The Playlist: Leigh-Anne Chats Going Solo, Being a Role Model and Hopes For The Future

"I try to be as real as possible and as open as possible"

Pic: Adama Jalloh

Leigh-Anne Pinnock literally is a superstar.

She may have got her start in Little Mix but she is definitely a bonafide pop princess in her own right now.

Her debut EP landed in May and we here at STELLAR got to chat to the legend herself about why it was time for her to release her own music collection, inspiring young girls and her love of Mariah Carey…

Talk to us about your new EP, No Hard Feelings!

I think it was really important for me to put out this collection of music. I really wanted people to get to know me as an artist and get to know my sound better. I want people to get to know me a bit more, I’ve been really open with it and vulnerable. I think it was really essential as part of my journey. The inspiration was definitely 90s/early noughties R&B. But there is something for everybody on there.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Personal experience in terms of subject matter. I try to be as real as possible and as open as possible. I just want my fans to really know the real Leigh-Anne. Being in a group for so long was hard to do that. For all of us! Now, whoever is coming on board with me, can get close to me and be a part of this.

Obviously you have been in the music industry for a while now, but did you always plan to be a musician?

Yes! For sure! I’ve always sung, I’ve always been a singer. I used to always tell everyone that I met that I wanted to be a pop star. That was my attitude. I wouldn’t hear anything else!

Pic: Lou Jasmine

Growing up who did you listen to?

Mariah Carey is definitely the reason that I wanted to sing. She was my idol. In terms of types of different music, I think it’s been a mix. Having older sisters I was really into R&B. My eldest sister listened to Jungle and Garage. My mum and dad would listen to Reggae. But sometimes my mum would have Alanis Morrisette on blast. It was so mixed, but I quite like that.

What was your first gig?

Craig David! We were walking to our seats and we were walking for ages. I kept thinking, ‘Are we going to sit down at some point?’ Our seat was right at the back, last row. He was incredible! It was amazing.

What is the album that shaped you?

Wow…oh gosh, that’s such a good question. Because I’m on the spot, I’m just going to say Mariah Carey’s Greatest Hits. I just remember being in my room belting those notes out. I was like a strangled cat but I didn’t care. But that made me realise that I wanted to be a singer. It shaped me into wanting to be a pop star.

Tell us about the best gig you’ve been to.

I remember watching Rihanna on her 777 tour. I remember watching her and being in awe of her. I still am in awe of her, she is my favourite artist of all time. I was transfixed with, she is the most incredible being on this earth. It really inspired me. I remember show so much.

Now there are little girls in the audience of your shows thinking ‘I want to be Leigh-Anne’.

It is incredible. I can’t believe it’s happening to me. I remember there was one show that I did when I was in the group, there was a little mixed Black girl in the audience and I just kept singing to her. Her mum kept pointing to her and saying, ‘She loves you’. I literally nearly choked on stage. I still follow her to this day on socials and stuff. She’s all grown up. Knowing that there are girls that feel like that is an amazing thing.

What is one song you would never get sick of?

Probably, one of my favourite slow jams of all time! Usher’s You’ve Got It Bad! Just the guitar solo alone.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Leigh-Anne (@leighannepinnock)

What is your biggest achievement so far?

Oh God! The amount we achieved in the group is just crazy. What have I achieved on my own… Two Top 40 singles is crazy, doing it on my own! Shooting a video in Lagos with the incredible, Ayra Starr. Being on the cover of Rolling Stone. Two Glamour Awards. There are loads of amazing things! And more to come.

Is it strange to go from being in a group to being a solo artist?

Yeah, for sure. We were together for so long. So to come out and do it on your own is crazy. I think it feels good. For all of us, it really was the right time. And to be able to achieve all these things on my own. I think as the group came to an end there was something in me that knew I could do this. I wanted to do this since I was a little girl. I always envisioned being a pop artist. I knew I could do it on my own and to be smashing it, I feel proud.

What’s on your bucket list?

Oh! Well it was to perform in my headline show which I am doing and that is so exciting! I think a tour. I am ready for that. So album and tour.

And will Ireland be on the tour?

Uh, yes! You guys are the best crowd!

 Leigh-Anne’s debut EP No Hard Feelings is out now