One Direction's labelmates Little Mix have no thoughts of solo careers

Little Mix's (from left) Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Perrie Edwards, Jesy Nelson and Jade Thirlwall hold their Singapore debut show tonight.
Little Mix's (from left) Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Perrie Edwards, Jesy Nelson and Jade Thirlwall hold their Singapore debut show tonight.PHOTO: SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT SINGAPORE

The British band's Jade Thirlwall says the members get along really well and hope to keep going as a group

Call them the female version of One Direction.

Little Mix had auditioned as soloists on British talent show The X Factor in 2011, were later assembled as a group, then went on to sign with judge Simon Cowell's label Syco Music.

Unlike the hugely popular boyband who came in third in The X Factor, however, Little Mix won the contest and have since produced pop hits such as Black Magic and Secret Love Song.

Also, while their boyband compatriots have lost one member and are on a hiatus, the four girls - Jade Thirlwall, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Perrie Edwards and Jesy Nelson - appear chummy and united during a telephone interview with The Straits Times.

They will perform their debut show here tonight as part of their The Get Weird Tour, which is in support of their third album, Get Weird, and takes them to Europe, Oceania and Asia.

Thirlwall, 23, says they do not want to think about solo projects at this point. "It's far too early for that," she adds in a chirpy Northern accent.

We're not going to stop until we reach every goal and know we tried everything to be the biggest we could be.

JADE THIRLWALL on Little Mix's plans

They have almost hit the five- year mark of being a group. Labelmates One Direction are on a hiatus after five years together, but Thirlwall thinks Little Mix have "a lot more years to go".

The tension that seems to inevitably creep into pop groups - it happened to the likes of the Spice Girls and Girls Aloud - has not affected them yet. Instead, they are focused on bigger concerns and ambitions.

"We have high ambitions and we're not going to stop until we reach every goal and know we tried everything to be the biggest we could be," Thirlwall says.

"We get along really well and like one another's company. It'd be weird if we weren't together all the time."

She adds with a girlish giggle: "We're just going to keep going forever, hopefully."

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What is also unusual about Little Mix is that while most girl groups have a standout lead singer, all four girls in the band are strong singers in their own right.

Thirlwall shakes off suggestions of a girlband rivalry with Fifth Harmony, a five-member band who were also put together by judges as a group on The X Factor USA in 2012.

Both groups have smash hits, likable personalities and the latest in pop couture, but Thirlwall insists the competition is just friendly, "kind of like with football teams".

"You're allowed to support both of us - that's not a problem at all," she says. "We have a lot of fans who support both of us and that's fine."

She says Little Mix have tried to break into the United States market with some success. Despite some high-profile appearances on shows such as Good Morning America and The Ellen DeGeneres Show, their single Black Magic - which reached the 67th spot on the Billboard Top 100 charts - remains their highest charting success.

She says: "To crack America, you have to be there a lot, but we have so many other countries that want us, it wouldn't be quite fair to be there all the time - that's our biggest obstacle."

In the meantime, they have their 59-date world tour to fulfil, though they never thought they would make it halfway around the world to Singapore.

"When we got together, we had massive ambitions, we wanted to tour the world. But to know that places like Singapore are interested in us and want us to perform there - it's really bizarre for us," she says, sounding genuinely surprised.

"We've never been there, so it'll be lovely to see all the fans."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23, 2016, with the headline 'Weird for Little Mix to be soloists'. Print Edition | Subscribe