Victoria Hesketh is probably better known as Little Boots. Despite the fact she's yet to have a hit record, her name has been bandied about for the best part of a year as one of the hottest new talents around. Having initially entered the spotlight four years ago as the lead singer in Leeds new wavers Dead Disco, she found a new level as a solo performer after the group's demise.
With a new single ('New In Town') out at the end of this month followed by her debut long player 'Hands' in June, Contact Music couldn't think of any better time to get the lowdown on Ms Hesketh, prior to her biggest show to date at London's Roundhouse venue as part of this year's Camden Crawl.
How's the Camden Crawl been for you so far?
I haven't really seen that much to be honest. I've been doing press shoots and interviews pretty much the whole time I've been here, so not had the chance to check anyone out yet. The atmosphere seems really relaxed though. It's definitely one of the more laidback festivals I've been to.
There's been a growing swell of publicity around you, not least off the back of being voted the BBC's first choice as "The Sound of 2009". That must be a heavy burden to carry at times?
There is a lot of expectation being put on me, for sure, particularly with the album because a lot of people still aren't that aware of my music, but at the same time I don't really care about it that much because musically I couldn't be happier with what I've achieved so far. Some days I go crazy, some days I'm fine; you just have to change your focus every so often and try to ignore it the best you can. At the end of the day, if people who buy the records don't like the songs then its irrelevant what critics think; it's all about translating the scenario into reality. The tour dates are selling pretty well - quite a few of the dates have actually sold out now - and the single is being played on daytime radio so in a way, for me its almost like a dream rather than reality as well.
When you were in the band Dead Disco, did it ever enter your mind back then that eventually you would make music as a solo artist in your own right?
Never consciously, no. I've always been in bands from the moment I first learnt to play an instrument and that's what I've always felt comfortable in, so it was quite a big step for me to go on my own, but at the same time I think its something I always knew I was capable of, but never really had the confidence in me to actually go ahead and do. In hindsight, it's probably the best decision I've ever made!
Musically you've made an impact within several scenes. Where do you see yourself in terms of being part of a specific genre, and where do you see Little Boots' music heading in the future?
To be honest, I'm glad you said that because if there's one thing I've always set out to do, it would be to cross as many boundaries and genres as possible. I'm a great fan of songwriting, and I really don't aim to place my songs within any set generic confines; to me, all great songs cross boundaries, and that's what I hope to achieve with mine. I'm really glad that my music has made something of an impact in so many different areas of music, and if I can keep on doing that in the future then I must be doing something right!
You are scheduled to play many festivals this summer. How will your live set vary from show to show and what can we expect that maybe differs from the club shows you were playing at the back end of last year?
It all depends what kind of stage I'm playing on. The bigger the setting, the more elaborate the whole concept will be. Here for example, there will be more visuals and in terms of sound it should be quite expansive. The next one after here I think is Dot-To-Dot in Nottingham, and I believe that is more of a club-type set so it will be hard to use a lot of the props I use during my normal show. I think my live show has developed massively over the past six months or so; there's all different kinds of lighting, film projectors, even reworked, often improvised versions of some of the album tracks. I like to keep it as fresh as possible and hopefully go beyond people's expectations of what I'm all about.
Do you see Little Boots as being more of a live act than a studio-based one?
I don't really think you need to make the decision between the two really. I love working in the studio and I love playing live. I think it's healthy to get a good balance because if you spend too much time doing one you'd end up going crazy! Right now, I'm sick of writing and recording and just want to concentrate on playing live but I'm sure once the summer's over it'll be the other way round. I think one of the great things about being a musician, or an artist in general is that there are so many options, possibilities even, that are available to you so its best to try and take everything positive you possibly can from each experience.
The name "Little Boots". Where did that come from?
That was a nickname from a friend, who'd just seen a film called 'Caligula' where the main character was a Roman emperor also known as Little Boots, and she started calling it me!
When is the album 'Hands' due to be released?
The album should be out on June 8th and the new single two weeks earlier on May 25th. The single is called 'New In Town' and it's a song I wrote when I was in LA about being a stranger in a strange place and about how dangerous it can be venturing out because you don't know anyone.
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