Singing sirens The Saturdays grace Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena tonight. David Dunn grabbed a word
YOU might have to forgive the Irish element of The Saturdays for not moving about the stage quite as much as her colleagues tonight.
While the glamorous girl group have seen their fanbase explode to lift them into arenas this time around, bubbly Una Healy is set to increase manpower within the group.
“We want people to come along with intentions of getting in the party mood in the build up to Christmas,” says the red-headed singer, who has no intentions of letting pregnancy slow her down too much.
“December is always an exciting month to go out in general and our fans will come out on a high anyway because the show will be very energetic and uplifting.”
Part of the sonic fuel comes from On Your Radar, the third album from Una and fellow pop lovelies Rochelle Wiseman, Vanessa White, Mollie King and Frankie Sandford.
Having packed out Sheffield City Hall on their last tour, did they have one eye on the likes of the city’s arena when they were filling the new album with slightly bigger tunes?
“You don’t really think like that when you’re writing a song or while you are putting the album together,” says 29-year-old Una.
“You adapt afterwards. You have your creative meetings about the songs. The fun elements come into it afterwards but you need good songs, they will always deliver on stage.
“It’s important the songs should sell themselves. For us it is fun we can put on a huge production so there will be several costume changes and a live band, lots of screens with loads of stuff going on.”
It’s another way for the famous five to stamp their individual personalities on their output, beyond fashion and dog ownership as seen on their previous ITV fly-on-the wall documentary.
Few can argue with the commercial success of The Saturdays package, but adding their writing talents into the mix was an essential part of the gradual growth of an act who haven’t been in a rush to be ‘the next big thing’, instead building up a songbook and a firm bond along the way.
“I wouldn’t knock any band that can go straight into an arena – fair play to them,” says Una.
“We’re very happy with how it has happened for us. It has been more steady and slower. I never want it to end and I think you possibly have more longevity when you walk towards it.
“There are so many goals and ambitions left; we feel like we’ve only started. It still feels fresh to us because we work so hard for it and with every achievement it’s ‘let’s go for it again’. We work hard and really appreciate it, I guess.”
And having sold two million records and racked up a double figure tally of top 10 singles – including recent hits with Notorious, All Fired Up, from which the tour takes its name, and My Heart Takes Over – it seemed the right time for the girls to trade up venue sizes.
They’ve had a good say on what happens on the 11-date arena jaunt – and a lot more impact on what they’ll be singing. The girls have learned more about turning their musical ideas into something tangible since album two and are now increasingly hands-on.
“We’re really proud we’ve written quite a lot of the songs and we couldn’t wait to get out there and perform stuff we’ve actually written.
“We were writing all the b-sides anyway and they knew what we could do and I used to write a lot before the band. I was quite big into songwriting so I presumed getting in the band I was going to be writing.
“It just never happened at the beginning because of the A&R division and what they wanted for us; the writers brought in the songs and we sang other people’s.
“It was fine for a couple of albums but then we all said ‘why are we writing these b-sides, why don’t we get in there and start writing album tracks’.
“So we split off into twos and threes – sometimes five girls in one room can be a little too much. It wasn’t always the same two and the same three, we moved it around.
“And it worked really well that way. We wrote loads of songs and then we picked the best ones. They genuinely are the best, not just because we’ve written them. A&R did sit down and listen to everything we recorded, from other people’s songs to our songs, and picked out the best 12 to go on the album, and a couple of bonus tracks.
“They wouldn’t have got on the album if they weren’t good enough. We were not going to put them on just because we’d written them.
“But we’re at the point we know what we want and what our fans want – the sound and exactly what Saturdays songs work. When we go into the studio we have that in mind.
It’s much easier than it would have been at the beginning; you know what style to go for.
“I can’t wait to see that on tour, fans who have bought the album and know the words to tracks we have written. That’ll be really special, to see them singing along to stuff we were in the studio writing the lyrics and melodies to.”
Needless to say the baby news came out of the blue for Una and England rugby star boyfriend Ben Foden, who was still in New Zealand when she revealed he was to become a dad. It compensated a little for the Lions’ poor show in the Rugby World Cup.
The musical miss says her condition won’t get in the way of the show, with her bump still tight thanks in part to Una’s busy lifestyle.
“My doctor says at six months you can have big spurts of energy although I’ll have to be careful. I can’t do too much and certain moves I’ll have to avoid.
“But it’s a huge production. It’s our first arena tour so we’ve got six male dancers and they’ll be busting out the moves. I’ll let them do the dancing for me.
“My voice will be 100 per cent and I’ll do whatever I can because I’ve waited my whole life to do something as big as this.”
And at least inside the arena will be warmer than the location for the promo they filmed for their recent ballad My Heart Takes Over.
“We shot the video in Iceland,” confirms Una. “It was freezing. It wasn’t nice temperature-wise but that’s what we wanted, somewhere it was really cold and got that feel to it like a winter warmer song. It’s very festive.”