How Little Mix’s Perrie grew up with music

Little Mix singer Perrie Edwards with her grandma Nancy and her partner Stuart.
Little Mix singer Perrie Edwards with her grandma Nancy and her partner Stuart.

John Miles once proclaimed: “Music was my first love, and it will be my last. Music of the future, and music of the past.”

And that is certainly true of Little Mix’s Perrie Edwards and her family.

For as Perrie’s grandma Nancy Hogg explains, music has played a massive part in all their lives.

I spoke to Nancy about her early years, and she told me that she went to school in St Mary’s Infants and Junior school, Tyne Dock.

“I then went on to Stanhope School until I began work at Ford’s Engineering Factory, when I was 15, making ‘things for ships’.

“From there I went to the Eskimo Slipper factory, off Frederick Street, making shoes and slippers.

“I was married before I was 17, and left work to start a family.”

What about the music you used to listen to in those days?

“I used to listen to Johnnie Ray, David Whitfield and Alma Cogan, but my favourite was Mario Lanza. I watched him in the Great Caruso just the other week, he had a lovely voice.”

Even when the record player was quiet, there was still music filling the house.

“I had the wireless on all day long.”

Eventually though a new form of entertainment found its way into the family home.

“We didn’t get a television set until I was 16, and I was still at home.

“I remember the Coronation of the Queen in 1953. I was the Coronation Queen for Bede Street.

“I had curly hair, and was dressed in a ball gown and a crown.

“It was a wonderful day. We had dinner in the canteen in Hudson Street.”

Throughout her life, Nancy has sang and been sung to – a gift which has served Perrie well in her rise to international stardom.

“I have had a life of music. I love anything to do with the music industry.

“Perrie has been used to music all her life.

“We are all singers. I used to sing songs by Doris Day, Barbara Streisand and Shirley Bassey – I have a powerful voice.”

Tell me about Perrie’s younger life.

“She was singing and whistling from two years old. She was always singing. She sang from being very small.

“She also taught herself to play guitar and piano. She was very musical and a lovely singer.

“It was born into her, all our family were singers.”

Nancy’s partner Stuart Gasston said Nancy has a wonderful voice and gets standing ovations wherever she goes.

“Perrie gets her singing gift from Nancy and her mother Deborah. They have encouraged her right from the very beginning, pushing her to get up and sing and do what she does.

“Perrie thinks the world of Nancy.”

Away from music, what else did you and your family enjoy doing?

“We used to walk to the beach every day when we were children.

“We went along Ocean Road and called in to Colman’s fish and chip shop and then off to the beach.

“I spent all day there, from morning to night, with my brothers and sisters. We were never bored.”

In later years, it was Perrie’s turn to enjoy the delights of living so close to the sea and the countryside.

“We used to take Perrie all over. She loved being out and about.”

She’s certainly getting out and about now ... flying the world to entertain music-lovers far and wide with her band-mates in Little Mix.