Vanessa gives British girl band Pinoy flavor
By Nathalie Tomada (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 25, 2013 - 12:00am
Vanessa White is the half-Filipina member of the British girl band The Saturdays
MANILA, Philippines - There’s another British act that’s trying to crack the music market of the US and the rest of the world. Meet The Saturdays, a girl band that’s being touted as the next Spice Girls. As the ladies follow the trail recently blazed by fellow Brits Adele and One Direction, their journey gets a reality-show treatment via Chasing The Saturdays which begins airing April 7, 10 p.m., on E!.
Pinoy music lovers may not be familiar with The Saturdays, but the quintet has gained fame in the UK, scoring one Top-10 hit after another since it was formed in 2007. Now, The Saturdays is ready to explore beyond its native land and is keen to capture the “hearts and playlists” of foreign audiences.
Interestingly, one of the band members is half-Filipina and her name is Vanessa White. The rest of the members are Una Healy, Rochelle Humes, Mollie King and Frankie Sandford.
“Yes (my mom is Filipina). She’s from Davao. She’s a nurse back there. I’ve been there (Philippines) quite a few times actually…I normally go back on Christmas time with my family,” Vanessa, 23, told The STAR and other media in a recent phone interview arranged by E!.
“We do try to go back, me and my family, to the Philippines as much as we can and we’re trying to find a trip soon,” added Vanessa, who can understand the Filipino language more than she can speak it. “Konti lang.”
Vanessa credits her Pinay mom and upbringing for nurturing her interest in music early on. “My greatest influence was actually at home, my mother was a singer, and my uncle and my family encouraged me from a young age so I grew up and lived in that way.”
Her being mixed was never a hindrance when she started to pursue singing as a career. “I don’t think it did, no, not in this day and age. You know, obviously, I wanted to sing from a very young age, my mother is very supportive, and I went to stage school and I’m here in London and then I have to go every week and then I went full-time, so I used to practice there all the time and do live auditions and then luckily, I got into The Saturdays, so yeah it’s amazing for me.”
Vanessa is also aware of the Filipino musical talents who are doing well overseas. Asked about the Pinoy artists she likes, she revealed, “Well, I love Charice, I think she’s amazing. But when I was younger, I used to love and always listened to Sharon Cuneta and Aiza Seguerra.”
Speaking of The Saturdays, Vanessa said the chemistry that the girls share on stage extends off stage. “We get on very well, we’re really lucky and that’s the key. I think the ingredient to our success is that we don’t argue, we’re always there for each other, we’re supportive of one another.”
You’ll get to see more of the girl bond — fortified through the five years they’ve been performing together — as they star in their own reality show Chasing The Saturdays (named after the group’s latest EP album).
Vanessa’s bandmate Una, who joined in the tele-conference, described the show: “Actually, we’re showing what life is like in the industry and it’s kind of showbiz. It gives an insight and the background of what life is like and all our music is there and our personal life.”
Their love lives included. Vanessa said, “I’m a bit of a private person so I’ll probably try to keep (my relationship) private as much as I can. But what is seen in the show is very open and we wanted everyone to see what exactly goes on, so I think that would be the kind of point where we would be open about it. But normally we are private persons.”
Both Una and Vanessa stressed that their show is unscripted and that “we just let the cameras roll and film everything. I think if we’re gonna do a reality show, we need to do one properly.”
So, how did they find their Hollywood experience?
Una shared, “We really like America, the culture and the weather in L.A., and we had fun back there.”
“We get to feel like a star. It’s very exciting. We were like tourists,” Vanessa, for her part, related.
It’s been awhile since there has been a globally successful girl band. Asked how they’re taking the pressure of being compared to the ’90s Brit girl group Spice Girls, and being expected to duplicate if not exceed the Spice Girls’ phenomenal exploits, Vanessa said, “We get it quite a lot especially in America. We just go for it. It’s really nice, we’re massive fans of them, so yeah, we’re very honored.”
She continued, “We really enjoy the pressure, ‘cause they were so successful. If we could get a 10th of their success, it would be very great and we just enjoy doing what we do but at the end of the day we are The Saturdays, we’re not trying to be anyone else and together we’re (five) years now and we really hope that we get to go international from now on.”
Expect the girls to be busier than ever this year as Vanessa revealed, “We’ve got so much going on in the moment, and well, we have an album, and it’s currently No. 1 and it’s very exciting. We have an album coming out later on in the year and we’ve got a summer date and you know, we are gonna try for Asia soon.”