Twelve months ago, four extremely talented singers and dancers answered a casting call to form a world class four part harmony group. Those girls are Patrice Tipoki (22), Jessica Smith (19), Renee Bargh (20) and Renee Armstrong (20). The group they formed is called Girlband. And it is precisely that: four girls, locked arm in arm, chasing their musical dream.
Girlband worked their asses off for more than a year just to score a record deal. They put everything on hold - their lives and their already well-established performance careers - on the simple belief they could create something special, together.
Girlband endured gruelling, 12 hour day performance 'bootcamps' that honed their fitness levels, their vocals, their harmonies, their choreography. They've spent countless hours in the studio demo-ing songs by some of the world's best writers - then made them their own. They've performed a nerve-wracking record company showcase that earned them a deal with Sony BMG. Now, finally, they're completing work on the album that has made it all worthwhile.
And make no mistake, when you hear it, you'll check your preconceptions at the door. As the supercharged, electro-rock pop crunch of their The Prodigy meets The Bangles first single "Party Girl" makes so explicitly clear, Girlband's debut is a treacle free zone.
Infused with raucous rock attitude, twenty-something exuberance and undeniable pop smarts, this is an album - like the girls themselves - that defies easy categorisation. There's snatches of edgy R&B ("Coming Out Fighting", "Cool It Down"), quirky pop "Spare Parts"), full tilt pop-rock ("Kiss Me Or Die", "Stand Up"), the odd soulful ballad ("Why", "Don't Look Now", "Ready Now") and a couple of revelatory covers ("Sweet Dreams", "Walk Like An Egyptian"), but ultimately it's shaped and defined by the raw energy and passions of the four girls who created it.
But the story doesn't, and won't, end with the album's release. Because live, Girlband is set to be a tour-de-force of song and dance. Think the Pussycat Dolls. And then some. Every member of Girlband has an enviable performance background that's guaranteed to make both their clips and their live performances show-stopping extravaganzas.
Three of the girls - Jessica Smith, Renee Bargh and Renee Armstrong - all graduated from the prestigious Brent Street Performing Arts college, and have all gone on to work extensively in the entertainment industry in acting, dancing and modelling capacities. What follows is but a sliver of their exhaustive feats: Jessica Smith has appeared in Blue Water High, Home & Away and Always Greener, as well as appearing in a range of stage productions that include Caroline O'Connor - All That Jazz; Renee Bargh has appeared in theatre productions that include Hats Off 2005 and Wimbledon Charity Ball 2004; Renee Armstrong has appeared in Bootmen (both film and stage productions), Home & Away and Always Greener. The fourth member, Patrice Tipoki, is a WA Academy of Performing Arts Musical Theatre Graduate and has toured with a number of musical theatre productions, including We Will Rock You and, most recently, as the lead character of Nala in Disney's The Lion King. www.girlband.com.auNow available through Kmart stores Girlband new Fashion Range.