By Jason Lamphier
Little Boots might or might not be the �future of pop,� as the website Popjustice recently declared, but she certainly embodies a refreshing, distinct breed in the genre: the self-possessed, versatile, everyman pop star.
The heavy hype preceding her debut album, Hands, has been a blessing and a burden for the singer. She nabbed the top spot on the BBC Sound of 2009 list in January, and music bloggers� tongues haven�t stopped wagging since. She�s been called the frontrunner of this year�s female synth-pop invasion, the new Kylie, and just plain overrated�all before she even released her recent Illuminations EP. �There are moments when I�m overwhelmed,� admits the 25-year-old East Londoner, whose real name is Victoria Hesketh. But if she�s feeling at all beset by the whirlwind of media buzz surrounding her, she isn�t showing it. �To say I�m, like, the Obama of Britpop or something is ridiculous,� she says, laughing. �I just love writing great melodies.�
Hesketh can partly thank herself for the near-comical buildup to her first record. Sure, she�s had her pair of glossy, MTV-ready music videos, �New in Town� and �Remedy,� but she�s drawn much of the attention from singing acoustic versions of her songs and remakes of Kate Bush, MGMT, and Cyndi Lauper on her YouTube channel. Her fashion choices�everything from iridescent, sequined baby-doll dresses to gigantic ruffled hoods to a hat with a unicorn horn protruding from it�prove she recognizes the value of a playful pop persona, but in one of her latest homemade clips, Hesketh sits in her bedroom in a crumpled T-shirt, her hair tousled, a cluttered bookshelf behind her as she plays a beautiful cover of Blur�s �To the End� on her keyboard. She didn�t bother to re-film the number though she coughed midway through it, and sometimes she�ll even perform these sessions slightly off pitch. She�s a gifted indie musician who says she wants to be a star, but the Blackpool native also puts her goofs on full display for the masses (hundreds of thousands of viewers have visited her site).
�When people see me on YouTube, they have a different connection with me,� she explains. �It�s kind of like making an album completely in public.�
It�s this accessibility that makes Hesketh so appealing -- that and her knack for crafting catchy dance tunes. A self-described �synth geek� who learned piano at 5 and went on to dabble in prog-rock, punk, and jazz, she�s as obsessed with the process as she is the finished product. She spends hours dissecting song structures with her cohorts (including the Bird and the Bee�s Greg Kurstin, who produced Hands) and usually performs with her trademark Tenori-on, a Japanese sequencer that visually represents beats in LED lights. Often her songs are about music -- what Hasketh seems to know best. Combining a chewy Moroder bass line and the best damn use of sleigh bells in a dance track since, well, ever, her intoxicating �Stuck on Repeat� (produced by Hot Chip�s Joe Goddard) finds her victim �to the beat.� She celebrates the curative power of dancing in �Remedy� and coos about frequencies in the syrupy electro-fuzz of �Tune In to My Heart.�
It remains to be seen which Little Boots Hesketh is more comfortable with: indie music nerd or big-time pop goddess. Though she envisions herself eventually descending to the stage on a unicorn during her live shows, she�s currently opting for a DIY vibe and focusing more on her songwriting. �I like to stand out, but I�m not in your face,� she says. �I couldn�t wear a dress where you could see my ass or set my boobs on fire. I�m just being myself, and the minute something feels forced or ungenuine, I won�t do it.�
Hands is now available digitally and in stores.