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Interview: Manchester Christmas Lights Switch on with Pixie Lott, Yes Lad, Liz McClarnon and Ben Forster

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Meliza Sestito and Matt Atherton catch up with Pixie Lott, Yes Lad and the cast of Elf: The Musical ahead of their performances at the annual Manchester Christmas Lights Switch On.

By Meliza Sestito
Photography: Matt Atherton

Pixie Lott shot onto the music scene back in 2009 with her debut number 1 single ‘Mama Do’. Since then, Pixie has gone on to achieve six top 10 singles and her first album has gone platinum, twice!

We interviewed Pixie backstage right before she hit the stage at the Christmas lights celebration in Albert Square.

What’s your favourite part about Christmas?

Pixie: I love Christmas, I’m a very Christmassy person! I actually love starting early because of the build-up, you can really enjoy it. It’s only a day and then it’s over, it goes so quick! I enjoy all the Christmas shopping, the wrapping up warm, the gingerbread lattes, advent calendars, music, the lot! I like to stretch it out because it makes me happy.

After ten years in the music industry, how have you developed as an artist in that time?

Pixie: I guess I’ve just naturally grown up so much more! I’ve learnt so much being in the business, when I first started I had no clue how anything worked, like the charts or music videos. But now because it’s been over ten years I’ve learnt so many life lessons and the longer you do it, the more experience you have. You don’t want to make the same mistakes again. I’m still not bored of it at all, there’s so much more creatively that I have left to give. I’m excited to just keep going and loving music!

Pixie’s new single ‘Won’t Forget You’ is out now.

Credit: Matt Atherton

Yes Lad, who appeared on the X Factor back in 2016, consists of Sonny, Joel, Cian, Lewis and Jake.

So you guys are Manchester, how excited are you to be back in your hometown tonight?

Yes Lad: We’re super excited to be back! We were just saying earlier how we used to come and watch the switch on as kids, seeing all the different acts perform. To be given the opportunity to perform here, it’s like one off the bucket list kind of thing! All of our friends and family have come down to watch us.

How does it feel to be playing in front of a crowd this size?

Yes Lad: We can’t wait! Obviously we did our tour recently and there were 300-400 people at each venue so this is the biggest crowd we’ve ever played to. We did Christmas lights last year in smaller towns but to do Manchester, it’s got such a special place in our hearts.

So what’s next for Yes Lad?

Yes Lad: We’ve been back in the studio recording some new tracks, so they will be coming out soon and we’ll possibly be doing another tour next year. We want to continue doing what we love and just keep on making music!

And then you’ll be back at the Christmas lights again next year?

Yes Lad: Yeah – hopefully two number ones in our pocket and headlining next year! Pixie Lott will be excited to meet us then.

Based on the smash hit blockbuster Elf released in 2003, Elf: The Musical is coming to The Lowry Theatre this winter. With the dazzling cast that is Liz McClarnon as Jovie and Ben Forster as Buddy, it proves to be a fun-filled show for all the family!

Credit: Matt Atherton

So, Elf is obviously a classic Christmas film and Buddy is obsessed with everything Christmas! What’s your favourite part about this time of year?

Ben: The whole of Christmas day; waking up, being lazy, eating a fat breakfast and opening presents. Especially being with the ones you love, and then having a huge Christmas dinner, eating chocolate and watching telly.

You’re the perfect choice for Buddy then!

Ben: It is literally my favourite day! Being with my favourite people and doing my favourite things; eating, watching TV, getting fat. I just love it!
Liz: Weirdly my favourite thing about Christmas is the build up, if I’m not working too much. My whole family get me around to do their decorations because I’m just so obsessed! Everyone’s always like “what you thinking this year Liz?” I have two trees in my own house and I even put up deccys in the bedrooms.

Do you both still do Advent Calenders?

Both: Yeah!
Liz: You never grow out of an advent calendar!
Ben: Eating chocolate every single morning!

Catch Liz and Ben in Elf: The Musical live at the Lowry Theatre from 24th November 2017 to 14th January 2018.

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Meliza Sestito

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