Nelson left the four-piece – who were put together on The X Factor in 2011 – earlier this year, citing problems with her mental health and the pressures of being in a girl band. She will release her first solo music in the coming months.
The remaining members of Little Mix, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Jade Thirlwall and Perrie Edwards, meanwhile released their new single “Love (Sweet Love)” on Friday (3 September).
Now Waterman, who is best known as part of the Stock Aitken Waterman songwriting team, has compared Little Mix to the Spice Girls following the departure of Geri Halliwell.
“In the beginning the music comes out... punch, bang, and you fit the image,” he told The Sun. “But then the girls themselves became more important than the records because the marketing machine takes over.
“If you’re fighting for your place in that band, it becomes a battle of attrition for who’s got the most publicity. And then one of them leaves, like Geri Halliwell did. It’s the trap most of these types of bands fall into. The girls think they’re bigger than the music they create and the band fails.”
Waterman said that while the group had done well for lasting as long as they had, given they were put together “unnaturally”, he said that the members of Little Mix had “changed” and “become characters”.
“You are putting four people together like that who, before your television show, have had no contact with each other, and you’re asking them to bond and become friends and work together,” the music producer added.
"At the end of the day, there’s always going to be friction and when it comes to the likes of Little Mix, you’ve got very strong characters all fighting.”
Little Mix will release their first greatest hits album Between Us later this year.
In a recent interview, Nelson said that the decision to leave Little Mix was as much her band members’ choice as her own.