Photo courtesy of Four of Diamonds

meet the new uk girlbands

Forget the Spice Girls, this is the next generation of British popstars.

by Michael Cragg
|
28 January 2019, 1:01pm

Photo courtesy of Four of Diamonds

Despite what you might assume from our nostalgia rampant culture, we can't keep relying on the past. So, while it's reasonably exciting that the Spice Girls (sans Victoria) will be zig-a-zig-ahhing around some stadiums this summer, and everyone felt quite good about All Saints pulling on their combat trousers again for two comeback albums, we've got to start thinking about the future. Who are the next generation of UK girlbands that will take Little Mix's mantle when they decide to go on 'hiatus'? Where are the new harmony-filled bangers going to come from? Where are the new hair-flipping dance routines? Which band will feature the next bum-note-era Sarah Harding? And, crucially, who's going to be the first to figure out how to parlay Spotify plays and glossy mag photoshoots into actual chart success?

Here are three excellent new UK girlbands that might just have all the answers.

unperfect girlband shot by rachael wright
unperfect. Photography Rachael Wright

unperfect

Who are they and how did this happen?
Basically, the story goes that after Brian Higgins -- co-writer/producer of Cher's Believe and myriad amazing singles by the likes of Girls Aloud, Kylie and Pet Shop Boys -- spent years trying to find a new girlband for his Xenomania production house/independent label, the band ended up finding him. While Tiah, Chloe, Siobhan and Soipan, aka unperfect, were already part of the Xenomania family, songwriting and recording etc., they decided to become a band after spending the night chatting on a sofa at the Xenomania Christmas party. They went to Higgins with the idea and the rest is history.

What do they sound like?
Closer to the more 'organic' sound of Sugababes V1 mixed with vintage 90s pop/R&B, than the turbo-charged, what-the-hell-was-that of previous Xenomania girlband alumni Girls Aloud (although it's early days, this could all change of course).

What's their best song?
Er, well, they only have one, Gots to Give the Girl, but it's a good 'un so don't panic. It's safe to say some more songs will be along soon.

What do they have to say for themselves?
Let's find out…

What's the meaning behind the name?
Soipan: unperfect is the word that best defines us -- all our best qualities and all our flaws. We all come from completely different backgrounds, so we don’t necessarily experience the exact same things in the exact same way, but we’re all just young women trying our best and hopefully other young women and girls will see that in us.
Siobhan: We’re all about doing your best but still being yourself.

If you could describe your sound using only five words, one of which has to be a colour, what would those words be?
Tiah: Vibrant. Funky. Fresh. Quirky.
Chloe: Indie.
Tiah: I’d go with the colour orange.
Chloe: Why?
Tiah: Orange is an unusual favourite colour.
Chloe: Unless you’re from Essex. Like me.
Tiah: I just think orange is different.
Chloe: Alright then, let’s go with that.

Who would you most like to collaborate with in the future out of the following artists: Calvin Harris, Sean Paul, one of Migos?
Chloe: All three.
Tiah: I want Calvin Harris for how well the song would do, Migos for how cool it would be.
Siobhan: I don’t know who Migos is.

How many good songs do you have so far?
Siobhan: Seven.
Tiah: Eight.
Soipan: Seven that we have music videos for already.
Siobhan: Maybe more by the time you read this... we’re writing five songs today.

What Spotify playlist would you be most excited about featuring on?
Chloe: Billboard Top 100.
Siobhan: Hot Hits UK? I just want to be able to open Spotify and see us without having to search it.
Tiah: Yeah, I don’t care as long as we’re the cover pic.
Soipan: I use Apple Music.

If you could come up with a Girl Power style mantra to represent your band, what would it be and why?
Chloe: 'Yeah, why not?'
Soipan: Yeah, I'd say we're less about 'whys' and much more about 'why nots'.
Siobhan: That’s pretty much us, we don’t care, we’ll try anything.

Is it okay for one member not to be able to dance?
Soipan: Loads of people don’t know how to dance, so it’s alright, I guess.
Tiah: The whole thing about our band is that no one can be perfect, so if you can’t dance that’s fine.
Chloe: I’m a dancer, and I don’t care.
Siobhan: Even if you can’t dance, you should dance. It’s an expression of yourself.

What's the name of your WhatsApp group chat?
Chloe: Xeno (SSTC ONLY). It’s where we go to plot against our managers.
Siobhan: There are others but that’s our main one.

Finally, the big one: Sugababes, TLC, Destiny's Child, Girls Aloud or Little Mix?
All: Destiny’s Child.
Chloe: Sorry, Brian!

303 band photo on a london rooftop
303. Photography Dhamirah Coombes

303

Who are they?
They are teenagers Maddie, Io and Chloe, bonded by a love of 00s R&B and, if the video for Whisper is anything to go by, vintage flip phones. The band started after Londoners Io and Maddie, who would often perform TLC classics together, met northerner Chloe who impressed them with her covers of Drake songs.

What do they sound like?
Whisper sounds like a lost 90s R&B slow jam; think 702, SWV and Blaque with a slight 2019 twist. As you'd imagine, the harmonies are very close to perfection.

What's their best song?
Whisper. Yes, it's their only song so far, but it's a pretty impressive start.

What do they have to say for themselves?
Let's find out...

What’s the meaning behind the name please?
303: We all came together on the 30th of March 2017. It just seemed fitting to keep that as our name as it holds such a meaning for us.

If you could describe your sound using only five words, one of which has to be a colour, what would those words be?
303: Throwback, warm, fresh, unique, purple.

Who would you most like to collaborate with in the future out of the following artists: Calvin Harris, Sean Paul, one of Migos?
303: One of Migos.

How many good songs do you have so far?
303: We’re constantly writing new songs and coming up with new material. We probably have around 8-9 songs that we would be happy with at the moment but that’s going up all the time!

Are you desperate to have a top 10 hit in the next few years?
303: We’re sure any new artist on the scene would love that, having a top 10 hit is definitely one of our goals!

What Spotify playlist would you be most excited about featuring on?
303: It would be great to feature on the Have a Great Day playlist or to bring some more girl power to the Walk in Like You Own the Place playlist. Also the This Is How We Do, R&B UK and Soultronic playlists.

If you could come up with a Girl Power-style mantra to represent your band, what would it be and why?
303: A hungry girl is not a happy girl.

Is it okay for one member not to be able to dance?
303: Totally! We all have different dance backgrounds with different levels of experience but even if one of us didn’t, it wouldn’t matter. We’re here for the music not the pirouettes!

What's the name of your WhatsApp group chat?
303: 303 family.

Finally, the big one: Sugababes, TLC, Destiny's Child, Girls Aloud or Little Mix?
303: Destiny’s Child!!!

four-of-diamonds girlband laying in the grass
Photo courtesy of Four of Diamonds

Four of Diamonds

Who are they?
Sophia, Lauren, Caroline, Yasmin. Maybe you recognise them from X Factor series 13? No, well that's okay, they got lumbered with Louis Walsh as a mentor and crashed out in week five. Since then, they've signed to Virgin EMI and steadily unleashed a clutch of personality-packed bops. Their most recent, Blind, was produced by Jonas Blue and sampled Kym Sims 90s classic, Too Blind to See It.

What do they sound like?
Think all-out, attitude-laden pop along the lines of Little Mix and The Saturdays.

What's their best song?
Messy house party anthem, Stupid Things.

What do they have to say for themselves?
Let's find out...

What’s the meaning behind the name please?
Yasmin: When we first met we were playing cards in the rehearsal studio trying to think of a name. We’d been racking our brains for hours! And then we started going through the card names. We thought about ‘four of hearts’ first and then tried ‘four of diamonds’ and it just worked perfectly. We thought, well, diamonds are unbreakable and so are we. We’re a unit.

If you could describe your sound using only five words, one of which has to be a colour, what would those words be?
Sophia: Relatable, catchy, unique, empowering, red (because it’s bold and unapologetic).

Who would you most like to collaborate with in the future out of the following artists: Calvin Harris, Sean Paul, one of Migos?
Lauren: Oooh tough one! I think for me it would be Calvin Harris, his songs always have such an epic beat that you can’t help but get up and dance and I love that! Who doesn’t love to dance?

Are you desperate to have a top 10 hit in the next few years?
Yasmin: OMG. Yes! That would be incredible and such an achievement. We’re just going to keep making the music we love and hopefully in the next few years it will happen!

What Spotify playlist would you be most excited about featuring on?
Sophia: Spotify have been really good to us so far and we’re so grateful for their support. Whenever we’ve been added to the New Music Friday playlist we’ve got so excited! But I think the next step would be a playlist like Hot Hits UK. That would be AMAZING.

If you could come up with a Girl Power style mantra to represent your band, what would it be and why?
Lauren: Oooooh good question! I think our mantra would be ‘love yourself’ or ‘you do you’. It’s tough nowadays in this social media-driven world, but we think it’s so important to just love yourself the way you are and not try to conform to what you think might be ‘in’ or popular!

What's the name of your WhatsApp group chat?
Yasmin: The name of our group chat is actually really boring I feel like I might change it after this. It’s literally ‘FOD the girls’. I don’t think we’ve changed it since we met lol.

Finally, the big one: Sugababes, TLC, Destiny's Child, Girls Aloud or Little Mix?
Sophia: Could you possibly pick a more difficult question! Erm... would have to be TLC or Destiny’s Child for me. I love my R&B.