The songwriting powerhouse behind Girls Aloud and the management team from Spice Girls have a brand new act tipped for the top. We spoke to one half of pop duo Mini Viva.
MEET nineteen-year-old Frankee Connolly from Rossendale.
She’s a giggly, bubbly and fun-loving teenager just like her friends.
But Frankee, of Helmshore, has a life most young girls can only dream of as she embarks on her journey to becoming Britain’s next pop star.
With her new best mate and fellow band member Britt Love, 20 from Newcastle, the pair have been dubbed the new Mel and Kim of the 21st century.
One day Frankee was a college drop-out spending her days singing with her friends in an amateur girl band. And the next, she was hired by a major production company who discovered her on MySpace.
“I finished school and didn’t know what I wanted to do because my grades weren’t very good, I went to do a businesses access course at college in Bury, but left after just two months,” said the former pupil of All Saints High School, Rawtenstall.
“I met these two girls and we wanted to do something a bit different.
"We set up a band, but not really to make it, more just for fun.
"We weren’t looking to be famous. I’d never even had a singing lesson until I got signed,” said Frankee in her sweet, high-pitched voice.
“Then Xenomania found me on Myspace and sent an audition via email.
"So we all went down and only I got chosen. The others were fine about it, so I went for it. And I’m so glad I did.”
After 18 months of hard work in the studios with hitmakers Xenomania (the production team behind Girls Aloud, Gabriella Cilmi, Alesha Dixon etc), Frankee and Britt, aka Mini Viva will release their debit single ‘Left My Heart In Tokyo’ on September 7.
And they have already stated living the life of the rich and famous, filming their video in LA and attending celebrity parties.
“Making the video was great fun. We just got directed coz we’re new to this but it looks as good as I would have ever wanted. I had so much fun making it,” she giggled.
“Two weeks ago we went back to LA to showcase to American labels and Will.i.am was there and he invited us to his private DJ party and he played our single. So that was a bit surreal,” she said.
Filming the video was particularly special for Frankee, as the team behind the choreography are the same people who work with the likes of Beyonce, Frankee’s idol.
“I grew up listening to Destiny’s child, I went to all their concerts. And I just love Beyonce, she’s amazing, she’s flawless. She doesn’t do anythinG wrong. I’d love to meet her. Who Knows maybe now I will.”
Earlier this week the girls met with another big name in the industry, Cheryl Cole.
“Because Cheryl is with the same production house she dropped by this week. She’s beautiful on TV but in real life she’s a real stunner.
“She said she thought Mini Viva was amazing and she really liked ‘Left My Heart In Tokyo.’ It was amazing, like a dream.”
But the journey to the top isn’t going to be an easy one as Frankee explained.
“We’ve been told we’re not allowed a holiday for two years and everyone is like you’re travelling the world anyway, but we’re working so it’s not going to be so easy, we wont get the free time.”
She went on: “We’ve been working on all this for two years, for our first single. But it seems to have gone so fast and I can’t believe that soon people will be recognising me in the street. When I see myself on telly I’m like, ‘is that me’, I cant really believe it.”
The girls have been performing in underground grunge clubs in London, where the pair have live together for the last two years, which they say gives them an edge compared to other pop groups.
And fans of The Saturdays will already be familiar with Min Viva who supported them on their recent tour, performing to crowds of 20,000.
And although she’s loving every minute of it Frankee admitted she is secretly very shy.
“when I was little I always dreamed of being a pop star, I think every girl does, but I never thought it was going to happen because I was always quite shy.
“I was never confident to sing in front of people. I even hated improvisations and reading out in front of the class. I think everyone from school is going to be really shocked that the shy girl they knew is a pop star!”
Frankee met her band mate Britt two years ago at the auditions for Mini Viva and the two hit if off straight away.
“We had an instant connection, we’re both northern girls, and have the same kind of backgrounds. I like that we are in the public eye and we’re from the north then the northern girls can relate to us. Normally it’s lots of southern girls that make it. I remember always looking up to Mel B more because she’s from the north.”
And it’s her northern roots Frankee misses most when she’s away from home.
“All my family still live in Rossendale, I miss it so much,” she revealed. “London is the craziest place so I go back as often as possible to escape it all.”
Frankee still has lots of reasons to come home. Her parents live in Helmshore and her eldest sister and uncle work as dentists in Rawtenstall.
As the youngest of three sisters, Frankee says she is the baby of the family and gets quite home sick. But she does have one of her sisters, Jade, 22 with her in London acting as her PA.
“I'm home a lot at the weekends for now but I’ve been in London on and off for two years now, living with Britt. Soon I’ll be moving permanently down there.”
So what are Frankee’s ambitions? Oh only world domination!
She said: “We want everyone to love us, and feel like they can come and join in with us.
"We just want world domination like the Spice Girls, they had Spice world we want Mini Viva mania going on.”