GIRL groups have a negative imagine as far as musical talent is concerned but don’t be too quick to judge Parade.
One of them, Gunthorpe-born Bianca Claxton, is a genuinely talented musician.
By the age of 12 she was a member of the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain, was a finalist in the Nottingham Young Musician of the Year competition and, most significantly, had won a place at the Royal Academy of Music.
“I’d travel down every Saturday from the age of 12 until I was 18,” says the 20-year-old former pupil at Hollygirt and Nottingham High School for Girls.
“I did all my musical training there one day a week which was tough. It meant I didn’t get much of a weekend but it was so worth it.”
So how do you get from the Royal Academy to a girl group?
“I was still living in Nottingham but I was auditioning in London, mostly for musical theatre. The record label decided they were going to hold auditions for the group and someone asked me to go along but I didn’t think I’d get it because it was so heavily dance based. I’d never really danced before. I turned up to the audition in my Uggs and everyone laughed at me. Apparently that’s not appropriate for a dance audition.
“But I got it and within two weeks I was living in a house with the other four girls in London.”
That was October 2009.
“We’ve been in our own bubble since then, making the album and rehearsing. So this is the most exciting bit, seeing how people respond to us.”
Their debut single, Louder, due for release in March, had its first airing on Radio 1 on Sunday.
“We had a really good reaction to it. We’ve got incredible support on Twitter and Facebook. Our fans are pretty hardcore.”
The girls are getting to meet them on Alexandra Burke’s tour, which comes to Nottingham next week. During the day they have been performing in schools.
But they’ve already played bigger shows, supporting Shakira at the end of last year.
“That was insane. We were thrown in at the deep end because we’d be doing schools one day then playing the MEN Arena, Glasgow SECC and the O2, infront of 20,000 people. But that really made us up our game.”
And how was Shakira?
“She was really nice and sweet - and so petite. She’s absolutely tiny.”
Parade are doing a five song set on the Burke tour, including Louder and a cover of Cee Lo Green’s Forget You.
“That always go downs a storm.”
Bianca’s style, she says is based on Blondie.
“I just love that slightly rocky vibe. And I love her hair, obviously.”
Her first taste of the limelight was aged 11 when she entered an Evening Post/Radio Nottingham competition called Karaoke Kids, a search for the best young singer in the county.
She sang Shania Twain’s From This Moment.
“(Laughs) That takes me back. Blimey. No, I didn’t win.”
It didn’t matter because she was already an accomplished cello player.
“I love cello. I play it every now and then but it’s finding time really, with being on the road we rarely go back to the house.”
Bianca is yet to use her musical talents - she also plays piano - with Parade, having to focus on singing and dancing.
“Maybe one day.”
How have mum and dad reacted to the shift from the Royal Academy to pop?
“They’re chuffed to bits. It’s what they wanted for me all along. And they can’t believe it because no-one in my family has ever done anything musical.”
She adds: “I’m loving it. I’m having such a good time.”
Who: Alexandra Burke, Parade
Where: Royal Concert Hall
When: Monday, January 31, 7pm
Tickets: £30, 0115 989 5555