VIDEO: Girl Authority live
The Click Five are sequestered somewhere inside Q Division studio, and Girl Authority are seated in a circle in the lounge area, scheming a way to meet the lead singer.
“I never knew long hair looked so good on a guy!”
“I’m so in love!”
“They’re sooooo good!”
They start to sing the chorus to the Click Five single “Just the Girl,” except they change the lyrics so that they’re in the first person.
“I’m just the girl you’re lookin’ for/And when you see it’s me/On your caller ID/You won’t pick up the phone/You’d rather be alone . . . ”
They sing louder, showing off a little.
“Shhh! You’re embarrassing me!”
“Ohmigod, he’s SO GOOD.”
“Ohmigod, what if this is their next, like, hit. And we’re sitting here!”
“I love his long hair. Dark, long hair.”
Even though they’d have been happier if I were a skinny dude with doe eyes and a guitar slung over my shoulder, the five members of Girl Authority I speak with (four were away on vacation or at a play rehearsal at the time) are charming and polite. You couldn’t conceive of their acting the part of flashy mini-divas — particularly 14-year-old Jacqueline, who’s soft-spoken and delicate in a way that makes you want to protect her from mean boys. They’re also already stunners: glowing complexions that would suit a Clean & Clear commercial, big smiles with straight or in-the-process-of-being-straightened teeth, trendy clothes.
Girl Authority formed when Rounder Records asked Samantha Hammel, a Sudbury-based talent manager, to recommend potential candidates for a girl-pop group. She had previously worked with each of the girls, who range from 9 to 14 years old, in community theater or her Friends of Broadway program, and all of them were already friends. Seven of the nine are from Sudbury; two are from surrounding towns Weston and Westborough. Of course they get carpooled to rehearsals.
You can already hear the girls’ voices maturing on their sophomore album, Road Trip (Zoë/Rounder), which Hammel executive-produced with the band’s current production manager, Liza Levy. On their homonymous debut, the production occasionally reduced them to sugary twee. If Girl Authority was Kidz Bop with a High School Musical Broadway edge, Road Trip amplifies this, setting the band up as more than mere impersonators. Five original tracks commissioned by Rounder are interspersed among the 14 vacation-themed covers. “This Is My Day,” a self-confidence anthem that flexes major pop muscle, was written by Tanya Donelly (Throwing Muses/Belly), and Vince Clarke (Erasure/Depeche Mode) penned the synth-happy opener, “Let’s Get Together.” No surprise, they’re two of the album’s best tracks. Although there are moments on Road Trip where I find it necessary to turn the volume down and think Simon Cowell–ish karaoke thoughts, Girl Authority are pre-packaged for an audience that probably couldn’t care less what a grumpy Brit might say about the band’s song choices and harmonizing skills.