How Priyanka’s new music got a ‘statement of approval’ from Little Mix’s Jade Thirlwall

On the left, drag wueen Priyanka with a dark orange wig and denim jacket. On the right, Little Mix singer Jade Thirlwall in a black vest top and her hair in a high ponytail.

Canada’s Drag Race winner and We’re Here presenter Priyanka is in her “Renaissance era”. At least that’s what her fans online – and Little Mix star Jade Thirlwall – have told her.

The drag star and musician released new single “No New Friends” last month, and the music video earlier this week (12 April). Now, as she waits for the arrival of her debut album later in the year, she’s gearing up to become a fully fledged pop star.

Part of that preparation has involved sitting down with LGBTQ+ ally and one-third of the UK’s girl band Little Mix, Jade Thirlwall, who gave the album “the pop star statement of approval”.

Speaking exclusively to PinkNews, Priyanka reveals how their meeting came about, and what the Brit-Award-winner had to say about her music.

“Can we talk about when Jade took me out for dinner? It was her and [me] and her friend, and she listened to my whole album and was giving me notes,” Priyanka says.

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While worried that Thirlwall would treat her like a super fan – “I got front-row tickets to Ariana Grande [on the Dangerous Woman tour] to watch [Little Mix] do only four songs,” she says – instead the Little Mix legend was “amazing” and the pair spent the evening gossiping and talking tunes.

“She listened to my music. She was like: ‘I was on the train and you sent it at the right time. I listened to it and I love this song, I love that song’,” Priyanka adds.

Thirlwall has spoken extensively in support of trans rights and is an ambassador for LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall. She is also a notable drag fan, and has appeared as a guest judge on Drag Race UK.

Little Mix star Jade Thirlwall appears as a guest judge on Drag Race UK vs The World
Little Mix star Jade Thirlwall was a judge on Drag Race UK vs The World. (BBC)

“It’s not performative. It’s so genuine,” Priyanka says of Thirlwall’s allyship.

“I feel like she’s just so inspired by the art. She likes my art, and that’s why she would listen to my music. It’s not just: ‘Oh, let me be an ally’, you know what I mean?”

In addition to getting an endorsement from a premium pop star, Priyanka is also working with some of the people behind pop’s biggest hits.

“I’ve totally flipped my entire team,” she says. “I’m working with Josh Cumbee, who’s the executive producer of my album, and he is a f**king beast. He’s worked with Olivia Rodrigo. He’s worked with Madonna. He’s worked with Janet Jackson.”

She and Cumbee wrote “No New Friends” together, finishing it within four hours.

There’s also music still to come created with hit-makers such as Pentatonix’s Scott Hoying, and Damon Sharpe, who has worked with Jennifer Lopez, Ariana Grande and Kylie Minogue.

We're Here star Priyanka poses with her finger on her lip while against a golden background.
Priyanka’s music has received the seal of approval from pop royalty. (Nick Merzetti)

Although Priyanka has the charisma, nerve, talent and Kylie collaborators to become a chart-topping songstress in her own right, does she think the world is ready for a drag-queen-turned-pop-queen?

“I’m gonna be the one to do it, b**ch,” she declares. “I’m learning that there’s only space for you if you’re willing to carve it out. I know as a young child, someone would tell me that that’s obnoxious and cocky… but I’m like, no,” she says.

“The industry is only going to be as ready for it as I am.”

“No New Friends” is out now.