How to tell La Roux from Little Boots

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

The charts and festivals are bursting with quirky-looking popstrels with weird names and big voices. Confused? Let Gillian Orr be your guide

Without wishing to sound too much like a broken record, aren't the girls doing well in the music world in 2009? A year ago, all we had was Lily, Adele, Amy and Duffy, but now there are swarms of solo female acts assaulting the charts. Why, just this week, another female singer with a pseudonym, Pixie Lott, is at No. 1 in the singles chart with "Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh)".

Although they all have their own style of music and a unique look, is anyone else out there struggling to keep up with them all? To make matters even more confusing, no-one seems to go by the name printed on their passport anymore. They all have some sort of quirky moniker attached to them, that was inspired by their favourite movie or song, a nickname or maybe just some other inanimate object that took their fancy. As the market gets more and more saturated, it appears that the only way to stand out from the crowd is to develop an eccentric stage identity, complete with outlandish costumes and hairstyles.

As we wouldn't want anyone to get their Ladyhawke confused with their Lady GaGa, here's a guide to the biggest chanteuses making headlines this summer, some old and some new, but all contributing to an overload of female quirk in your fragile mind.

LA ROUX

AKA

Elly Jackson, 21, from Brixton, South London. There's also her co-writer and co-producer, Ben Langmaid, who is the other half of the duo but tends to stay in the background.

What's in a name?

La Roux is French for "The Redhead".

Sounds like...

Falsetto-laden 80s synth pop. Erasure.

Looks like...

A Flock of Tilda Swintons.

Who's in the crowd?

Pre-"In for the Kill": east London hipsters. Post-"In for the Kill": everyone.

Most likely to...

Watch re-runs of Miami Vice for crucial style tips.

Least likely to...

Play an acoustic set.

Best Track:

"Quicksand".

BAT FOR LASHES

AKA

Natasha Khan, 29, from Brighton

What's in a name?

Apparently, she simply picked some random words that she liked the sound of when put together and which evoked the kind of dark imagery she relishes.

Sounds like...

Folktronic... is that even a word? With a breathy helping of Kate Bush on the side for good measure.

Looks like...

Pocahontas rolled in glitter.

Who's in the crowd?

Topshop hippies.

Most likely to...

Have a serious discussion about Indian stringed instruments with you.

Least likely to...

Be found snuggling up to a footballer in Chinawhite.

Best track:

"What's a Girl to Do".

PIXIE LOTT

AKA

Victoria Lott, 18, from Essex.

What's in a name?

Apparently, her mother always thought she looked like a pixie, so the name stuck. Besides, who ever heard of a pop star called Vicky Lott?

Sounds like...

R&B-tinged soulful pop. Think, dare I say it, Joss Stone.

Looks like...

The sixth member of The Saturdays.

Who's in the crowd?

Fans of Big Brother and the Radio 1 Chart Show.

Most likely to...

Go out with someone from Hollyoaks.

Least likely to...

Be turned down for a US visa following drug allegations.

Best Track:

There's more than one? "Mama Do", I guess.

LADY GAGA

AKA

Stefani Germanotta, 23 (ahem), from New York.

What's in a name?

A huge fan of Queen, she named herself after their song "Radio Ga Ga".

Sounds like...

Electropop that's come from a Scandinavian factory.

Looks like...

Ken in drag as Barbie. Wearing furniture and hair bows.

Who's in the crowd?

Gay men love her. Her recent concert in New York was a Who's Who of the entertainment industry. Even Madonna was there.

Most likely to...

Decide to take up residence on Trafalgar Square's empty fourth plinth, because she's "art".

Least likely to...

Make any sense in interviews.

Best track:

"Poker Face".

FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE

AKA

Florence Welch, 22, from South London.

What's in a name?

Well, her name's Florence. The Machine is her ever-changing band.

Sounds like...

Her huge voice will take you on a journey through soul music, from blues to disco.

Looks like...

She favours long floaty dresses that reveal sparkly knickers when she does a handstand on stage.

Who's in the crowd?

The critics love her, so probably a few of them. Kate Moss and Blur's Alex James are fans.

Most likely to...

Give herself an injury by stage-diving into the crowd.

Least likely to...

Be asked to sing louder.

Best track:

"Rabbit Heart (Raise it Up)".

LADYHAWKE

AKA

Pip Brown, 29, from New Zealand.

What's in a name?

She is named after the film Ladyhawke, in which Michelle Pfeiffer played a hawk who turns into a beautiful lady by night.

Sounds like...

A love letter to Stevie Nicks. All big synths and guitar riffs.

Looks like...

Double denim, scuffed boots and a pork pie hat. Blunt fringe.

Who's in the crowd?

Plenty of thirty-somethings: perhaps it's nostalgia for the 80s. Kylie and Courtney Love adore her.

Most likely to...

Be called up by Chrissie Hynde to ask for her style back.

Least likely to...

Do a saucy shoot for FHM.

Best Track:

"Paris is Burning".

LITTLE BOOTS

AKA

Victoria Hesketh, 25, from Blackpool.

What's in a name?

The Roman Emperor Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus was also known as Caligula, or "little boot". Oh, that's cleared it up, then.

Sounds like...

Classic electro. The future of pop?

Looks like...

Kylie Minogue as re-imagined by George Lucas. Plenty of shoulder pads.

Who's in the crowd?

Teenagers and Grazia readers.

Most likely to...

Play a handcrafted Tenori-On while tottering around in scarily high heels.

Least likely to...

Make the Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy lose any sleep over the calibre of her rhymes.

Best track:

"Stuck on Repeat".

PALOMA FAITH

AKA

Er, Paloma Faith, 24, from east London.

What's in a name?

Oh Paloma, that's your real name? Didn't you get the memo? Tut.

Sounds like...

Theatrical, edgy soul. Has been compared to Amy Winehouse but mannered.

Looks like...

Dita Von Teese meets Tinkerbell.

Who's in the crowd?

Immaculately dressed retro kids.

Most likely to...

Front an advertising campaign for Agent Provocateur. Previous jobs have included a stint as a burlesque dancer and a magician's assistant.

Least likely to...

Wear a tracksuit.

Best track:

"Stone Cold Sober".

Arts and Entertainment
The new Fondation Louis Vuitton in the Jardin d'Acclimatation in Paris
architecture

Arts and Entertainment
Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker and Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham
Downton

Arts and Entertainment
Lynda Bellingham stars in her last Oxo advert with on-screen husband Michael Redfern

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman

film
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
film
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Team Tenacity pitch their fetching solar powered, mobile phone charging, heated, flashy jacket
tvReview: No one was safe as Lord Sugar shook things up
News
Owen said he finds films boring but Tom Hanks managed to hold his attention in Forrest Gump
arts
Arts and Entertainment
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
Music Album is set to enter UK top 40 at lowest chart position in 30 years
Arts and Entertainment
The Michael McIntyre Chat Show airs its first episode on Monday 10 March 2014
Comedy
Arts and Entertainment

Review

These heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Flanagan with his novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North
books'The Narrow Road to the Deep North' sees the writer become the third Australian to win the accolade
Arts and Entertainment
New diva of drama: Kristin Scott Thomas as Electra
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Daenerys Targaryen, played by Emilia Clarke, faces new problems

Sek, k'athjilari! (That’s “yes, definitely” to non-native speakers).

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Polly Morgan

art
Arts and Entertainment
The kid: (from left) Oona, Geraldine, Charlie and Eugene Chaplin

film
Arts and Entertainment
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised

art
Arts and Entertainment

Review: Series 5, episode 4 Downton Abbey
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

    Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

    The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
    Let's talk about loss

    We need to talk about loss

    Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
    Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

    'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

    If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
    James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
    Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

    Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

    Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
    Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

    Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

    Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
    How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

    How to dress with authority

    Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
    New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

    New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

    'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
    Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

    Tim Minchin interview

    For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
    Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
    Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

    Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

    Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album