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She's the boss; Having started her own label, Little Boots is taking charge of every aspect of her career.

Byline: With GAVIN MARTIN

Victoria Hesketh has come a long way since she won the BBC Sound Poll back in 2009. Since then, the Blackpool-born artist better known as Little Boots has earned critical acclaim and a loyal international following. But she's also had her quirky individual approach challenged.

"I was promoted very much as the UK Lady Gaga," says Victoria, 31, "which I didn't see myself as, at all.

"When I didn't become that, people were disappointed. But I never set out to be that. I guess I would have liked to have put my personality more out front, but I learned so much I don't regret anything."

Now, Little Boots has set up her own label, On Repeat, and her battle for control informs the shiny pop treats on her new third album, Working Girl - named after the 1989 movie starring Melanie Griffith.

"I saw it on the last tour in America when we watched it in the tour van," Victoria smiles. "I thought it kind of summed up everything in the new songs and the whole aesthetic I have for the album - strong, knowing, female-based.

"It started as a joke with friends, saying I'm going to get big shoulder pads and a massive mobile phone... that fake it 'til you make it thing.

"The working girl fantasy is a kind of a joke, but it's also true."

The new album represents the dawn of a fresh era for Little Boots as she's no longer beholden to record company bosses.

"From the first record I put out I've been on a real learning curve," she says. "It's difficult to look back and say I should have done this or that differently. When you are in the heat of the moment you just go with it.

"Now I'm completely in control. It's not just turning up and singing the songs. From the production to the marketing I'm involved in every aspect.

"It's a lot of work and has been a baptism of fire, but I'm learning all the time and it feels very exciting, like I've gone back to the beginning - you know, that naivety when you start out writing songs because you want to. It feels like I've come full circle in a way."

The classically-trained, harpplaying Hesketh led a colourful career before becoming Little Boots. She fronted electropunk girl group Dead Disco, earned a living playing jazz covers and, aged 16, made it to the third round of Pop Idol.

"I'd never have been able to do what I'm doing now if I'd come through one of those shows," Victoria admits. "You can't play your own instruments or sing your own songs - it would have been so wrong for me."

So how have the last six years measured up to those poll topping expectations? "I still think someone is going to wake me up one day and say, 'OK, you dreamed all that stuff. Now you have to wake and get a proper job'. But it still hasn't happened!" ? Working Girl is out today.

'I'm completely in control, from the production to the marketing, and it feels very exciting'

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EARLY DAYS: Little Boots in 2009

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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion Column
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 10, 2015
Words:530
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