Pixie Lott says she wants to be a role model but is at the age where she also wants to go out and party so she can relate to Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus’ troubles.
Our enduring memory of Pixie Lott saw her strutting around New York in high-heeled boots and knickers in the steamy video for her anthem All About Tonight.
Back in London, it’s a more demure Pixie who arrives to meet me in a chic Shoreditch bar. Barely a head turns as she walks in wearing a plain red jumper and jeans.
But don’t be fooled by the girl-next-door look. After two years away, party girl Pixie will return in an even hotter video when her new single Nasty comes out next month.
It sees the Essex girl grind against a string of men on a club dancefloor wearing just a bra, miniskirt and another pair of knickers – this time with NASTY written across the buttocks.
If that’s not revealing enough, there are topless scenes where only a strategically placed handbag protects her modesty. “Everyone keeps saying it’s my most raunchy video yet,” says Pixie, giggling mischievously. “But the song is called Nasty and you have to do a video that portrays that.
“It’s all about being naughty and cheeky. I didn’t feel self-conscious at all – I just embraced it. After all, I was 18 when I started and I’ve grown up now.”
Pixie, 23, has come of age in the public eye. Since her debut in 2009 with the No?1 hit Mama Do she’s had nine Top 20 singles including two more chart-toppers plus two hit albums.
She even has a celebrity boyfriend in the chiselled form of Calvin Klein model Oliver Cheshire, 25. So, is her raciest video to date proof that Oliver has done for Pixie what Michael Hutchence did for Kylie?
“I’m just playing a character,” she insists. “I’m not really nasty!”
Nor is she a goody-two-shoes. Photos of her staggering a little the worse for wear from nightspots in London and her home town of Brentwood are testament to that.
“That’s just what girls my age do, what all my friends my age do,” says Pixie. “I want to be a good role model but the most important thing for me is to be a realistic role model.
“I don’t want to be completely crazy but I don’t want to not go out and party, because that’s just not what 23-year-olds do, is it?
“It’s just that I also wanted to do music at a very young age. I saw Britney Spears when she was 17 or 18 and I thought, ‘If she can do it, I can do it.’ I was just itching to get out there.”
But today’s child stars have a habit of going off the rails. And currently veering way off-track is Justin Bieber, who only last month was arrested for driving under the influence of drugs then, following a separate incident, charged with assault.
“I feel sorry for Justin Bieber,” says Pixie. “If you think about it he’s just 19 and people make mistakes at that age. I can imagine loads of boys across the country doing the same thing.
“I’ve never done anything as extreme. But if I did I know it would be watched. It is harder, you know. I’ve been offered drugs before. Every teenager gets in that situation but my friends and I are just not interested. So those friends and family are keeping me grounded. I’d like to say: ‘Yes, I’ve nearly come off the rails’ but I haven’t and I know I’d have support if that ever did happen.”
She also has sympathy for Miley Cyrus, who during the five years of Pixie’s career has transformed herself from sweet Hannah Montana to the twerking sex-bomb we see today.
“Miley wasn’t forced into it,” says Pixie. “She wants to be like that and it works for her.
“If it’s what she wants to do then good luck to her. Everyone has the freedom to do what they want to do. I certainly don’t feel any pressure.”
Later this year she’ll release her third studio album under the simple title of Pixie Lott. It promises to be her most personal yet and includes a tribute to her gran, Amelia Martin, who died in 2012, aged 76, just as Pixie was about to go into the studio to begin recording her album. It hit her so hard that she called a temporary halt to the sessions.
“It’s definitely the lowest point of my life so far,” says Pixie. “I’ve never had to deal with the loss of someone so close.”
Amelia had been suffering from Alzheimers, which meant she often didn’t recognise her famous granddaughter.
“The track Cry and Smile is probably the most personal I’ve ever written,” says Pixie.
“It’s sad. Alzheimers meant she wasn’t the same person she had been but I try to remember her for the person she was and I hope there’s also a positive message in there.”
The album promises to show a new and more soulful side to Pixie.
“For pretty much the last two years I’ve been away from releasing singles,” she says. “I’ve been writing and recording in the studio. Usually pop stars and singer don’t take that long. It’s usually quick, quick, quick.
“But I wanted to get it right. It’s a sound I really love and I wanted to be 100% happy with it. My whole focus has been on this album.”
The only exception was an acting role. Before becoming a pop star Pixie had small parts in West End shows and bit parts on TV, but this week she’s appearing in her biggest role to date, as a murdered girl on BBC1’s Inspector George Gently.
She plays a holiday camp singer and dancer who discovers a dark secret and ends up being killed.
“The first scene sees me dead on a beach,” she says. “It was freezing and I had to lie on wet sand covered in cold water. But because I was supposed to be dead I couldn’t shiver.
“Fortunately you see what happened to her in flashback and I do actually get to speak as well as do some singing and dancing.
“I really enjoyed it, so I’d like to do more acting in the future.”
She would also consider going back to the higher education she gave up
to pursue her music dream, though she already has eight straight-A GCSEs,
“I think I’d like to go back and study and expand my mind a little. The trouble is I’m the sort of person that wants to do everything.”
Does that include marrying her boyfriend and having children?
“Well, we have unofficially moved in with each other,” she says.
“And I would love to have children, but not just yet…”