Saturday, January 9, 2016

The reinvention of Vanessa White

When The Saturdays went on hiatus, did anyone notice (apart from, maybe, the talent bookers on Sunday Brunch)? Somehow, we ended up in a situation where Britain's biggest girlband were also Britain's most forgettable girlband, thanks to a series of underwhelming singles and bizarre stylistic switches.

So I don't think anyone was expecting much from their solo careers. Not even the band's label - who appear not to have optioned singer Vanessa White (aka Shorty Saturday) for any future releases. They're going to regret that - because the 26-year-old's solo material is surprisingly good.

White has eschewed the gaudy pop of her former band for a sophisticated brand of neo-soul. You can tell its sophisticated because all the press shots are in black and white.

"It's actually quite nice to do something a little different, she told Schön magazine. "I've always been a fan of that type of music anyway."

Unusually for a British artist, her take on R&B doesn't feel like a cheap or plasticky counterfeit of a US original. Vanessa has the vocal chops to carry it off, and with glitchy beats from the likes of Future Cut and Snakehips, her music sounds contemporary and cutting-edge.

Early tracks Relationship Goals and Don't Wanna Be Your Lover have been playlisted on Beats 1, where her latest single Nostalgia has just premiered.

Ok. We're not talking about Justin Bieber levels of redemptive astonishment here - but that's a good song, don't you agree?

Nostalgia features on Vanessa's new EP, Chapter One, which also includes Relationship Goals and the Wretch 32 collaboration Lipstick Kisses. The stunning video was created by visual director and animator Rob Heppell - famed for his work with Crystal Fighters and New Pharaohs - while the song was written by Vanessa herself with the help of former Saturdays writer Thomas Eriksen and Little Mix tunesmith Iain James.

The EP is out on 19th February, fact fans.

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