ARCADIA Winter Digital Cover: Mollie King

Pop singer turned radio presenter Mollie King has had a thriving career. From being one fifth of girl band The Saturdays, to joining Matt Edmondson on their self-titled Matt and Mollie show on Radio 1. Now the host of Future Pop and her first podcast, Where It’s At: A Short History of Girl Bands, Mollie has found herself pivoting into new realms, all whilst balancing life as a new mother to daughter Annabella and being a wife-to-be to recently retired cricketer fiancé Stuart Broad.

Juggling work commitments, regular tv appearances and her own radio shows, Mollie appeared as smiley as ever. She radiated, “My favourite hat at the moment to put on is my presenting hat at Radio 1. I feel like I’m so interested in music and up and coming artists. I love having a show there where I can really celebrate them. I get to pick the music that I play. It’s nice to just be on the other side of the desk. I think for so long I was the one being interviewed. It’s nice to be able to ask all the questions to other people.”

With a strong radio presenting career coming naturally to the singer, Mollie always knew she would continue to have an involvement in music after The Saturdays took a hiatus in 2014. “We did loads of interviews at Radio 1. I remember thinking from early on, that looks like an amazing job. It wasn’t until I did Strictly Come Dancing that I watched Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly do what they do. I was like, gosh this looks really fun. That really intrigued me and presenting looked like a whole new chapter of something that I really wanted to get into. It was off the back of that, that I was asked to present at Radio 1. They then asked me to come and do it permanently.”

Working on a station that has had such an influence over the success of other bands and artists, Mollie admitted to having a soft spot for girl bands. She revealed, “Obviously having been in The Saturdays, I know the kind of highs that you have from it, and just that bond that you get with the other girls, which is unlike anything else. You really live and breathe the same journey. It’s an incredible experience. I’m still so grateful to have been able to do that. That was my dream as a child. So I’m always wanting to push through and support other new girl bands especially.”

With each new episode of the podcast, Mollie dives into the girl band back catalogue to talk about her favourites, from The Spice Girls, Girls Aloud and Little Mix among others. Opening up about what girl bands mean to her and how she dealt with the pressures of being in one, Mollie recollected, “I wanted to pick bands that felt like there was a real story behind them. The Spice Girls have been the leaders of girl bands of all time. What they did, even in pop culture, was amazing. But I felt like I had to shout out bands like Little Mix who have been amazing. Sugababes obviously have such an interesting story, with each member leaving and then reforming. There is such a powerful message in that. I had to touch on Mis-Teeq and what they did for the UK music scene at that time. It was completely unheard of when they came out and started releasing their music. It was a completely different sound to speak about that. It was really hard to whittle it down. But there’s so many great stories behind girl bands.”

Suit: Veronica Beard, Shoes:Grenson, Bracelet: Boodles

She added, “Women have historically had to really fight to be heard and to be taken seriously, especially with song writing. It’s been nice to share the stories and to shine a light on these different kinds of challenges that women face and have gone through.”

Speaking passionately about the challenges women face everyday in the industry, Mollie continues to be a voice for the British Dyslexia Association. Revealing that she felt ‘relief’ after her diagnosis, she has pushed through the challenges of her diagnosis and has presented on the likes of This Morning and continues to work on high profile public appearances that require autocue. She said proudly, “It’s still a big achievement to me to be able to do that. I like to just be able to tell people that that’s something that is possible and to not ever let difficulties stop you.”

She added, “It’s also really down to me to put the extra work in. So if I’m covering This Morning or something, it’s up to me in the ad breaks to read over the autocue and make sure I know what’s coming up. It’s the same at Radio 1. I make sure that I can pre-read the text when the songs are playing. But Matt Edmondson who I present the radio show with is amazing. He’s always been so helpful and helps me out if we’re handed scripts at the last minute.”

Jumper: Eres, Jeans:Mother, Necklace:Maya Brenner, Bracelets on Left arm:Maya Brenner, Bracelets on right arm:Boodles

As girl bands continue to be an integral part of the music industry, Mollie reaffirmed passionately, “I think as women, it’s nice to be able to look up to other women. I think it is especially important to see women empower other women and to see strong females out there doing their thing. If I can push through new girl bands on the radio, then that is my goal.”

With the resurgence of our favourite girl bands across the world re-joining forces for tours, it’s no surprise that a question is posed about The Saturdays reuniting to tour again in the future. Mollie said, “I think at the moment, it’s nice to just be able to have a new chapter. We’re all really enjoying that. It’s nice to just explore different things and learn different things about yourself that you didn’t realise maybe you were passionate about. So at the moment, I think that we’re all very focused on these next chapters, but I always say never say.”

Celebrating her expansive singing career, Mollie added, “Being in a girl band really was my childhood dream and the fact that I was able to do that, I’m so grateful. I would never want to turn my back on it. It’s something that I’m still to this day so proud of. I’m sure that I will be that Mum who’s telling my daughter Annabella that I once did this thing.” 

Whilst her time in a girl band defined much of her 20s, Mollie emphasised how her life has evolved into this new chapter becoming a mother and building a family. She lit up, “It’s been amazing. Nothing can really prepare you for it. But with two older sisters, who have both got children, I kind of went into it thinking, yeah I’ve got the basics down. But oh my goodness, until you’re doing it, it’s so different. It’s one of those things where you are learning on the job.”

She continued, “Annabella is my proudest achievement. I just feel like I’ve learned so much from her, she’s just changed my world. I feel like I’ve got a new best friend. So I feel like everything I do is for her and her future.”

Looking to the future, as Mollie opens up about future wedding plans. She teased, “It’s so exciting to look into the future and just see her [Annabella] just being the main part of our life really. The wedding is definitely something that we’re planning on doing as soon as we can and I just love that she will be involved in it.”

Where It’s At: A Short History of Girl Bands is available to stream on BBC Sounds.



Catherine Harbour


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