"Everybody come to the tour!" pitches Little Mix’s Leigh-Anne Pinnock excitedly down the phone. With their first ever New Zealand show upcoming this July, Pinnock wants all of their kiwi Mixers to know that the UK girl-group are "SO excited to come to New Zealand" and that it’s "gonna be amazing!"
And if you’ve already got your tickets but are pondering what to wear to this momentous occasion? Pinnock’s got your back: "Wear anything you feel comfortable in, but if you really wanna come in the theme you can dress in pastels because that’s a kind of 'Glory Days’ thing!"
Coup De Main caught up with Little Mix’s Leigh-Anne Pinnock at the end of last year to discuss the importance of "girls sticking together", her favourite lyrics she’s written, and the complicated weirdness of love...
"...you definitely have to go through all the thorns to find your rose, because even though you might think you’ve found your soulmate, sometimes they’re still not the one - it’s really strange. Love is such a weird and complicated thing, I don’t think there is any right or wrong thing about it, it is what it is. But I don’t think you should ever give up. If you get hurt, there definitely is always someone out there for you, 100%..."
CDM: You’ve been telling me in interviews since 2012 that you really want to come to New Zealand... and now you finally are! How are you feeling about your upcoming NZ tour?
LITTLE MIX - LEIGH-ANNE PINNOCK: We cannot wait! We’re SO excited to come to New Zealand! My godfather actually lives there, so he’s gonna be able to come and watch, and I can’t wait! It’s gonna be amazing!
CDM: That’s so cute you and Perrie both have NZ connections, her with her past best friend and you with your godfather.
LEIGH-ANNE: Yeah! I know!! It’s gonna be amazing.
CDM: Is there anything in particular you’d like to do in New Zealand if you have any time off?
LEIGH-ANNE: Well I don’t actually know a lot about it, but I’m really excited to be able to explore. Do you have nice beaches? I’m sure you do. I love beaches, so that’d be nice to go to a beach over there.
CDM: Do you know yet what will be on 'The Glory Days Tour' setlist?
LEIGH-ANNE: We don’t actually know yet, but we’re hoping to do a lot of songs from the new album. I don’t mean to blow my own trumpet but we’ve got a lot of hits now, so it’s gonna be hard to pick and choose which ones we want, but I think we love the new album so we want to get as much of the new album on it as possible.
CDM: The new album is so sassy, I can’t wait to see songs like 'Power' and 'You Gotta Not' live.
LEIGH-ANNE: Awww thank you! Definitely! It’s gonna be wicked.
CDM: You’ve been working with a songwriter called Maegan Cottone since 'Salute' and 'Move', but on 'Glory Days' she contributed as a vocal producer for most of the songs on your new album. I love that not only is the album lyrically so empowering, but you also worked with a female producer to create it. Do you think it’s important for women to band together and help each other out in the music industry?
LEIGH-ANNE: 100%, I think it’s just in general and not just the industry. Girls sticking together I think is so important, and that’s what we like to represent through our music and as friends, we all have each other’s backs and I think that is such an important message to show everybody and woman around the entire world!
CDM: Your friendship with each other in Little Mix is one of the bestest and truest things that exists in this whole wide world. It just makes me so happy that you all love each other so much, like when you distract paparazzi from hassling individual members of the band. Was there any particular moment in your friendship when you first were like, 'Yes! We are all going to be best friends forever and ever'?
LEIGH-ANNE: I think the moment that we looked each other in the face on-stage when they formed us, we just knew that it was gonna work 100%.
CDM: One of my favourite things about Little Mix is that it’s always been important to you girls to be involved in co-writing your albums. What are your favourite lyrics that you wrote for the new album?
LEIGH-ANNE: I love in ‘Down & Dirty’ when I say, "I ain't 'bout pretending, them haters be hating, my fashion be trending." And then there’s a line, "I started out making your pizzas," because I used to work in Pizza Hut - "Now I'm a believer, check out the stamps on my VISA, we international divas, but I started out making your pizzas." I love that line, because we have done so amazing, we know where we have all come from and we’ve worked so hard to get where we are!
CDM: You girls are definitely one of the hardest working acts in pop music right now!
LEIGH-ANNE: Awww thank you! Yeah you’ve got to put the hard work in to reap the benefits.
CDM: You name-drop Daenerys in 'Down & Dirty' - is she your pick for who will end up winning 'Game Of Thrones'?
LEIGH-ANNE: I 100% think she will. To be fair, I feel like it’s girl-power on ‘Game Of Thrones’ right now, it’s all about the women empowerment - isn’t it?! I think she deserves to win and come through.
CDM: Aside from Daenerys, who are some other strong women that you love?
LEIGH-ANNE: I like Emma Watson, I think she’s pretty amazing, she’s an awesome woman I like her a lot. Obviously, I personally love Rihanna, because I think she is absolutely incredible, I love her. I think Beyoncè is also really strong and empowering as well.
CDM: 'Shout Out to My Ex' is an incredibly relatable song. You say, "You made my heart break and that made me who I am." Do you think it’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all?
LEIGH-ANNE: 100%. Never regret anything that makes you smile and if it makes you happy at the time. Love is a very powerful thing and as much as it hurts like a bitch when it doesn’t go your way, it’s still an incredible thing to experience at the time and it really does make you happy when it’s a good thing.
CDM: There’s a quote about love which goes, "Lovers, well, they'll come and go too. And baby, I hate to say it, most of them - actually pretty much all of them are going to break your heart, but you can't give up because if you give up, you'll never find your soulmate. You'll never find that half who makes you whole and that goes for everything." Do you agree or disagree with that sentiment?
LEIGH-ANNE: Awww! I think you definitely have to go through all the thorns to find your rose, because even though you might think you’ve found your soulmate, sometimes they’re still not the one - it’s really strange. Love is such a weird and complicated thing, I don’t think there is any right or wrong thing about it, it is what it is. But I don’t think you should ever give up. If you get hurt, there definitely is always someone out there for you, 100%.
CDM: You sing about what love feels like in 'Touch' and 'Your Love', but what do you think the difference is between love and lust?
LEIGH-ANNE: I think the difference is... I can’t really answer that because I don’t really know what the difference is, because I’ve only really ever been in love and I haven’t really ever just lusted for someone I don’t think. Obviously lust is when you just... you’re horny. <laughs> I don’t know! Love is just very powerful, so I think you know when you’re in love!
CDM: What does love feel like for you?
LEIGH-ANNE: Oh god, it feels absolutely brilliant. It’s an amazing feeling but it can also be a very painful feeling, because if it doesn’t go your way then it is torture, absolute utter torture. But, I think when you are in love it’s beautiful - nothing else matters when you’re in love. Pardon the pun, it’s a song from the album! Everything becomes irrelevant in a bubble like you’re in a crazy dream... now I’m starting to get a bit deep so I’m gonna stop. <laughs> Oh dear...
CDM: Do you believe in love at first sight?
LEIGH-ANNE: 100%, I do believe in love at first sight. I do!
CDM: What do you think is the strongest human emotion?
LEIGH-ANNE: I reckon love, because the way it feels when you’re hurt, I think that is the most painful thing you’ll ever go through! Everyone kind of experiences it and everyone feels like they can relate to it so that’s probably why a lot of people write [songs] about it.
CDM: 'F.U.' is my favourite song on your new album. It’s so good! Do you have any advice for anyone struggling to get out of an unhealthy relationship?
LEIGH-ANNE: Thank you! You have to put yourself first and you have to think about-- just for your own sanity, I think you have to be happy and if they’re not making you happy and dragging you down for whatever reason, you have to get out of it. It doesn’t matter how much you love someone, you have got to look after yourself.
CDM: A lot of the new album is about leaving the past in the past, but 'Nobody Like You' is an exception to that. Why did you decide to include one ballad on the album?
LEIGH-ANNE: Because I feel like, sometimes there really is nobody like that person, especially at that time you don’t think you’re going to meet anyone like them, so a lot of people can relate to that, and sometimes when break-ups happen you just want to feel sad and I think we had to have a song on the album that you can listen to if you just wanna have a cry.
CDM: Can you recommend any of your favourite songs to listen to for anyone who is particularly relating to 'No More Sad Songs’ at the moment and wants to listen to something that will make them feel better?
LEIGH-ANNE: 'Tears' by [Clean Bandit feat.] Louisa Johnson! It’s a great one.
CDM: Songs like 'Oops' and ’Beep Beep’ sound like they should be in a musical, they have sort of a retro 'Grease' vibe. Would you ever be interested in performing in some kind of musical?
LEIGH-ANNE: That’s not really for me, if I’m honest, I don’t think I’d be able to do a musical. But I do know Jade [Thirlwall] would be amazing in a musical, she has always wanted to do that.
CDM: You must be excited to be going on tour with Ariana Grande next year. How did that come about?
LEIGH-ANNE: So basically, she has been a big fan of us and we bumped into her and she was like, "You guys are so dope, I’ve been watching your videos!" She’s lovely, really really lovely, so yeah we just managed to get onto the tour and I can’t wait, she’s so great and so talented!
CDM: Do you have a favourite Ariana song?
LEIGH-ANNE: From all of her albums, I think I love 'Honeymoon Avenue', and I love 'Tattooed Heart' - that’s one of my favourites.
CDM: You’ve already supported anti-bullying and Sport Relief campaigns, but are there any other campaigns you’d like to help?
LEIGH-ANNE: We do a lot for Cancer Connections, and that’s Jade’s charity. I’ve got a charity, because of a little boy in my area that drowned because he didn’t know how to swim, so it’s about teaching CPR in schools and things like that.
CDM: You girls are killing it - 'Glory Days' is the fastest-selling number one album by any girl group in 15 years (since Destiny’s Child's 'Survivor' in 2001). What’s left that you want to accomplish on your bucket-list?
LEIGH-ANNE: We want to have our own sell-out American tour, we want to sell out Madison Square Garden, we want to be the biggest girl-group in the world, so we’ve got a bit more to do definitely!
CDM: Lastly, do you have a message for your New Zealand fans?
LEIGH-ANNE: Yes! We cannot wait to see you, thank you so much for all the support we know we haven’t been over there yet but we cannot wait to come, and everybody come to the tour! Get your tickets when they’re available! Love you all! Mwah!