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.