Artist to Watch 2009: Little Boots

YouTube sensation becomes U.K. electro-pop queen

August 7, 2009 11:50 AM ET

Victoria Hesketh didn't become U.K. hipster-disco darling Little Boots overnight — the 24-year-old logged time in punk, prog and jazz bands throughout her school years and learned piano at age five. But dancey rock was always omnipresent — "I remember my babysitter writing the words out to Blondie's 'Parallel Lines,'" she recalls — and nearly two years ago she cast aside fears of being cheesy. "I'm naturally a really poppy writer, so I just embraced it," she says. "I think I was fighting it — so I just embraced the pop, embraced the cheese."

Little Boots' debut Hands, due this fall, is filled with 12 pulsing electro-pop tunes that twinkle, vibrate and pack super-catchy choruses. "New in Town" is a boppy ode to partying on a budget, and Hot Chip's Joe Goddard worked on the Kylie Minogue-esque "Stuck on Repeat." (The Bird and the Bee's Greg Kurstin produced the album.)

Hesketh cites a motley assortment of influences from Captain Beefheart and Pink Floyd to Britney and Miley, but she got one of her heroes to actually sing on her disc: the Human League's Phil Oakey. "We played live with him as well, and he said it's the most nervous he'd been in 15 years," Hesketh says. "He's like eight feet tall — he made me look like a little sequined midget." But even though Hesketh clearly loves glitter, she wants to embrace the darkness in pop, too: "I want my dancers to look as weird as possible, I don't want them to look cute."

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