Today, Pixie was seen arriving at ITV studios for rehearsal for The BRITs Are Coming which airs tonight at 10.35pm on ITV. Tune in and see Pixie performing live her new single “Nasty” for the very first time.
Tuneful pop bird Pixie Lott has teamed up with superstars-in-the-making The Vamps to record (and release!) a new version of the boys’ yet-to-be released second single ‘Wild Heart’. The video appeared online today as the final Gifts From The Vamps, and will appear on iTunes at midnight tonight – 2 weeks before the original song’s official release. Watch Brad and Pixie make sweet, harmonious music together in the clip below and start counting those pennies, this is one for the iPod.
At just 22, singer-songwriter Pixie Lott has two platinum albums under her belt and is about to release a third. Oh, and she’s dating a male model. So where does all the angst in her lyrics come from, wonders Liz Jones?
Pixie Lott is late. Only 40 minutes but, as she tells me when she arrives at the studio in East London, not too far from her home, she is always late. ‘I will say to my friend, “We will meet here at this time,” and something will happen and I get caught up and won’t be there for another hour. That’s my worst thing. I’m working on it. It’s my New Year’s resolution.’
She is wearing a very short tweed dress, buttoned up to her chin but which reveals her buttocks every time she hugs someone – the photographer, the make-up artist. Also black-rimmed spectacles, a hairband and flat patent pumps. ‘This dress I designed and had made when I was in China [she is very big in China]. I chose the fabric, then told them how I wanted it to look. The patent pumps belonged to my nan.’
Pixie’s maternal grandmother died not long ago. Her mum, too, has been a source of fashionable borrowing: apparently she has lots of old Vivienne Westwood ‘bodies’. ‘I took her vintage Chanel bag to Las Vegas, and I lost it. I was so upset: it was my favourite bag ever. I thought I was going to be in so much trouble. I phoned her up and said, “Something really bad has happened.” Her heart was pounding, she thought something terrible had happened to me. So when I told her I’d lost her bag she was like, “Oh, OK, that’s fine.”’
Has she bought her a replacement? ‘No, but I’m treating my mum, dad, my older sister, brother and my boyfriend to a skiing holiday.’ Her sister Charlie Ann got married recently and Pixie wrote a song, which she sang at the wedding. ‘It was a surprise, but she probably knew I was going to do it.’ Both her sister and brother Stephen work in the City. Pixie is only 22 and is, of course, already a huge success.
Her first two albums, Turn it Up in 2009 and Young Foolish Happy in 2011, both went platinum. She has been co-writing her third, entitled Pixie Lott, in the two years since, in studios ‘the whole time’ in London, New York and Miami. Was she not worried that her fans would move on to someone new? ‘I wasn’t. I feel if you have a voice, like Lily Allen or Joss Stone, you can come back at any time.’
In the hiatus, it seems her fellow female recording stars have changed. Rihanna, Miley Cyrus have all been removing their clothes. Hell, even Ellie Goulding appeared on The X Factor with the sides of her Julien Macdonald gown missing. ‘I think each to their own, fair enough. Maybe [Ellie] was experimenting with fashion. I’ve never felt pressured to dress a certain way. It’s tricky. I would never go to extremes. But I’ve definitely done videos that are more raunchy than others just because of what the song is about.’
Her favourite period in fashion is the 1960s. I give Pixie a great big theatrical yawn. Hasn’t that decade been done to death? But Pixie, who looks very slight, indeed like an elf or a fawn, and has an endearing lisp and little-girl voice, will not be moved. ‘I love everything about the 60s. I love Brigitte Bardot and Edie Sedgwick as style icons, I love the whole fashion from that era.’ Did she see the biopic about Sedgwick, where she was played by Sienna Miller? ‘It’s my favourite film.’
She once brought out a range for Lipsy, but has no time to design dresses at the moment. ‘But I would love to do a collaboration that’s purely me. I think if I had to do it now the clothes would have a 60s vibe. But it takes time because you have to do the sketches. Music comes first.’
She grew up in Kent and then Essex, and her mum Bev (a housewife; her dad is a stockbroker) was already a fan of Motown, Otis Redding, Bill Withers. I tell her that her new album doesn’t sound very retro, thank God. ‘It’s definitely modern and current and fresh. The first single – “Nasty” – sounds current but has lots of old-school samples in it, like James Brown, to give it that soul flavour.’
Was she nervous, playing her new material to the record company bosses? ‘I was in a boardroom and I had to play the new songs; it was just fun and nice. I wasn’t nervous. I am a really easy-going person and I kind of go with the flow a lot.’ Is she in control of her career? ‘I am more so now. For the video to the first single, I wrote the treatment. I start out prim and proper, innocent and well-dressed, and then I see this guy and the clothes are transformed into something a bit more nasty. It was a cool video to shoot.’
Pixie went to the Italia Conti stage school from the age of five – her real name is Victoria, but she has always been called Pixie, due to her diminutive size. Wasn’t that a nightmare: all those extrovert Bonnie Langford types? ‘Everyone was a bit crazy, but that is what made it fun. I met so many great people. One of my friends from school [Jasmyn Banks] plays Alice in EastEnders. She is the loveliest girl ever.’
She was writing songs aged 13, and admits she had no experience of a relationship to draw on, so simply sang about what was happening to her friends instead. Now she is with Oliver Cheshire, a male model. How did they meet? ‘We met at Fashion Week. It was a Vivienne Westwood after-party. We were introduced by a mutual friend and then met up when we were both in New York.’
Who asked who out? ‘He asked me, but it wasn’t just us two, we were with friends. I was only 19 at the time and looked a lot younger, so we couldn’t even get a drink!’ They have been together three years. Has he moved in yet? ‘No, but he is always round, he is always there. I really like being in the house by myself.’
Does he mind that some of the new songs are about him? Such as the entirely fictitious and hopefully not prophetic ‘Break Up Song’. ‘I don’t think he minds, because it makes great music; we are really strong.’ I tell her the best art comes out of tragedy, and she doesn’t seem to have experienced any real angst yet. ‘I think real emotion makes a better song. I just love writing about tragedy and heartbreak. I feel I’ve experienced it enough to write about it.’
But no boy has ever dumped you! ‘No, but there have definitely been hard times I’ve drawn from, arguments that make you feel like the world’s over. I think girls are more emotional than boys. That’s what makes the best songs and I’ve had those situations in the past couple of years.’ OK, so tell me about them. ‘I think just having a boyfriend, the ups and downs. He’s not naughty, but you know when you have disagreements, even if it’s something small, it can blow up massive. Also, my nan passing away.’
It’s always better if the man is less attractive than the woman, I add. Does she worry he is so good-looking that women will fall at his feet? ‘I don’t feel insecure at all.’ Does he? ‘He is used to me signing autographs and people taking pictures and stuff. He’s learnt how to deal with it. It was a shock when we were first going out but now he is fine with it.’ His modelling career won’t last for ever. ‘He has already started writing about fashion. He has a few strings to his bow.’
I ask her what is the most expensive thing she has ever bought, apart from her flat. ‘I recently bought my first Chanel bag. It’s just a little one. My flat is like a joke – there is so much stuff everywhere. I am going to announce a charity sale!’
How many Twitter followers does she have? ‘I’m not sure. Let me look on my phone.’ Except she can’t find her phone. It’s probably in the cab. Or on the floor at home. Pixie is endearingly scatty. Does she get any abuse on Twitter? ‘The comments are really positive. If I’m ever feeling sad, there are always nice messages on there that make me smile.’
When I ask her the name of the last album she downloaded, she can’t remember. Is there anything she does at home alone that she wouldn’t want others to see? ‘I play music really loud and dance around the house.’ Is she vain, does she have a beauty routine? She looks at me as though I am insane. ‘I don’t always take off my make-up before I go to bed,’ she says, squirming. ‘It’s because I’m really tired. But the other day we did a face mask, me and two of my friends.’
The most amazing person she has met so far? ‘The most, like, wow, was Stevie Wonder. On my 21st birthday, Lionel Richie sent a lovely message that was played at my party: “Happy Birthday” to the tune of “Easy”. It was the best present.’
Has success changed her? ‘I feel I’m exactly the same, I just obviously got busier. I’ve learnt loads, I’m not as naive. All my friends are from school. I see my family all the time, I listen to their advice. If I am upset I have them to rely on. I’ve been really lucky with my upbringing – my family are so close, we all love each other loads.’
I’ve added new unseen pictures from the “Pixie Lott” album shoot, shot by one of my favourite photographers Simon Emmett. They are LQ, but I’ll replace them with bigger-size ones as soon as possible.
I’ve added three photos in large quality from a photoshoot Pixie did with Damien Fry for FIASCO magazine this year. Check them out in the gallery.