You may think you’ve seen girlbands before, but it’s been a <very> long time since you’ve seen one quite like the Ultra Girls. Going back to the roots of what it means to be girls in a band, Lucy, Lauren, Amy and Laura are taking the essence of Girl Power but moving it into the 21st Century by adding slick dance moves, funky vocals and lashings of attitude.
Hailing from Leeds, this four-piece are proud Northerners – warning: any Southerners might need subtitles when the girls get into full excitable mode – and want to put their city on the music map. The perfect antidote for anyone sick of dirgy indie or tacky ballads, these are the sort of girls you’d see on a Saturday night leading a nightclub full of people to a made up dance routine.
“We’re young and fun. We want you to dance with us, wear your trackies with us and go crazy. It’s not ‘look how sexy we are’ its girls singing about girls lives, not taking it too seriously or being too polished.”
Or, to quote their own lyrics, “Trouble with a capital T”.
Ultra Girls’ story begins in March 2008, on a wet and windy rugby pitch when the girls were all dancers for Leeds Rhinos rugby club. They soon realised they all had an unfulfilled love for singing and were, “Bored of waiting on the sidelines”. So during one particularly boring car journey back from a game the girls decided it was time to man up, show each other what they could do and put <themselves> on the starting line to see if they had what it takes.
Despite their distinct musical tastes – from indie to R&B, Motown to extreme pop – the girls were united in two things: their teenage love for the Spice Girls and the belief the industry was missing a girlband with raw energy that danced as well as they sung. Hardcore rehearsals followed for six months, but instead of doing a few little pub gigs to one man and his dog, the girls decided to throw themselves in at, the very deepest bit of the deep end.
“Our first gig was at Elland Road stadium in front of 32,000 people” explains Amy “We were clueless. We didn’t know what we were doing, but we absolutely loved it.” More gigs round the city followed until a little thing called the <X Factor> came along in 2009. The girls decided to give it a go and surprised even themselves, when they made it all the way to Louis Walsh’s house. Despite leaving the show at that stage, it cemented what they’d always know: that singing was their destiny. “For us that was just the beginning,” says Lauren It gave us so much confidence and cemented exactly what Project A was all about.” Project A? Huh? “Well that was the original name, a ‘work in progress’. We left that name behind, as we wanted something that summed up where we are now, as well as showing our personalities and energy.”
And the girls’ personalities are as distinct as their looks. If there was an award for best stomach on a girl in pop ever, it would go to Lauren Green, 23, who brings an urban vibe to the group – though before that she went to stage school, then joining a tribute act with Tom from the Wanted – he did Take That, she did Girls Aloud. She got the funk.
Ultra number two is blonde Amy Burrow, 27. As the eldest of the group, she gives the impression of being the most sensible, but is also obsessed with Jared Leto and er, Peter Andre. Her love for performing developed when she was a young teenager and joined a dance and drama group, where even then she was crazy about pure pop, “I’ve always listened to Britney, Backstreet Boys, Nync, even Aqua. Anything that just makes you feel good and dance around. I hate it when people say pop’s cheesy.”
Looking like a cross between the best bits of Alexa Chung and Rachel Stevens, is Laura Henderson though her bandmates aren’t always so complimentary, “Lucy tells me I act like a lad”. The 22 year old lives with her family and two cats – one’s called Ruby who used to be a girl, but is now a boy. Obviously!
There’s cheeky. And then there’s Lucy “I can’t sit here and not speak” Graham. A 21 year old bundle of energy, who first started performing age three, “I loved being centre of attention even then”. But beneath the bolshy exterior lies a hugely ambitious core, I want us to be number one around the world.” Beside, her psychic told her she was going to be big in Germany.
So when you’re aiming big, you’ve got to be surrounded by big, and the team who are helping the girls along the way are none other than Pop’s dream team (aka the newly christened Ultra Family). Including executive producer Steve Anderson (Kylie, Westlife, Britney), stylist Kenny Ho (Spice Girls & Girls Aloud), songwriter and musical director Sarah deCourcy (Christophe Willem, Kylie & Mel C), choreographers Aaron Sillis (Kylie & Cheryl Cole) and Tony Testa (Lady Gaga, Britney, Kylie, and Michael Jackson). “We’re the luckiest girlgroup in the world!” they, quite rightly, say.
After a 12 month whirlwind of refining their modern-energetic pop sound and beginning to write their own songs and commuting between Leeds and London the girls are gearing up for the launch of their new single, <Girls Will be Girls>, next year. Their debut is an old-school up-lifting belter with tight vocals and of course a funky dance routine and they have very high hopes “We can’t pretend we don’t want a number one. Of course we do. We want to walk into a club and see everyone singing along,” says Lucy. They’re also halfway through the first album due in Summer 2011 – as well as gigging all over the place; recently supporting Tinchy Stryder.
They put it best themselves, “People are just waiting for a girlband to come and shake things up. Not just be present but completely take over and knock everyone else dead.”
Supermodel Miranda Kerr Reveals Baby Bump. Miranda Kerr has revealed the proof of her pregnancy for the first time in a video to promote her new organic skincare line. The Australian supermodel, who recently married Orlando Bloom in a secret ceremony, unveils her tiny baby bump while she practices yoga in the video. Kerr, 27, announced last month that she is expecting her first child with the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star. And although she’s already in her fourth month, her bump displays just a small rise from her diminutive figure. The video is for her organic skincare line Kora, in which she can be seen practicing yoga and speaking on her healthy lifestyle. The supermodel and the actor announced their engagement in June. A month later, they announced that they had married in “an intimate ceremony,” prompting speculations that they had speedy wedding because she was pregnant. In August, Kerr admitted to the Spanish edition of Vogue that she already is four months along.
Nelly Furtado Debuts New Songs At Concert. Nelly Furtado is getting ready to make her comeback to the music scene with her upcoming English language album. She surprised fans by performing two new tracks at a recent concert. Furtado headlined the Orange Warsaw Festival in Poland where she debuted the new tracks, but some fans might have already recognized them. The two songs, “Free” and “Girlfriend In the City,” had recently leaked online and are set to be featured on her new album “Lifestyle,” Furtado’s fourth English language album and fifth studio album overall. “Lifestyle” follows the release of her first Spanish language album last year, “Mi Plan.” “Lifestyle” is her first English album since 2006′s “Loose,” which yielded the #1 hits “Say It Right” and “Promiscuous.” On “Free,” Furtado aims at a pulsating dance sound on the Salaam Remi-produced track, only hinted at on previous singles like “Maneater” off “Loose.” On “Girlfriend in the City,” Furtado uses a more organic, string-based production for a song more reminiscent of her underrated “Folklore” album. For the new album, she also hooked up Timbaland, who produced most of “Loose.” She’s also rumored to be working with Ryan Tedder, who produced Beyonce’s “Halo” and Kelly Clarkson’s “Already Gone.” The album was originally set for release back in May, but is now expected to drop before year’s end.
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