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Little Boots

Biography

Victoria Christina Hesketh (born 4 May 1984), also known by her stage name/pseudonym Little Boots, is an English electropop singer. As a musician Little Boots sings and plays the keyboard, piano, stylophone, and a Japanese electronic instrument called Tenori-on.

After a return to college to focus on her studies, Hesketh along with two of her fellow students formed the indie pop/electronic band Dead Disco. The band had limited releases of two their singles but due to increasingly different ideas about the band's musical direction Hesketh left to pursue a solo career.

Hesketh has cited as influences Captain Beefheart, Britney Spears, The Human League, Gary Numan, Pink Floyd, Jean Michel Jarre, and Kraftwerk.

Her new stage name was a nickname given to her from a friend who had seen the film Caligula (meaning "Little Boot" in Latin), although it was actually a reference to her small feet. Hesketh began writing her own songs and posting covers on the social networking sites such as YouTube and MySpace. After appearing on several shows including Later... with Jools Holland and Last Call with Carson Daly, Hesketh entered production on her debut album Hands. With increasing media attention regarding her then-yet-to-be-released debut album, Hesketh topped the BBC Sound of Music poll 2009 and received a BRIT Critics Choice nomination. With the release of her debut she has become linked to a wave of recent breakthrough female artists in their 20s including Lady Gaga, Ladyhawke, Florence and the Machine and Ellie Jackson of La Roux.

Her debut album, Hands, released on the 8 June 2009, peaked at number five on the UK Albums Chart and at number twenty on the Irish Albums Chart. The first single off the album "New in Town" became a top twenty hit, while the next single "Remedy", produced by RedOne, reached the top ten. She has also released the EP Illuminations in the United States.

Early life

Hesketh was born in Blackpool, Lancashire to English parents; her father has a business in car sales and her mother is a writer. The eldest sibling with three brothers, she was raised in the area of Thornton, between Blackpool and Fleetwood, Lancashire.

From the age of five Hesketh played the piano and began lessons at six, later taking lessons from Arthur Lingings and eventually winning a music scholarship. During this time she was taught how to play the flute, was a member of the school choir and travelled regularly to Manchester to take lessons on her harp. Trained initially in classical singing by Janet Wunderley, by the age of thirteen Hesketh was writing her own songs.

Hesketh attended the fee-paying Rossall School in Fleetwood, being taught by Christopher Drew (now Principal of The King's Academy in Middlesbrough) and then Blackpool Sixth Form College; it was around this time that Hesketh entered the ITV talent competition search Pop Idol aged sixteen. Reaching the third round, she was eliminated by the producers of the show and did not reach the panel of judges. She stated that "It gave me a thicker skin and it made me realise that it wasn't a short cut to getting where I wanted to be".

After singing with the Lancashire Youth Jazz Orchestra and performing with a jazz trio for some time Hesketh decided to prioritise her education and studied cultural studies at the University of Leeds, attaining a first-class honours degree. It was during her time at the University of Leeds that Hesketh, along with two of her fellow students, formed the all girl band Dead Disco, Hesketh herself eventually becoming the lead singer. She also performed for ITV's 'Pop Idol' talent show, where she made it to the third round at the same time when she stated "I was writing really poppy songs and the others thought it was cheesy." .. "'I lost a lot of confidence with that band" Dead Disco.

Dead Disco (2005–2008)

While studying at the University of Leeds, Hesketh answered an online advertisement posted by Lucy Catherwood and Marie France looking for a lead singer in order to start a band. Sharing an interest and love of The Killers, Ladytron, The Rapture and Siouxsie & the Banshees, they formed the electro/indie pop band Dead Disco in August 2005. The band got their name through randomly picking words from a hat. With Dead Disco, Hesketh sang lead vocals and played synth, with Catherwood on guitar, and France providing bass and backing vocals.

With only a few songs written, Dead Disco began playing gigs around the north of England; their live gig in the headline slot at the "In the City" event in Manchester gained them enough recognition to get a recording stint with James Ford. Working with Ford in his London attic studio, the band issued a limited release of their debut single "The Treatment" in April 2006 on the record label High Voltage. Their second release "City Place" was a digital-only release through Playlouder Records.

With the success of several sell out gigs and an appearance at the Carling Leeds Festival, the band moved to Los Angeles to begin recording their debut album with Greg Kurstin. However, it was around this time that Hesketh herself began to write songs not in keeping with the band's "indie" style. Choosing a new musical direction, Hesketh left Dead Disco; they officially revealed their disbandment on their MySpace blog in December 2008. In an interview with The Times online, Hesketh spoke about her gradual shift away from the band: "All the time I'd been hiding my own songs and finally I had to make the sort of music I actually wanted to listen to. [...] Before I used to always think, 'What would a jazz performer do?' or 'What would the band do?'—Now it's so easy because it's 'What would I do?' It's just me." In a later interview Hesketh noted that the bands' label was pressuring the group to have a certain style and that her fellow band mates lost confidence in her because she wanted to write "cheesy" songs.

Hands (2008–present)

With her departure from Dead Disco in August 2007, Hesketh decided to begin a new solo career in pop. Returning to her parents' house Hesketh began to record various covers of pop songs by artists which included Girls Aloud, Wham! and Miley Cyrus and posted them on social networking websites YouTube and MySpace.

Within a year she had narrowed down a list of her songs to create an album and by getting in touch with Greg Kurstin,with whom she had previously worked with while at Dead Disco, Hesketh started production on her debut album Hands. In early 2008 she began using the stage name Little Boots. Hands was recorded in Los Angeles with Greg Kurstin and Joe Goddard, and by January 2009 she had begun to compile the album's track listings. During this period Hesketh topped the BBC Sound of Music 2009 poll ahead of the likes of White Lies, Florence and the Machine and Empire of the Sun, leading to surge of media attention regarding her then-yet-to-be-released album.

Hands was released on 8 June 2009. A limited edition 12-inch vinyl of the album was also released on 10 June, which was limited to 1000 copies. The album peaked at number five on the UK Albums Chart and has produced the top twenty hit "New in Town" and top ten hit "Remedy". The album is also doing well in Europe and Japan.

Critical response to the album was generally favourable, generating a score of 70 on Metacritic. In a review for MusicOMH.com, Michael Cragg called it "a well-crafted, glorious pop record." ClashMusic.com reviewer Joe Zadeh disagreed, writing that the album "falls victim to attempts to reach beyond more boundaries than necessary, and thus ironically loses the concentration of the more earnest listener." David Renshaw of Gigwise.com described Hands as "a big pop album" that "rival Lady Gaga, Girls Aloud or Lily Allen." Ben Thompson of The Guardian wrote that the album's production was "diverse" and called the song "Symmetry", a duet with Philip Oakey, a "joyous cross-generational head-to-head." NME reviewer Emily Mackay wrote that "Little Boots gives us an inspiring story of self-realization" and called the album "brilliant." Pete Paphides of The Times named "Stuck on Repeat" the album's "best moment" due to its "exquisite vulnerability." Hesketh was also nominated for BRIT critics choice in 2009. Little Boots was on Esquire magazine's list of sixty "Brilliant Brits 2009". Little Boots was named a 2009 artist to watch by American publication Rolling Stone.

Hesketh collaborated with illustrator/artist Chrissie Abbott for the artwork of the album. The artwork for the album has been compared to Pink Floyd's 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon because of its geometric design and fairytale imagery.

Illuminations (2009)

On 9 June 2009, Little Boots released the EP entitled Illuminations in the United States and Canada. It includes "Stuck on Repeat", "New in Town", "Magical", "Love Kills" (a cover of Freddie Mercury's 1984 song) and "Not Now" (which is only available on the U.S. edition). Designed to help relaunch Elektra Records, the EP peaked at number fourteen on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums chart on 27 June 2009. Hands is scheduled for a U.S. release in the autumn of 2009.

Touring and performances

To promote her debut album, Little Boots did several performances worldwide. Her first televised appearance was on Later... with Jools Holland on 7 November 2008. She was invited to perform on the show after posting songs on MySpace. On 4 March 2009, Little Boots appeared on late night television show Last Call with Carson Daly in the United States. She was interviewed by Daly and several clips from a Los Angeles nightclub performance were shown. Little Boots performed "Stuck on Repeat" using the Tenori-on on the 11 May 2009 edition of BBC Breakfast. Little Boots returned to Later... with Jools Holland on 15 May 2009, becoming the only artist to perform on the show twice prior to having an album released. This was followed by an appearance on the BBC Radio 4 programme Woman's Hour on 27 May 2009.Also in 2009, the song "Meddle" was featured in an advertisement for Victoria's Secret. On 5 June 2009, she appeared on Bebo music show Beat, performing "New in Town" live in the studio. On 3 July 2009 she closed out Friday Night with Jonathan Ross.

Little Boot's has a family member who is a Cheshire based doctor.

Little Boots is on tour that will see her play a scheduled thirty-three festivals in 2009. Hesketh in a column for The Times wrote that she is playing "some extended rave edits of some of the songs, with some ridiculous, epic breakdowns."

On 12 June 2009, Little Boots performed at the Maida Vale Studios for the final twenty-five minutes of Pete Tong's BBC Radio One radio program Essential Selection in front of a live studio audience.

On 11 July 2009, Little Boots performed at Oxegen 2009 on the Hot Press New Bands Stage, her first performance in Ireland.

On 19 July 2009, Little Boots performed at T4 on the Beach 2009 on both the T4 and 4Music Stages.

Hesketh has gained a following in the fashion world due to her "cosmic vintage" look. Hesketh has been wearing a widely diverse set of clothing styles for her performances. She has been quoted as saying, "My whole sense of style is based around music and how I can express that and the ideas in it. It's just completely linked! It's a physical manifestation of the sound really. Everything I wear, on stage or off, but particularly on stage, is a reflection of the sound." Little Boots stage has expanded as her festival tour has gone on.

On 29 August Little Boots is scheduled to perform at Manchester Pride 2009, an LBGT pride event. In September 2009 she is scheduled to embark on a five-city North American tour to support the Illuminations EP.

Little Boots performed "Remedy" and a cover version of JLS' "Beat Again" as part of the Live Lounge segment of BBC Radio 1's The Jo Whiley Show on 19 August 2009.

On 28 and 30 August Little Boots performed at the Reading and Leeds Festivals on the Radio 1/NME Stage.

Little Boots performed on the main stage at the Bestival 2009 in Downend, Isle of Wight on 12 September 2009.

On 26 October 2009 Little Boots performed as the main act at 53 Degrees in Preston, Lancashire. Along with this, Little Boots revisited the Blackpool Sixth Form College to film a 360 Session for Channel 4. The college's media studies, music technology and college magazine all got to work with her and Sixth Sense, the college magazine, managed to get their second exclusive interview with Little Boots, which will be published in January 2010.

On 7 December Little Boots duetted with synthpop pioneer Gary Numan on the 6 Music Live Combos show (broadcast 11 December).

On 10, 11 and 12 December 2009 Little Boots is scheduled to perform three headline UK dates in Manchester, London and Leeds respectively.

Other pursuits

Little Boots' song "New in Town" was used in the American horror film Jennifer's Body.

Little Boots' hit single "Remedy" was used in the Dollhouse episode entitled "Belle Chose".

Little Boots and the mobile phone company Nokia will engage in several cross promotional activities.

She has contributed to a documentary about the Stylophone.

A remixed clip of "Remedy" (with the "uh oh" hook at the end) featured as the theme of T4 on the Beach 2009.

In December 2009 Little Boots in collaboration with RjDj released a remix application for the IPhone entitled The Little Boots - Reactive Remixer. The application allows users to remix "Remedy", "Meddle" and "New In Town" and share it over social networking sites.

Discography

Albums

Hands - 2009

wikipedia.org

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