacher at school,” she laughs.
While at school, Pixie bagged a scholarship to the prestigious Italia Conti Academy. This opened doors for her, from West End appearances to recording with Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame.
Pixie says: “I tried so many ways to break into the business, there were so many open auditions.”
It was through an ad in the industry magazine The Stage that Pixie's big break came about. At the age of 14 she suddenly found herself hooking up with a manager and being whisked off to New York to write and record some demos.
As word of mouth began to spread about this bright young starlet, the record companies started competing with each other to sign her up. Pixie chose Mercury in the UK and Interscope in America. Her debut single, Mama Do, was released earlier this year and suddenly everybody was sitting up and taking notice of the pretty blonde with the big soul voice. Mama Do went straight to number one and was followed by the release of her debut album, Turn It Up.
Pixie says she's still surprised at how quickly her star has ascended: “Suddenly the first single was released and went to number one and then the album took off, and then the second single, Boys and Girls, went to number one as well.
“The songs are very catchy and, to be honest, I just think it was my time. The hard work paid off. I knew it would at some point.”
Pixie is extremely confident for an 18-year-old, though given that A-list combination of good looks and talent, perhaps that's not surprising.
“At Italia Conti I learned all about performing, so that has obviously helped me with my music,” she says.
Her third single, Cry Me Out — a soulful ballad of teenage love gone wrong — is, says Pixie, her favourite to date.The 60s-style video gives a nod towards the sounds of the Shirelles or the Supremes.
But Pixie is uncertain it will follow her first two releases to the number one spot.
“I'm not really expecting a number one,” she says. “Mind you, I wasn't expecting the others to go to number one either!’’ She thinks British music is at a good place right now, and has huge respect for many of her fellow female solo artists.
“I think there are so many great singers out there, but I really like Adele,” she says. “They're all great and there's plenty of room for all of us.”
Another British artist she admires is last year's X Factor winner, Alexandra Burke, so much so that she has written a track for her, You Broke My Heart. The song was hand-picked by Simon Cowell, which pleases Pixie no end.
“I haven't met Simon yet but I'm really glad he liked it,’’ she says.
She has no time to tune into the X Factor these days, although she acknowledges its place in the music business.
“It has a huge fan base, without a doubt. But I don't think I would have gone for it myself. I prefer to do things my own way.”
As well as penning songs for other singers, Pixie co-wrote most of her own album.
“I just drew on lots of my own experiences and those of family and friends.”
The Belfast audience will get to hear some of those songs when Pixie takes to the stage at the Spring and Airbrake in Belfast tonight, along with Taio Cruz, as part of the Freedom Live series of gigs.
Tickets are won for the shows through the Freedom Live website and via local radio stations such as Cool FM.
It also offers an opportunity for one local act to open the show for the headliners
Pixie says: “I’ve never been to Belfast. I’m looking forward to playing there and also to hearing the winning band who’ll be opening on the night.
“As long as they have a passion for what they’re doing, I don’t mind what type of music they play.”
Her own taste is eclectic, ranging from James Morrison to MGMT.
“I was at the V Festival during the summer and it was brilliant. The atmosphere was out of this world,” she says.
“I got to see a few of my favourite acts at the moment, MGMT and Lady Gaga, which was great, because I don’t normally have the time for anything these days.”
Pixie also finds it difficult to get a break in her schedule to shop for clothes.
“It’s really impossible for me to go shopping,” she says.
“I have a stylist who helps me. I do like my designer stuff, but I love Top Shop as well. And I’ve just found a perfect place in Covent Garden called Vintage Clothing, where we’ve picked up some lovely pieces.”
Time is so tight for Pixie she can’t even find a gap in her schedule to house-hunt.
“I’m still living at home right now, but I do plan to move out some time soon,” she says.
“But honestly, there’s no point at the moment even trying. Things are just so busy for me right now.
“Like I said before, I can’t really complain — I wouldn’t have it any other way.”