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Wonderland

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Wonderland
Say hello to Corrina, Jodi, Kasey, Leigh and Sharon, who together make up new Anglo-Irish girlband Wonderland. Yes, we know that's a lot of names, but in this instance they might just be worth remembering - because not only is the UK in the market for a new all-female pop combo, but this lot are the pet project of none other than Louis Walsh and Westlife's Kian Egan. Formed two years ago, now fully bonded as a band and with some serious hits in the bank, we met up with the girls to find out more. Well, how could we not?

So, describe your new single, 'Not A Love Song'.
Jodi: "It's a fun and cheeky song about girls having fun. It's got a rocky edge and I'd say there's a bit of country in it too! People have said it sounds a bit like Fleetwood Mac, The Corrs, The Bangles and Taylor Swift, all of which is completely overwhelming and incredible!"
Leigh: "As long as we're not getting compared to Mr Blobby then we're ok - although he's had a number one record, so fair play to him!"

You've been promoting it while on tour with Westlife. How's the response been?
Corrina: "It's been amazing. The Westlife tour was brilliant and we've been getting great feeback from fans via Twitter. A lot of people have been saying that the last song we sang was the best, and that's been the single, which is encouraging!"
Leigh: "It's great that people are finally getting to hear it - it's been our baby for so long and it's brilliant that we get to play it to people now."
Jodi: "We just hope that people enjoy the song as much as we do. We really love performing it."

You were put together by Louis Walsh and Westlife's Kian. Why did you decide to go to the auditions?
Sharon: "We all love music and singing and that's what brought us together. We're all aspiring singers, so why wouldn't we want to roll up to an audition with Louis Walsh and Kian? It was massive. There was a lot of talent there."
Jodi: "I don't think a lot of big, serious opportunities like that come along anymore. There's only things like X Factor now, but this was a lot more traditional. I don't think any of us wanted to pass up that chance."

Do you worry about forever being tagged as a manufactured act?
Sharon: "We are a manufactured band, so we don't mind being labeled as one. As long as we have hit songs and we enjoy what we're singing and have input, none of the other stuff matters."
Jodi: "Also, a lot of stuff that doesn't appear to be manufactured usually is a bit anyway - even a rock band on a major label has a corporate machine behind it. I don't think manufactured is a bad word, especially if it brought us together!"
Kasey: "We've had two years since being put together to gel as a band. We're lucky to have had that time, so it feels like we are a real band, as opposed to five girls who were shoved together."

Simon Cowell accuses Louis of being out of touch with modern music. What do you make of that?
Kasey: "We don't think that at all. He's been there from day one and we wouldn't be the band without him or Kian."
Leigh: "You khow how Louis gets passionate about his acts on The X Factor? Well, he's been like that with us for two years now! He's always there for us."
Sharon: "Every time we see him he gets more and more fired up and excited about us. We're so lucky to have him."

You've had two years to develop as a band. What have you learned?
Kasey: "We recorded our album and searched out loads of amazing songs for it. We've spent time becoming a real band and touring with Westlife. So many amazing things have happened!"
Leigh: "When you're in a band you can't all just stand there and sing together - there needs to be a friendship, which is something we needed time to form."
Sharon: "When we came into this we had no idea what we were getting into - we couldn't even sing harmonies together! It's only now that we can sing live together properly because we know how each other's voices work and how everyone in the group is feeling."

Is that what we see in your ITV2 documentary?
Sharon: "On the show there's clips of our first shows, simple things like us getting our hair done, and bigger stuff that shows how much we've grown. It's incredible we have a show on British TV."
Corrina: "Believe it not, Kian is really hands-on with our styling. He's got a great eye for what looks good on women and he knows fashion so well. He styles Westlife too, so he knows how to dress a band."
Jodi: "Kian can walk into a room and instantly know where a girl got her shoes from. It's amazing - not even we notice stuff like that!"

Has it been difficult to build up a fanbase?
Corrina: "Being on the Westlife tour was brilliant for us making fans - and the ones that we have gained have been so supportive. We're all on Twitter now and it's great to have that direct contact with them. We feel so lucky to have had the Westlife tour to put us out there."
Sharon: "It feels crazy saying 'fans', because we haven't even released a single yet! The support at this stage has been overwhelming."

How did it feel to have interest from Perez Hilton?
Sharon: "Oh God, that was the highlight of my week... no, year!"
Jodi: "We couldn't believe it. A friend texted us telling us that Perez had posted one of our acoustic performances on his site."
Sharon: "We have to say a huge thank you to the fans that sent the link to Perez in the first place because they were the ones that drew us to his attention. Keep up the good work, guys!"

Does the album have a title yet?
Jodi: "It doesn't yet. Actually, we haven't even started thinking about it!"
Corrina: "We have about nine tracks at the moment and there's still a couple more to finish, so it's getting there. The name is the last thing we'll decide on."
Leigh: "It took us a year-and-a-half to come up with the band name so we could be a while yet!"

What sort of sound can we expect?
Jodi: "We're so proud of how this album is shaping up, because not only have we worked with some amazing songwriters, but we've been able to collaborate and co-write."
Leigh: "There's not a single track that we don't love. There's none that we would consider filler."
Sharon: "It's been a steep learning curve because most of us have only just started learning about songwriting and producers. Having said that, when we found out we were working with Andy Hill, who wrote Celine Dion's 'Think Twice', we all knew that was a big deal! We've worked with Shep Solomon and Bob Clearmount too - it's been incredible."

We heard you wrote the song 'In Your Arms' with Mark Owen, but it's being used as the B-Side to Take That's new single instead. Is that true?
Jodi: "We heard that too, but someone from our label phoned them up to check and it's not true. We've recently re-recorded the track anyway so it would sound different to their version."

You performed a cover of Lady Antebellum's 'Need You Now' while on tour with Westlife. Is that indicative of your album's sound?
Sharon: "We love 'Need You Now' and so does our label, so hopefully it's going on the album."
Jodi: "'Need You Now' is the only cover on the album at the moment, but I think we're recording Bryan Adams's 'When The Stars Go Blue' too ,which we all love. A good song is a good song, and if we all like it then we want to record it!"

Finally, how are you different to other girlbands?
Jodi: "A lot of girlbands are portrayed in the press individually, but we like to think we come as a unit. I don't think we're that different from each other - we all go through the same things in the same sort of ways. It's a bit of a sisterhood."
Sharon: "We're all talented and can sing, and people will pick their favourites, but we'd rather people see us a whole."
Kasey: "We love other girlbands though: Spice Girls, Girls Aloud, Saturdays..."
Jodi: "If we can have a tiny bit of their success, we'd be more than happy."

Wonderland can be seen on Louis Walsh and Kian Egan's Next Big Thing - Wonderland from November 6 on ITV2. Their debut single, 'Not A Love Song', is out in January.

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