INTERVIEW: The Saturdays excited at returning to Sunderland + WIN TICKETS

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In a career spanning seven years, millions of record sales and countless concerts, Una Foden says The Saturdays’ debut appearance at the home of the Black Cats is still a stand-out moment for her.

That was back in 2009, just a year after the group had formed, as support for Take That on their spectacular Circus tour.

Fast-forward six years, and with a raft of hit singles under their belt, Una and group mates Frankie, Vanessa, Rochelle and Mollie will be stepping back on to the Stadium of Light stage next month for North East Live.

“Last time we were there was when we were supporting Take That, which was a very exciting time for us. I love being on tour and touring with Take That, in our early days, was a real highlight. Also getting our first number one, ” said Una.

The Saturdays join a stellar line up for the show, which also includes headliner Jessie J, Jason Derulo, Katy B, Rizzle Kicks and more.

Una said: “We’re really looking forward to it. It’s great to do these summer shows with all these big names. We always say that the further north we go, the louder and louder the crowds get. It’s important to have shows like this which have something for everyone from all these fun pop acts.”

Una says the band themselves are pop fans and will be trying to get a peek of the other acts’ sets.

“We do try to sneak to the side of the stage to see the other acts. I’m a big Jason Derulo fan so I’d like to try and see him. But it always takes a while to get all five of us sorted with hair and make up and we always like to make sure we’re well fed.”

The show will also be a return to an old stomping ground for group member Frankie, whose fiancé Wayne Bridge used to play for SAFC.

Ireland-born Una, who is married to rugby player Ben Foden, said: “My husband’s a rugby player so I’m not great with football. But I know Wayne played there and really enjoyed his time with Sunderland. I also know about Niall Quinn, so there’s that Irish connection.”

It’s been a whirlwind year for the group, who signed a deal with Mercury/Island Def Jam in the US, which was documented by E! reality TV series Chasing The Saturdays, while also finally scoring their first No.1 single with What About Us.

Recently they announced they’ll be releasing a Greatest Hits album in August, followed by a tour of the country which brings them to Newcastle’s City Hall on September 9.

While most bands release a greatest hits at the end of their career, Una insists the group is not splitting up.

“We felt after 17 singles that the time was right to release a greatest hits, to tour with it, and to celebrate with people who’ve supported us since the beginning.

“We’re definitely not splitting up, we’ll always be around as long as the fans want us.”

The album will include tracks such as All Fired Up, Higher, Ego, Missing You and more, as well as a selection of new tracks penned for the record. Una says she’s looking forward to re-living some of the group’s early releases.

“My favourites are lots of the early songs like Issues and All Fired Up, they hold such fun memories.

“We’re a pop act so we have to move with the times, we always try to keep current with our music while staying true to the fact that we’re a pop act.”

A lot has changed in the past seven years for the girls, not least the fact that Una, Frankie and Rochelle have become mothers. So how is it juggling pop success with being a mum? Una, who is mum to Aoife Belle, said: “It’s not simple, but it is possible. We’re like any other working mums. I realise people think we do an unusual job, but it’s all we’ve known for seven years. It’s finding the right balance. Our fans have never seen it as being a negative that we’re mums.

“We didn’t want to just stop the group because we’re mums.”

So in the fickle world of pop, how are The Saturdays still going strong? Una says the answer is simple: friendship.

“It’s so important to us that we get on and we’re lucky that we genuinely do. I don’t think we could have faked it all these years. Friendship is more important that anything to us.”

The Saturdays will be performing at North East Live at the Stadium of Light on Sunday, June 22. Tickets, priced from £25 are available from www.uklive.co.uk

Win tickets

We’ve teamed up with North East Live to give away a pair of tickets to the show.

To be in with a chance of winning, answer this question: What was The Saturdays first UK No.1?

A) Ego

B) What About Us

C) Missing You

To be in with a chance of winning, fill in your answer and details on the coupon and return it to North East Live Competition, Katy Wheeler, Echo House, Pennywell Industrial Estate, SR4 9ER.

Alternatively you can email your answer to katy.wheeler@jpress.co.uk. Closing date is May 29.