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HOW TO MAKE A GIRL BAND; Behind the scenes with Lemonescent.

Byline: LEANNE McGRATH INTERVIEW

A FEW months ago, Lisa Harrison would have been scuttling towards the bus stop in a sensible skirt after another drab day behind the counter at the Bank of Scotland.

Instead, she's standing on a beach in unlaced Doc Martens with an outsized anorak wrapped round her sheer silk minidress.

She shivers in the bitter cold, but keeps smiling as she awaits for instructions from the film crew. After all, this is showbiz.

Lisa, 20, is a quarter of Lemonescent - Scotland's newest all-girl band, who are shooting the video for debut single Beautiful.

You probably won't have heard of Lemonescent, yet. But you will.

The latest pop wannabes have the looks, the talent and - most importantly - the backing to make it big.

With gallons of hairspray, wardrobes of skimpy outfits and more slap than the Estee Lauder counter, the band and their entourage have taken over Culzean Castle in Ayrshire for the shoot.

The other Lemonescent girls are former tanning salon attendant Sarah Cassidy, ex-waitress Nikki McLachlan, both 20, and 17-year-old school leaver Shonagh Strachan.

The Sunday Mail followed the girls behind the scenes to see what the quest for pop stardom entails.

It is only 10am, but their dressing room is already littered with hair straighteners, curlers, Mars bars, Irn- Bru cans and mobile phones.

"It's not really sunk in that we're pop stars yet - we're all just normal girls," giggles Lisa, the band's only brunette. "We'll all stay grounded and treat people the same - we appreciate everything we've got."

Top talent scout Iain MacDonald, former member and songwriter of 80s group Johnny Hates Jazz, picked the girls from 2000 other Scots wannabes.

The quartet hope to emulate the success of another manufactured all-girl outfit - The Spice Girls.

Nikki, 20, was working in her local chippie and made it to the final 60 on Popstars before being picked for Lemonescent.

Lisa, who also made the final 60, had won a place with the Royal Ballet while working in the bank.

Sarah had been working in a sunbed salon and Shonagh was still at school, so it's easy to see why the girls are so excited about the prospect of becoming stars.

Lisa, from Balloch, says: "Today's special because it's our first video and it's going great. I'm loving every minute of it and can't wait until we're doing it every week."

Shonagh, from Prestwick, agrees: "It's been tiring, but great. We were in at half past six this morning and didn't get to bed the night before until quarter to one."

The girls are called to start filming and take their places on four pink chairs in the elegant Round Room dressed in classic black ballgowns Cinderella would be proud of.

Between takes stylist Rhona Cameron buzzes round with hairspray and gallons of lipgloss while Nikki and Shonagh chat about wanting Big Macs for lunch and Lisa and Sarah sing along to Samantha Mumba's hit, Body To Body.

Hours of filming later, the girls are munching on cold sandwiches and phoning their families.

Now changed into cream suede and leather - with Lisa sporting hotpants so tiny they would make Kylie blush - the foursome head outside for a photoshoot and are soon surrounded by a crowd of tourists eager to catch a glimpse of Scotland's newest pop sensation.

They spend half an hour signing autographs in the castle grounds and look more excited than the kids who have come to see them.

Nikki, from Ardrossan, admits she loves every second. She says: "Fans are the most important thing to us, we would always spend time with them."

Bubbly Sarah happily signs autograph books and makes sure she chats to every kid who approaches her.

She says: "It's brilliant when people ask for your autograph. I love fans, especially the younger ones and I'll always be nice to them because you're nothing without them."

The chirpy Glasgow girl seems to be the band member having the most fun and is over the moon because one wee girl told her she looked like a princess.

She said: "It's been brilliant, one of the best days of my whole life.

"I stayed on an extra year at school just so I could be the princess in the school show and now I really am.

"I've got some scenes on a bed covered in rose petals - it was my idea. I feel like a star already."

Hours of filming and endless costume changes later, the girls are allowed a brief break before heading down to the beach to film the final scenes.

Dressed down in jeans and her beloved Doc Martens, Lisa grabs a hairbrush, stands in front of a huge mirror and starts singing a note-perfect version of Natalie Imbruglia's Torn.

They look like thousands of other Scottish girls as they chat about members of the film crew they think are attractive and talk about their own musical heroes.

Nikki said: "I'll get so starstruck when we start going on TV shows. I'd love to meet Britney Spears or Michael Jackson, that would be amazing."

Lisa is more into Madonna while Shonagh prefers R&B, hip-hop and, of course, Lemonescent.

She said: "I love the single and hope it does well. I wouldn't do anything I wouldn't buy myself and I really do like Beautiful.

"The next song, Sex Dance, is great, too. It's a vigorous dance routine, but it's really fun - even my dad loves it."

Their fun is cut short as the final costume change of the day needs to takes place.

Finally lipglossed up again, the girls eventually hit the beach around 7pm to film their last scene.

Dressed in minuscule pink and cream dresses, designed and made by Shonagh's sister Lorna, the girls almost break their necks climbing a rocky cliff.

It's cold, wet and windy and the girls are shivering when the director decides he wants Nikki to paddle in the freezing sea for some shots.

While the crew move the seaweed, driftwood and a dead seagull from the sand, the petite popster happily gets her feet wet knowing that while being a pop star stinks when the weather's cold, the band's bright future definitely smells Lemonescent.

Lemonescent's debut single Beautiful is released on Clydebank-based Supertone Records on June 17.

Lemon Essentials

Nikki

Star sign: Taurus.

Favourite singer: Stevie Wonder.

Big break: First Lemonescent gig.

First public performance: Nikki's taken part in disco dance contests since she was six.

Shonagh

Star sign: Pisces.

Favourite singers: Destiny's Child.

Big break: Joining the band aged 16. First public performance: At an under-18's karaoke, she sang Torn by Natalie Imbruglia.

Lisa

Star sign: Scorpio.

Favourite singer: Madonna.

Big break: Winning Scottish tap dance championship.

First public performance: At a dancing festival, aged 21/2

Sarah

Star sign: Taurus.

Favourite singer: Mariah Carey.

Big break: Representing Scotland at disco dancing.

First public performance: At Glas-gow's Pavilion Theatre, aged eight.
COPYRIGHT 2002 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

 
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 14, 2002
Words:1151
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