Wonderland.

Vanessa White

Sparking a solo career, we meet Vanessa White as she steps away from The Saturdays.

Tie dye tracksuit by MM6

Tie dye tracksuit by MM6

One of my only fond memories of The Saturdays is their insanely catchy Comic Relief special “Just Can’t Get Enough” which, of course, wasn’t really their song but a cover of Depeche Mode’s 80s classic. Still, whether you’re a die-hard Sats-head or a chart hating warrior, Vanessa White’s new RnB solo work is indisputably likeable.

At 26, White’s already had a fairly long career in the music business by industry standards (she joined The Saturdays when she was only 17) and in that time she’s learned the essentially fleeting nature of pop success, telling me, “it’s gone so fast. It sounds ridiculous but I really am just enjoying this whole process and really taking it all in because it can be over tomorrow.” That’s not to say the group’s split was an acrimonious, Robbie-leaving-Take That kind of breakup: the girls are all still friends who regularly reminisce over iMessage about their time as Britain’s girl-pop darlings. But in the year following their 2015 perma-hiatus, White jumped straight into her own music, explaining, “I spent every day, basically, of last year in the studio which was a nice process actually, but it was a bit scary at first because I wasn’t really used to going into the studio on my own. So that was a big thing. But now I love it.”

Going in the studio solo meant more song writing for White, who laughs, “I always had that creative fire in my belly, I needed to do it.” That soulful fire is burning hot on her EP, “Chapter 1”, a stark departure from The Saturday’s bubble-gum synthetics and one which looks back to White’s own 90s RnB idols likes Brandy and Mariah Carey. Although she remembers to add, “I love pop music and that was a different experience and obviously that was what we were,” I get the sense that White is pretty happy to be making music she loves and being herself, free from the constraints of an airbrushed girl ensemble.

Organza dress by PRADA

Organza dress by PRADA

Soundcloud-released tracks like “Relationship Goals” (“what we got here is realer than most / boy, this is so much more than a Instagram post”) and “Don’t Wanna Be Your Lover” (“It was supposed to be fun / Not exclusive we both knew that from the start”) stake White as a true generation-Y songwriter, attune to the social media contexts and anti-romantic sentiments that supposedly characterise so many post-millennial relationships. It’s a style that’s gone done well with fans of The Saturdays, a demographic that were White’s biggest concern: “I thought they might hate it because it’s so different to what I was doing before, but actually I’ve been lucky as the response has been really nice and I haven’t actually had a bad comment from a Sats’ fan. So that was quite shocking.”

Shocking to her, but not to me. After all, The Saturdays’ fans (and their musical tastes) are all grown up now, a bit like White herself: mature, not jaded. In fact, when White ponders, “it’s weird, I still feel like a new artist in a lot of ways because I guess everything that I’m doing now is completely different to what I’ve done before. So even though I kind of have the experience, it all feels very new to me,” I believe her. She still seems surprised at her own success, but with a follow up album to the excellent ‘Chapter 1’ in the pipeline, now might be the time to get used to it.

Jacket by GIVENCHY, bikini by LISA MARIE FERNANDEZ, vintage silk top and skirt by PRADA

Jacket by GIVENCHY, bikini by LISA MARIE FERNANDEZ, vintage silk top and skirt by PRADA
Words
Benji Walters
Photographer
Leonn Ward
Fashion Editor
Issey Brunner
Makeup Artist
Heidi North
Hair
Nick Peters
Vanessa White

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