Bursting with energy and bent on brightening up the airwaves with their seductive electro pop, The Saturdays are injecting the music industry with a high-strength dose of fun.
With three top 10 hits, an official Comic Relief single and the US achievements of their Spice Girl idols locked firmly in their sights, bandmates Una Healy, Mollie King, Vanessa White, Rochelle Wiseman and Frankie Sandford are proudly heralding the next generation of girl power.
In contrast with sullen lyrics from young artists trying their best not to crack a smile, these fresh-faced young women are unabashed advocates of happy, uplifting pop.
Mollie, the group’s 21-year-old blonde bombshell, said: “Why are people ashamed of pop?
“Everyone’s taking themselves so seriously at the moment. We’re a proper, full-on girl band and we are loving it.”
London-born Mollie had her first glimpse of band life as a member of Fallen Angelz, a girl group founded on ‘The X Factor’ in 2007.Â
Her fellow Saturdays Frankie and Rochelle had a more successful start to their music careers when, along with six other youngsters, they bounced onto the scene in 2001 as chirpy pre-teen group S Club Juniors – later called S Club 8.
When the group split up in 2004, Frankie found herself even hungrier for pop success.
Why are people ashamed of pop? Everyone’s taking themselves so seriously at the moment. We’re a proper, full-on girl band and we are loving it.
The 20-year-old singer said: “It doesn’t get much better than Pop! It’s fun and you can really play around with your sound! Bring it back!”
Essex-born Frankie – whose long S Club locks have been chopped into an edgy page boy crop – is the group’s outspoken prankster. She has also recently acquired a superstar boyfriend – McFly’s 21-year-old bassist, Dougie Poynter.
Rochelle was just 12 years old when she joined the S Club Juniors, and only 15 when the group disbanded. She went on to present BBC children’s show ‘Smile’ but Rochelle was always eager to return to singing.
Now 19, the striking teenager – who is part Sierra Leonean – says there’s nothing better than being “five normal, well, normal-ish, girls that can have fun, sing and perform together to music we love!”
At 27, Una is the group’s music veteran. The Irish beauty – dubbed “the classy one” by her bandmates – is an all-rounder, with talent for songwriting men’s magazine FHM likens to that of Oasis’ Noel Gallagher. Before she joined the girly group, Una was a regular fixture on Ireland’s live music circuit – she even won Ireland’s famed Glinsk Song Contest in 2004 and 2006.
Eight years Una’s junior, Vanessa brings soaring vocals to the group. The petite 19-year-old, who appeared in the West End production of ‘The Lion King’, joined The Saturdays fresh from London’s prestigious Sylvia Young Theatre School.
Since Polydor’s Fascination Records introduced the girls in late 2007, The Saturdays have been steadily approaching their goal of being Britain’s biggest female group.
While their debut track ‘Is This love’ failed to bring the instant chart-topping success experienced by the Spice Girls and Girls Aloud, The Saturdays safely scored a top ten hit, debuting at number 8 in the UK singles chart.
Single ‘Up’, released in October 2008, took the group to number 5 and also appeared on the US charts after it featured in popular sitcom ‘Ugly Betty’.
The band’s debut album ‘Chasing Lights’ – released the same month – went to number nine in the UK album charts.
The group’s next single ‘Issues’ brought them their greatest success to date. Released in the January 2009, the song rose to number four in the UK single charts.
A mammoth PR offensive of radio and TV appearances, a September support slot with The Jonas Brothers at the Hammersmith Apollo, performing at Capital FM’s Jingle Bell Ball in December and even guest starring in Channel 4’s soap spinoff ‘Hollyoaks Later’, got the girls even more exposure.
The Saturdays have enjoyed increasing success, but they owe it all to Girls Aloud – it was a supporting slot on the BRIT Award-winning girl group’s summer 2008 tour that first catapulted The Saturdays onto the pop radar.
Rochelle said: “It was the best experience we could have ever asked for. It was amazing and the girls are lovely and were so nice to us!”
The tour kicked off in Belfast on May 3 and took the five foxy singers across Britain, with ten open air concerts and 24 arena dates.
Frankie adds: “We were so lucky to go on tour so quickly! To watch them kind of taught us a lot about what we need to do to get where they are and it gave us a goal, and I think it was the best thing we could have ever done!”
But while The Saturdays are eager to learn from their well-established mentors, they are also desperate to overtake them and become the biggest girl band in Britain.
Rochelle said: “Eventually we want to be bigger than them – but at the moment we just want to go head-to-head with them. We love them and respect what they’ve achieved and obviously we have to remember that we are a new band and they’ve been around for a long time.”
It’s clear that behind the fluttering lashes and cherubic smiles The Saturdays are fiercely competitive – when their manager put up signs in their dance studio to find members for a new girl band, Rochelle admits she ripped them down.
Mollie is also keen to tell anyone who will listen that she finds it “a bit weird” that Girls Aloud aren’t battling to crack the US – global success is something The Saturdays desperately crave.
Frankie said: “No British girl group has made it in America since the Spice Girls but we are hoping to. We worked with Rihanna’s producers to give us more of an American sound.”
But before they can think about conquering the other side of the Atlantic, Mollie, Una, Rochelle, Vanessa and Frankie have a career-defining challenge much closer to home.
The Saturdays’ fourth single – a cover of Depeche Mode’s ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ – is an official song for this year’s Comic Relief, and the girls are desperate to continue the historic success of the charity track by getting their best chart result yet.
Rochelle said: “There is a lot of pressure on us because Comic Relief singles have gone to number one in the past and we want to sell enough.”
If the single, released on March 1, does take the girls to the top spot, the girls will be one step closer to filling the shoes of their Spice Girl idols.
Mollie said: “I remember watching the Spice Girls doing “Who Do You Think You Are” and now it’s us! I cannot wait!”
The Saturdays – five beautiful girls, each boldly championing their individual character and style – do seem to fit a little too perfectly into the Spice Girl mould. But while they can’t escape the manufactured label, the girls are adamant their strong identities are 100 per cent real.
Frankie said: “We’re not models who can’t sing – we can all sing, we can all dance, and no one’s telling us who to be or what to do. We’re all different because we’re just ourselves, and that’s the way it should be.”