Chatting to Four of Diamonds was stimulating, exciting and energising. It left me wanting to be adopted into the sisterhood that they staunchly represent to the UK and beyond. Their girl band is a cocktail of diversity, musicality, raw talent, vibrancy and dreams. This is their story.
Caroline takes the lead: “I was studying at uni and doing a degree in commercial music. I was singing on the weekends and Yasmin was at music college and working part time in Topshop. Lauren had just graduated studying a musical theatre degree and working part-time in Sainsbury’s and also teaching dance lessons.” Sophia chimes in: “I was at uni doing bio… bio… Bio-Veterinary Science… I forgot the name of my degree then! Even though a lot of the girls were doing musical things, it was more of a hobby than it was a career for loads of us. We all had videos of us each up on YouTube. It’s quite nice to look back on!”
Mentioning the X Factor and the word ‘journey’ comes hand in hand. It is clichéd but necessary. “Obviously we were from different parts of the UK – London, Manchester, Surrey and Birmingham – so we’d never met each other. We were just thrown together as a band and the whole journey, spending time together and living together everyday, really helped us gel. We became like sisters! The ‘X Factor journey’, if you like, really set us up for everything we’re doing now. It’s put us in touch with all the right people. So that platform gave us such a good opportunity. We’ve signed a record deal and the single is out to pre-order today… it’s just a bit crazy! We wouldn’t have been able to get here, especially the four of us, which is just amazing.”
Their refreshing new single, ‘Name On It’, is the sound of Rihanna and Lily Allen’s lovechild. An intoxicating whirlwind of girl power, fusing with the dynamic sounds of Afrobashment artist Burna Boy, this summer anthem will travel worldwide and reach you in the pool as you float on your inflatable swan lilo with a daiquiri in hand. “We didn’t write the song but as soon as we heard it we just loved it. It was so relatable for us. That’s one thing that is really important and we really believed in having something we can relate to and also the people who follow our music can believe in and relate to. Something that is true to us… And it’s weird, it became like our baby. As soon as we recorded it we were like ‘we need to release this song as a single!’ It’s catchy and every girl will go through what this song talks about. It’s nice to have something that is relatable, catchy and summery. We just love it… Absolutely love it.”
“Working with Burna Boy was great, he’s great! Firstly he’s ridiculously talented. He had a song come out with J Hus not long ago so when his name came up we were like OOOOH so cool! Then working on the video with him… he’s just so cool and laidback. He comes in…” This is the part where I misheard the girls and translated innocent words of praise into them gushing about his six-pack. Just to check that we were on the same track, I asked them did they really just bring up a discussion about Burna Boy’s six-pack to which they replied: “no, no… (politely correcting me to) Backing set! He’s so lovely though! We got on so well with him and he said he found us fun and loved being part of what we’re doing.”
The first girl group to sign to Virgin Emi since the Spice Girls explains many things. I crown them the equivalent but perhaps even cooler… they giggle: “well yep yep yep!” In an exhilarating time where the topic of ‘women’ is being challenged and liquefied, I question the girls on what their main message would be to their female audience. “Be yourself and be true to yourself. Don’t be ashamed to show what you like. Be strong females, be independent and know your worth. You’re worth it and if someone doesn’t want to put their name on it then you tell them goodbye”.
“For the music video we just really wanted to make statements with our outfits. We worked really closely with our stylists to create something that was true to ourselves. Everyone had something they were comfortable with and something that represented them. We wanted to bring out our personalities so Lauren is girly, Yasmin comes out with the craziest stuff which looks so good on her, it’s very experimental, Caroline is sassy… she’s always got a little flamenco something… something frilly!” Chuckles Sophia before expressing: “Then I don’t know what I am… something sporty. Lauren our stylist is amazing, she literally went through with each of us and made sure we were all really happy. It’s nice to bring out our individual personalities a little bit with that.”
Preparing myself (and rightly so) to ask the mother of all questions, I enquire: “who would the dream collab be with?” I’m bombarded with laughter and the exclamation: “OOOOWHHHHHH! Oh my god, I don’t know! I don’t think it’s ever been done before but with another girl band?! That’s a bit too ambitious.” (I remind them of Busted and McFly and the endless possibilities…) They agree and also toy with collaborating with Bad Bunny before concluding: “Basically just we are down for anyone who has good music. Whoever wants to work with us!”
And now for some advice to our inner little girls who used to prance about to Pop Party CDs and fantasised about joining Girls Aloud. Four of Diamonds are the definition of wishes being magically granted by fairy godmothers (and a lot of hard work and dedication). Their recipe to success for boys and girls dreaming to be part of the world’s next best band reads as this: “I’d say just go for it, just do it. It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to us. The things we do together and the experiences we’ve had. Even just living together and being in the house together we have some great memories. Make sure you all really want it because we all want the same thing. We all have the same dream and that makes it so much easier and brings us so much closer together. Never become complacent. You need to keep fighting and dreaming.” They end it with an accidental quote from Eminem and a personification of something they already represent. “DREAM FOR THE STARS” and “in the future we want to bring something different, unique and something that everyone loves.” Tick tick tick. I expect so much for these lovely girls in the future and I wish them the very best of luck.
Photographer: Liam Arthur
Stylist: Kirubel Belay
Make up Artist: Melanie Garnier
Hair Stylist: Karolina Bartnik