Pixie Lott was only 14 years old when she wrote her debut album, Turn It Up. Five years after her first single ‘Mama Do’ went straight to number one and two albums later, the popstar is back and soon to release her self-titled third album, Pixie Lott.
The lead single ‘Nasty’, which was released last week, is a contemporary take on an old school vibe. The entire album was inspired by the 60s and 70s Motown that Pixie grew up listening to, namely legends such as Candi Staton and Otis Reading.
Both the video, which was chiefly inspired by an iconic scene from Dirty Dancing, and the album artwork show off a new edgier and perhaps more risqué Pixie who, now in a relationship, feels like she can now really relate to those more personal subject matters which she has been writing about since her teens.
Ahead of the release of the forthcoming album, we caught up with the 23-year-old talent to talk style, working on the album and sex.
HOW DOES THE FORTHCOMING ALBUM SHOW A PROGRESSION IN YOUR MUSIC AND STYLE?
I spent the last couple of years writing and recording this album and it’s the first one I have done that has a cohesive sound. My last album was a mixture of soul and electro/dance. Basically the style of the music is a mix of what I grew up listening to, soul music from the 60s and 70s, and the artist that I am. So while it’s quite current sounding it’s ultimately very inspired by soul. That’s why I self-titled it because I think it’s the most me, and it’s the style that I love the most. So I’m excited I got to make this album.
WHICH MUSICIANS IN PARTICULAR HAVE INFLUENCED THIS ALBUM?
I think the two artists I’ve listened to the most while writing this album are Candi Staton and Otis Reading, they’ve been my two favourites. I’ve listened to them a lot over the past couple of years as well as while growing up.
WHAT INSPIRED THE TRACKS?
Lyrically it was just anything I fancied writing about – different situations I’ve been in, experiences I’ve had. I feel like soul music, a lot of it is about heartbreak, or something that you want to sing from the soul. Those kinds of topics are the most emotional, the most soulful, so naturally a lot of the stuff I’ve written for this album is in that vein.
DOES THE ALBUM REFLECT HOW MUCH YOU’VE GROWN UP IN THE LAST THREE YEARS SINCE YOUR SECOND ALBUM?
Yeah, I think so. I have been in a relationship while working on this album whereas I wasn’t for my first and second. Anything that’s about love, whether good or bad, I feel like I can relate to it on a whole different level now. When I started writing my first album I was about 14, so I would always write about what my friends had been through or what I thought it would feel like. Now I can really relate to it all.
WOULD YOU SAY THIS ALBUM IS A TRUER REPRESENTATION OF YOU WHO ARE?
Yeah definitely, I think this album represents me the best. It’s more my kind of vibe.
WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION FOR THE VIDEO FOR ‘NASTY’? WAS IT A REFERENCE TO CHRISTINA AGUILERA’S ‘DIRTY’?
No it wasn’t actually. The song’s called ‘Nasty’ so we had to do something fitting. When I was writing the treatment the inspiration for it was actually Dirty Dancing the movie; in particular the scene when Baby first walks into a room where they’re all dancing and she drops the watermelons because she’s shocked. She sees all these people dirty dancing with each other and it’s all sweaty and underground, a completely new. That was the main inspiration. We also had this innocent vibe, and then by the end everyone’s dancing and getting involved. We had a scene with me and my two friends walk down the street to the party, it was meant to be a more prim and proper look however it actually ended up looking really Clueless because there were three of us and we were all dressed up, there’s only a few flashes of that scene though so blink and you might miss it.
HOW INVOLVED ARE YOU IN YOUR OWN STYLING?
I’m always involved in my styling. I have a really great stylist called Abigail and she comes in and brings a selection of clothes and I’ll just pick my favourite things. I’ve always liked 60s style and I’ve been able to really embrace it with this album because of the sound. I like looks which are quite classic but quirky as well.
THERE’S A CONSTANT FURORE AROUND WOMEN AND SEX IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY. DO YOU THINK FEMALE ARTISTS ARE EXPECTED TO USE SEX TO SELL?
I don’t feel like it’s too expected. It definitely is happening a lot at the moment. I think those who have a raunchy, revealing style aren’t pressured into it, it’s not the label forcing them into it. I feel like that’s exactly what they want to do and it’s more or less their idea, they want to express themselves that way. I think men and women are equal and if some girls want to express themselves like that then they can.
DO YOU THINK FEMALE RECORDING ARTISTS ARE TOO HEAVILY CRITICISED?
Yeah I think there is criticism around women in the industry, and men, there is just criticism in general. Artists are definitely taking more risks and doing what they want to do.
WHAT DIRECTION DO YOU WANT TO TAKE YOUR CAREER IN THIS YEAR? WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED FOR?
I’m most excited for the album finally being out and people being able to hear what I’ve been working on. The release goes hand in hand with doing loads of shows so I’m looking forward to performing live, because of the sound of the album I can have a big band and have a brass section which I never have before. The first time I performed ‘Nasty’ was on The Jonathan Ross Show recently and that was so much fun, I hope I get to do that loads. So excited to just tour with this sound and the band and let people hear me play live in that way and go travelling with it. That’s it really, just really excited for people to hear the rest of the album.
Pixie Lott’s self-titled album will be out on 12 May.