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La Roux: The story behind a surprise hit

”Bulletproof” has exploded into a top 10 smash. Singer Elly Jackson explains how it caught fire

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The Inspiration
Mutual friends introduced Jackson to bandmate Ben Langmaid, a veteran U.K. producer, in 2005. They spent two years trying to get La Roux off the ground as a folkie act before Jackson discovered she shared Langmaid’s love of electronic grooves. ”I started to go out raving,” she says. ”It made me think about how I could take elements of dance music and put them into what we were doing.”

The Breakthrough
Around the time that their dance-pop single ”In for the Kill” was climbing the U.K. charts, La Roux opened for Lily Allen on a tour of Britain. ”We’d only ever played little bars,” Jackson says. ”Me and Lily have been very good friends ever since.” Soon after, ”Bulletproof” debuted at No. 1, cementing La Roux’s place as one of England’s hottest new acts.

The Moment of Truth
Many a European star has floundered on American shores, but La Roux took a shot at crossing the Atlantic anyway, booking more dates in the U.S. ”For English bands, to conquer America is a difficult thing to do. Not many people do it at all. It’s been a goal of ours for about a year.”

The Payoff
”Bulletproof” is quickly turning into one of the summer’s biggest hits, recently cracking the top 10 of Billboard‘s Hot 100. Jackson’s just trying to keep things in perspective. ”Even if ‘Bulletproof’ does keep rising up the charts, it’s still not a guarantee that you will be an album act in the U.S. There’s still so much work for us to do.”