DNA (Little Mix album)

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Little Mix DNA (Official Album Cover).png
Studio album by Little Mix
Released 16 November 2012 (2012-11-16)
Recorded December 2011 – September 2012
Length 43:50
Label Syco
Little Mix chronology
Singles from DNA
  1. "Wings"
    Released: 24 August 2012
  2. "DNA"
    Released: 1 October 2012
  3. "Change Your Life"
    Released: 15 February 2013
  4. "How Ya Doin'?"
    Released: 17 April 2013

DNA is the debut studio album by British girl group Little Mix. It was released on 19 November 2012 in the United Kingdom[4] via Syco Music. The group began work recording the album in December 2011 and concluded in September 2012. Throughout the recording process, Little Mix worked with several producers, including TMS, Future Cut, Steve Mac, Jarrad Rogers, Richard "Biff" Stannard, Ash Howes, Jon Levine, Xenomania, Fred Ball and Pegasus. The album was co-written by Little Mix and they stated that they were involved in the development of the album as much as possible. Sonically, the album is primarily a mixture of pop and R&B records, with influences from dance-pop, pop rock and hip hop found on specific songs as well. The album's lyrical content explores empowerment, relationships and heartbreak. Songs on the album were also co-written by members of other girl groups, including Nicola Roberts of Girls Aloud, Shaznay Lewis of All Saints and T-Boz of TLC.

DNA received mixed reviews from music critics. The album's lead single, "Wings", was released on 26 August 2012, reaching number one in UK and Ireland as well as charting in Australia, New Zealand, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Belgium, Canada and the US. The second single, "DNA", was released on 11 November 2012, peaking at number three in the UK. Two post-album singles were released: "Change Your Life" on 3 February 2013, and a remix of "How Ya Doin'?" featuring American rapper Missy Elliott was released on 17 April 2013; both songs reached the top 20 in the UK.

The album charted in the top 5 in eight countries, including number three in the UK, and at number four on the US Billboard 200; making Little Mix the first girl group since Danity Kane in 2006 to reach the top 5 with their debut album, as well as earning the highest debut Billboard chart position by a British girl group, breaking the record previously held by the Spice Girls' debut album Spice (1996).


Shortly after Little Mix won the eighth series of The X Factor, both Gary Barlow and Richard "Biff" Stannard were rumoured to be writing songs for the group's debut studio album.[5] On 25 January 2012, the group made an appearance at the National Television Awards, and performed the En Vogue song "Don't Let Go (Love)". They also accompanied The X Factor judges Barlow and Tulisa Contostavlos on stage to receive the Best Talent Show award won by the programme.[6] During an interview backstage, the group confirmed that they themselves had been writing material for their debut album, however had not yet received any input from Gary Barlow; and that plans to release their next single in March of that year were underway. It was announced, shortly after, that the release of the single had been delayed, and would now not be released until August.[7]

On 30 May 2012, the group announced through a live stream via Twitcam that their new single would be called "Wings", and a short snippet would premiere on Channel 4 that week after being played at their filming session for Alan Carr: Chatty Man. The group performed the single for the first time at the T4 on the Beach concert on 1 July 2012.[8] "Wings" received its official premiere on BBC Radio 1 on 2 July 2012. The single debuted at #1 on the UK Singles Chart on 2 September 2012.[9] On 17 September, the album's artwork was unveiled via the group's official Facebook page, which also confirmed that the album's second single, "DNA", would premiere on radio on 1 October and would be officially released on 12 November, a week prior to the release of the album.[10] The album's track listing was revealed on 28 September 2012 when it was posted on Amazon.co.uk.[4] An exclusive version of the album sold at HMV came with a free CD single of "DNA".[11]


Little Mix began their first overseas promotional campaign for the album on 28 October 2012 in Sydney. The group appeared on The X Factor (Australia),[12] giving a live performance of their single "Wings", which had already been released in Australia. The following morning, the group appeared on Sunrise.[citation needed] Their Australian promotional tour lasted a week and destinations included Sydney and Melbourne.[citation needed] In February 2013, the group conducted a social network campaign called "Mixers Magnets", in which fans worldwide took part in games set by the girls; points were awarded to fan's countries, with the girls performing in the Top 3.[citation needed] The campaign was won by Italy, France and the USA.[citation needed] The girls made their subsequent performances in France and Italy for the Album's April release.[citation needed]

Little Mix performed "Wings" for the first time at the T4 on the Beach concert on 1 July.[13][14] They also performed on Friday Download on 13 July, and on the second episode of the second series of Red or Black?, which aired on 25 August. On 18 July, the group performed a live acoustic session of "Wings" on In:Demand.[15] They also performed at G-A-Y Heaven on 18 August, which was celebrating their first birthday as a group. Little Mix released an acoustic version of "Wings" in late August.[citation needed]

On 3 September, after they reached number one with "Wings", they performed on the relaunch show of Daybreak.[citation needed] On 30 October and 31 October, the quartet performed on Australian The X Factor and Sunrise respectively. The group performed "Wings" and "DNA" live on BBC Radio 1's Teen Awards 2012.[16] On 24 October 2012, the group performed an a cappella version of "DNA" during a live UStream video.[17] On 16 November 2012, for Children In Need, Little Mix performed the song 'Change Your Life'.[citation needed] Little Mix made an appearance on BBC Breakfast to promote their album on 21 November.[citation needed] As part of the promotion, Little Mix performed an acoustic version of DNA on BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge, as well as on ITV show Loose Women on 23 November 2012.[citation needed]


On 30 May 2012, Little Mix confirmed the lead single and its title via Twitcam. For the single, "Wings", Little Mix worked with TMS, who co-produced the albums of MOBO-winning artists Emeli Sandé and Tinchy Stryder.[citation needed] "Wings" was released by Syco records on 26 August 2012 in the UK and Ireland. It was later released in Australia and New Zealand on 5 October 2012. The song peaked at number one in the United Kingdom and Ireland, while reaching number 3 in Australia and 15 in New Zealand. The single also charted in Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovak, Belgium, USA and Canada. Upon the first week of release, the single sold 107,000 copies.[18] Since then, "Wings" has also been certified Gold in Australia and New Zealand.[19]

The song "DNA", was selected as the second single from the album. The song was co-written and produced by TMS. The single was made available for digital download on iTunes on 11 November 2012. The song shares the same name as the album and during an interview, Jesy said that the song showed "a completely different side to Little Mix".[citation needed] "Change Your Life" was released as the third single on 3 February 2013.[20] "How Ya Doin'?" was chosen as the fourth and final single from the album. The single version features singer/rapper, Missy Elliott and premiered on UK radio station Capital FM on 27 March 2013.[21] The single was originally scheduled for a digital release on 5 May 2013, but instead was released on 17 April 2013.[citation needed]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 61/100[22]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[23]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[24]
Digital Spy 4/5 stars[25]
Time Out London 4/5 stars[26]
BBC Music (positive)[27]
Metro 3/5[28]

Upon its release, DNA received positive reviews from music critics. Al Fox from BBC Music was positive stating, "With placid, feline production, tight harmonies and breezy beats, much of DNA ambles along the well-trodden path of the temperate demi-ballad. But it's the ventures away from this that prove Little Mix function far better either side of mid-tempo."[27] Matt Collar of AllMusic gave the album three and a half stars out of 5 saying, "The 2011 winners of Britain's The X Factor TV show, four-piece girl group Little Mix deliver a slick, high-energy mix of dance-oriented pop music with their debut full-length album, 2012's DNA...Little Mix make good on their promise of updating the '90s girl group sound of En Vogue and TLC."[23] Rebecca Nicholson from The Guardian commented, "Their debut album arrives a year after the fact, and establishes their identity nicely, which is to say that they're being positioned as a sort of updated Girls Aloud with enormous drums and plenty of very "now" early-90s R&B references...When off-kilter beats collide with impeccable harmonies and pleasingly daft lyrics (literally, in the case of Madhouse, with its "Men in white coats, don't take me back there" line), it sounds like pop as it should be...", awarding the album three out of five stars.[citation needed]

Commercial performance[edit]

In the United Kingdom, as part of Amazon.com's Black Friday Deals Week, more than 500 customised versions of the album were sold out in just 13 seconds of release online. This surpassed a previous record set by One Direction's debut album Up All Night (2011), which was part of the same promotion the previous year. Customised versions of Up All Night sold out in just under one minute, nearly three times slower than that of Little Mix.[29] In Ireland, the album entered the chart at number three, behind Rihanna's Unapologetic and One Direction's Take Me Home. In the UK, it also placed in the same position behind the same two albums. By the end of the year, the album sold 234,000 copies, placing it 39th on the Top 40 biggest selling albums of the year.[30] On 19 July 2013, DNA was officially certified Platinum by the British Phonographic Industry.[31] The album spent a total of 36 weeks on the UK charts[32] and has sold 403,116 copies as of November 2016.[33]

After its Europe-wide release, the album placed in the top 5 in Italy and Norway, in the top 10 in Czech Republic and Sweden, in the top 20 in Denmark and Spain, in the top 30 in France and Portugal, and in the top 50 in Finland, Belgium and the Netherlands. It was released in United States and Canada on 28 May. DNA has peaked in the top 10 of eight countries worldwide, including the UK, Australia and Italy.

In the US, DNA entered the Billboard 200 album chart at number four after selling over 50,000 copies, behind the albums of Daft Punk (Random Access Memories), Alice in Chains (The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here) and John Fogerty (Wrote a Song for Everyone). DNA was the highest charting debut-week entry album by a British girl group in the US; a record previously held by the Spice Girls' debut album Spice (1997) which debuted at number six, but which later went on to number one.[34] On digital sales alone, DNA was second in the charts.[35] As of December 2013, the album has sold over 121,000 copies in the US.[36]

Track listing[edit]

DNA – Standard edition[37]
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Wings" TMS 3:40
2. "DNA"
  • Barnes
  • Kelleher
  • Kohn
  • James
  • Edwards
  • Nelson
  • Pinnock
  • Thirlwall
TMS 3:56
3. "Change Your Life"
  • Stannard
  • Powell
  • Howes
4. "Always Be Together"
  • Dean
  • DAPO
5. "Stereo Soldier"
  • James
  • Barnes
  • Kelleher
  • Kohn
TMS 3:22
6. "Pretend It's OK"
7. "Turn Your Face" Mac 3:41
8. "We Are Who We Are" Mac 3:04
9. "How Ya Doin'?"
Future Cut 3:13
10. "Red Planet" (featuring T-Boz) Levine 3:46
11. "Going Nowhere"
Ball 3:45
12. "Madhouse"
Pegasus 3:49
Total length: 43:50
DNA: The Deluxe edition – Disc 1 (CD)
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
13. "Love Drunk"
  • Paul Meehan
  • Tim Woodcock
  • Alessandro Benassi
  • Pinnock
  • Meehan
  • Matt Furmidge
14. "Make You Believe"
  • Barnes
  • Kelleher
  • Kohn
  • James
  • Anquetill
TMS 3:41
15. "Case Closed"
  • Robbie Lamond
  • Cathy Dennis
  • Lewis
  • Babalola
  • Edwards
  • Nelson
  • Pinnock
  • Thirlwall
  • Future Cut
  • Lamond
16. "DNA" (Unplugged)
  • Barnes
  • Kelleher
  • Kohn
  • James
  • Edwards
  • Nelson
  • Pinnock
  • Thirlwall
Total length: 58:33


  • ^[a] – signifies an additional vocal producer
  • ^[b] – signifies a vocal producer


Adapted from AllMusic.[43]

  • Philippe Marc Anquetil – mixing, vocal engineer, vocal producer
  • Dan Aslet – vocal engineer
  • Daniel Aslet – vocal engineer
  • Iyiola Babalola – drums
  • Fred Ball – keyboards, percussion, producer
  • Thomas Barnes – drums
  • Simon Clarke – arranger, alto saxophone, baritone saxophone
  • Ben Collier – vocal engineer
  • Miranda Cooper – programming
  • Tom Coyne – mastering
  • DAPO – mixing
  • Ester Dean – producer, vocal producer
  • Perrie Edwards – vocals
  • Ben Epstein – bass, guitars, producer
  • Brett Farkas – guitars
  • Luke Fitton – guitars, programming
  • Future Cut – engineer, producer
  • Paul Gendler – guitars
  • Serban Ghenea – mixing
  • Matt Gray – programming
  • Michael Hamilton – bass
  • John Hanes – engineer
  • Wayne Hector – composer
  • Brian Higgins – producer, programming
  • Ash Howes – producer
  • Iain James – vocal arrangement, vocal producer, background vocals
  • Josh Jenkin – programming
  • Peter Kelleher – keyboards, synthesizer
  • The Kick Horns – brass
  • Ben Kohn – guitar, keyboards
  • Tyson Kuteyi – engineer
  • Chris Laws – drums, mixing
  • Jon Levine – engineer, piano, producer
  • Darren Lewis – guitars, instrumentation, keyboards
  • Dave Liddell – trombone
  • Steve Mac – keyboards, piano arrangement, producer, string arrangements, synthesizer
  • MNEK – programming
  • Rocky Morris – drums, keyboards, programming
  • Jesy Nelson – vocals
  • Pegasus – producer
  • Leigh-Anne Pinnock – vocals
  • Tim Powell – producer
  • Dann Pursey – engineer
  • Ryan Quigley – trumpet
  • Jacob Quistgaard – guitars
  • Carmen Reece – vocal arrangement, background vocals
  • James F. Reynolds – mixing, vocal producer
  • Daniel Rivera – assistant engineer
  • Andy Robinson – programming
  • Tim Sanders – arranger, tenor saxophone
  • Rufio Sandilands – drums, keyboards, programming
  • Toby Scott – engineer, programming
  • Phil Seaford – assistant engineer
  • Slick Rick – featured artist
  • Richard "Biff" Stannard – producer
  • Shea Stedford – assistant engineer
  • T-boz – Featured Artist
  • Phil Tan – mixing
  • Ben Taylor – engineer, programming
  • Jade Thirlwall – vocals
  • TMS – arranger, producer
  • Dapo Torimiro – engineer, instrumentation, producer
  • Jeremy Wheatley – mixing
  • Darren Wiles – trumpet
  • Xenomania – producer

Charts and certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format(s) Label(s)
Ireland 16 November 2012 Syco Music
United Kingdom 19 November 2012
Australia[69] 23 November 2012 Sony Music Australia
New Zealand
Austria 19 April 2013 Syco Music
Bulgaria 22 April 2013
Czech Republic
Hong Kong
Spain Sony Music Spain
Mexico[70] 23 April 2013 Syco Music
Poland Sony Music Polska
Philippines[71] 27 April 2013 Sony Music Philippines
Taiwan 14 May 2013 Sony Music Taiwan
Canada 28 May 2013 Columbia Records
United States
Japan 21 August 2013 Sony Music Japan


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