Meet Britt Love and Frankee Connolly aka Mini Viva – Britain’s new quirky pop duo. This Northern duo, Britt (South Shields) and Frankee (Manchester) instantly developed a bond when auditioning for Mini Viva and almost two years on they are set to take over the pop charts, armed with a debut album co-written at Xenomania HQ. The girls Radio1 live lounge performance of their debut single ‘Left My Heart In Toyko’ proved Mini Viva can really sing a great pop tune live – not something many girl groups can do. With in a few minutes of speaking to bubbly Britt she came across as instantly likeable, very sweet and down to earth. It was a pleasure to talk to her and here’s what she had to say…
Is it right that if it wasn’t for your mam you might have missed out on Mini Viva?
Yeah totally, if she hadn’t picked up the flyer and said ‘Britt why don’t you go in for that?’ then I definitely wouldn’t be here now. So my mam did help out in that way.
So is your real name Britney?
Yeah. But I like to be called Britt because it’s short and more convenient. Britney Love is my full name.
For the past 18 months you’ve been working hard preparing for your launch – what’s that been like?
It’s been hectic to be honest with you. We’ve always been told, listen it’s going to be hard work, but I wouldn’t expect anything less. Every song that we’ve done with Xenomania has been amazing.
What’s the album shaping up like?
We’re constantly working so we don’t get a chance to hear the full kind of product but we’ve had a little taste of the album today. It’s just an amazing achievement. It’s been two and a half years doing it and now it’s starting to catch up with us so now we’re hopefully going to enjoy the ride.
You’ve been working with Xenomania– how involved did you get with song writing?
To be honest quite a lot. Last year we actually started to knuckle down and song write, so that was an amazing thing. Not many girl groups get to do that, usually they get songs laid on for them. We’re really fortunate to have that opportunity to write, it means that it’s part of us and it’s special to know that we can write our own stuff as well.
‘Left My Heart In Tokyo’ is so catchy! What has the support been like?
It’s crazy to think it’s on the radio and stuff. In the early stages I wouldn’t tell anyone about the band as I knew it wasn’t going to happen for a while. I only told my family and close friends that I was working with the Girls Aloud team. To other people I would say I was just song writing and make it sound like it wasn’t anything big. I kept it hush hush. But now I’m telling people and they are really surprised and proud of me so it’s a nice feeling.
Have you met any of Girls Aloud?
Yeah I met Cheryl – last week she came in as she is working on her solo stuff. She was so nice, the nicest person you will ever meet. She absolutely loves us, she’s heard our track and told us how much she liked it and she likes the fact that I’m a Geordie.
How would you describe your sound?
Pop with an edge – bit like the Sugababes earlier stuff, we’re quite quirky. Our vocals aren’t just singing as we rap too, a bit like TLC.
Your album is due out in November…
Yeah and the second single will be out too.
Great what’s the second single like?
I can’t tell you as it’s under wraps – but it’s probably better than Tokyo.
Have you decided on the album name?
We’re in conversations now, the two of us are going to ramble through some words and find something special to us.
What inspires you?
Everything, music, especially Motown and Madonna, not the stuff she does now, but her earlier stuff like Holiday. Also what I’m doing now. I got this chance to do what I’ve always wanted to do. It’s not everyday people get the chance to do this. I want people to know that if you honestly believe in yourself you will get were you want to be. Don’t let people knock you down either.
Did you get to go to any festivals this summer?
We’ve been really busy so we haven’t been to any. But here is like a constant festival. When we here at Xenomania we do this thing every month, like a Notting Hill night. A really good band called Vagabond played – I think they’ve played Newcastle too.
It would be cool to play Evolution Festival in Newcastle.
Yeah I know. My mates – you know Kid British? Well they played this year. It would be really cool if we could do it. Actually I tell a lie, I did go to a festival this year – Evolution. It was so packed for Dizzee Rascal, it was crazy.
If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be and why?
We would love to collaborate with Dizzee Rascal and once we’re bigger Jay Z because he is incredible. Every song he brings out is a hit and Kanye West as well.
What have you enjoyed the most about being in the band?
Being on tour with The Saturdays, we did the last nine dates of their tour. We got to meet the girls, which was a really good thing to do. I think we picked up a few fans as people are now clicking on to who we are especially now our video is being played on music channels and our single is on the radio.
Have you got any tour plans?
It’s something we definitely want to do. At the minute we are busy promoting our single and album so it depends how well we do. Hopefully we’ll do something next year. I would love to do our own tour.
I’ll come and review you if you play Newcastle.
Great that’s one of my dreams, to play Newcastle Metro Radio Arena or the Academy.
What is London life like compared to Newcastle?
Its crazy but luckily enough I’m not in the centre of London. I’m in the country near the studio. It’s really nice, quiet and relaxing. When you hit London it’s absolutely manic. To be honest London is cool but it’s always nice to get back to Newcastle. Newcastle is my home and I’ll never forget that.
What do you hope to achieve with Mini Viva?
We just want to make sure everyone likes us. We want to dominate the whole of the world, we don’t just want to do the UK, we want to do America.
Britt – How would you best describe yourself?
Quirky, fun and loving
What do you do for fun?
Shopping, have a night out or even stay in and kick back and watch a dvd.
Do you have a motto for life?
Believe in yourself and never doubt anything.
What’s your favorite film?
True Romance – proper 80’s film but I love it.
Can you tell me something about yourself that nobody knows?
I was born in America – not many people know that. My mam is from Newcastle and had me in America but then we came straight back. So I have an American passport as well.
What really annoys you?
People who talk over you when you’re trying to explain something.
Who’s your style icon?
Katy Perry, she’s cool
What your star sign?
Have you got a crush on anyone?
I like Daniel Merriweather – it’s the voice.
What bands are you into?
Kings of Leon are really good and I like Friendly Fires.
What’s on your playlist at the minute?
Black Eyed Peas (Britt bursts into song) ”I got a feeling”.
Name your top 3 female artists? Beyonce – every song that she brings out is amazing! I think Pink is amazing, everything she did with Misunderstood up until now is great. Also Erykah Badu – I don’t know if she is very well known now, but she has an amazing voice.
And top 3 male artists?
Stevie Wonder, I’ve always loved a bit of Stevie. Let me think now, this is quite hard because I’m not really into male singers. That new singer Daniel Merriweather has got an amazing voice, he’s got such emotion when he sings and James Morrison is good too