We never expected Nicola Roberts to be such a force to be reckoned with when she announced she was working on her debut solo record. Cinderella’s Eyes delivers on many levels. Forward thinking, fresh and insanely addictive. I caught up with the lady herself this week and she told me all about working on the album. Where the music came from and we also touched on when the Girls Aloud babes will be back in our faces. Enjoy.
You must be thrilled with the finished results of Cinderella’s Eyes?
This is an incredibly personal album. It’s been incredible working out what I wanted to do as a solo artist. I was left to my own devices and roaming around to work out what I wanted to do. One of the things I’m grateful for is the fact I’ve learnt so much by doing this. I wanted to learn about making music. Before with the girls it was a completely different process. We go into the studio, sing the lyrics and leave. Thios time I was in there learning studio lingo. I’ve always loved to write. So it was about trying to perfect a new talent.
Did you know what route you wanted to go down with your solo music?
I knew I wanted to do electro stuff and that would be my sound. But in terms of concepts it was all quite vast and it took a while to find my sound. You go in with different people and different producers and you need to find people you work well with. It was hard to find the right person. It wasn’t until I found Dimitri Tikovoi that I found the person I could work with on the project. We worked so well together and we were a team. He took me under his wing and I enjoyed every second. He taught me as much as he could every single day. We wrote Yo-Yo and it just rolled. Metronomy’s Joseph Mount was so open to my ideas and we got the best stuff out of working together too.
Was it scary being all by yourself without the Girls Aloud ladies alongside you?
It was daunting being on my own. But I didn’t feel like I was under pressure. I was in the studio every day and it was like being on a treadmill for me. Some days I wrote shit songs but some days we got a winner and you were totally uplifted. For about a year I was there every day and submersed in studio life. I wore a hoodie and a pony tail every day and I was in charge of the kitchen. It was an enjoyable experience and not pressurised. There was no time line on it and if I wasn’t confident on it then it wouldn’t have been released. I didn’t tell anyone I was writing and wanted to do it at my own pace.
How different was it to being in the band?
It was totally different. The thing with the band is there are five different girls and a producer, a lyricist and the situation with Xenomania is we are a team and everybody is part of that team.
But you can’t have five cooks in the kitchen so we take their lead. Nadine’s album is her sound, mine is very different to that and Cheryl’s album is hugely different again. It would never work if we all wanted to be a solo star – we work well as a group.
Making the record wasn’t really odd for me. I never went into Girls Aloud thinking one day I’d make a solo record. It’s bizarre thinking it’s done and about to be released.
Were you disappointed the debut single Beat of My Drum didn’t go straight to number one?
We sold a lot of Beat of my Drum. It was on air/on sale. And it’s hard. They’re happy with how it did. We sold really well. I wasn’t really worried about not going straight to the top of the charts.
How important is fashion to your life?
The fashion side of things isn’t a conscious thing for me. It’s a personal thing and I’ve found my feet in the fashion world. When you get to a certain age you get comfortable with your look and that’s wear I am. I’ve learnt to be comfortable with the way I look. I wear clothes that make me feel great.
I think you’re very fashion forward.
I follow fashion, I’m into it and it excites me.
I’m surprised you don’t have your own clothing range yet.
I don’t think I’m in a position where I could have my own fashion range yet. I’m not just a dolly that gets dressed up. I know what I want/ I can be half an hour late but if I don’t like what I’m wearing then I’m not comfortable.
Do you buy a lot of designer clothes?
Not really. I spend a lot of money in Topshop though. I shop there first and foremost. I’m not some excessive shopper. I never go into designer shops and buy a £250 jumper. I never spend that – it’s not worth it. I wear things twice too – I’m not worried about wearing things again. Christ, I’ve got a little leather jacket I wear every day. I’m surprised nobody has pulled me up on that yet.
How important is it being a businesswoman these days for you?
I’m thinking about the future and I like business. I love working on my make-up range Dainty Doll. And there’s lots going on behind the scenes. I like the way business makes you feel. It’s a power trip now and again. It’s healthy to be in control of your assets. One day I’m going to want kids and settle down.
Who are your fashion inspirations?
Rihanna. Even the bloody swimming costumes she wears. She can do anything. Gaga is too much for me though. I’m a girlie girl. Rihanna’s perfect in every way. She’s not afraid with her style and she looks comfortable in everything. I’ve got a major girl crush on her.
What about Victoria Beckham….
Well style is so personal. You can’t judge anybody on it. I admire lots of people but I’d never put anybody down for it.
Have you done a runway show before?
One for Fashion For Relief. With clothes I just can’t be shoved in some outfit and trotted around. I’m a person and actually don’t like being tugged and pulled. A lot goes into what I wear – I wear things to show how I feel.
Any big outfit regrets?
Absolutely loads. The Jump video is particularly bad. Black hair underneath and the top was horrendous. It wasn’t one of our high points.
Best and worst body part?
I hate my hands. They’re always a bit red and chunky. I have the same hands as me dad. My best body part is me hair. I love me hair. I can do a lot with it and it never gets boring.
Which celebrity body do you admire?
Abbey Clancy has a killer body. Rihanna has an amazing body – see I can’t stop thinking about her.
Any other obsessions?
Beyonce. I’m overly obsessed with Beyonce. I feel like she’s taught me how to become a woman through my life. I feel like I’m in the transition period to becoming a woman. I was the youngest in the band and I’m 25 now. When I have a decision to make I say: “What would Beyonce do.” I’m not even joking. Beyonce is a joke – she’s so incredible in every way. Every day when I’m doing my vocal exercises I say to myself ‘Beyonce wasn’t built in a day’. She’s very inspirational.
Are you settled down and ready for marriage and kids now with your man Charlie Fennell?
I’m not ready for marriage yet. I like the fact me and Charlie are boyfriend and girlfriend. My mum and dad married really young. My mum had me at 18. I definitely do want kids one day but not yet. I want to have quite a lot of children though. I want to be old with all the kids coming round for their kids. I want masses of them.
There’s no Girls Aloud kids yet…
I know. Not yet. But one day there will be.
What’s happening with the Girls Aloud reunion plans for 2012?
There will be something for the 10th anniversary. It’s a case of something will happen but it’s too early to say. I’m so excited about it I can’t tell you. Very. We are all in touch. And we are in touch with Nadine – but it is hard. She’s in the US. I’ve got friends in Liverpool that I haven’t seen since May. It’s tough keeping in touch with everyone. Nadine lives in America so we can’t meet up easily.
I’m meeting up with the girls on Sunday and we’re having a take away. We will all be in tracksuits and chilling. If Nadine was here then she’d be there too.
It’s been nice that we’ve all had our own individual journeys. I’ve learnt so much on mine. And I’m ready to get back to the Girls when the time is right.
The magazines are obsessed with your weight too – they’ve called you a lollipop head in the past. Thoughts?
It’s such a sensitive subject and I think that it shouldn’t be written about by them. There are girls and boys out there that really have to deal with those issues. It’s insensitive to comment on other people’s weight. I eat like a horse and I hate the cliché of people saying that.
My average breakfast, lunch and dinner is muesli with fruit – sometimes bacon – grilled fish and chips for lunch and Charlie will usually do chicken skewers and potatoes for tea. I actually do have to eat a lot because I’m hypoglycaemic. I need to eat all the time to keep my sugar up.
Do you watch what you eat at all?
I’m allergic to wheat and dairy so I have a nightmare with eating. But I try and keep myself in check. At first my whole world crumbled because I thought I couldn’t eat anything. M+S ready meals were an immediate no-no. I didn’t have a nutritionist to help me out – I think if you go down that route you can end up driving yourself mental. It gets too much. Eating wheat and dairy gave me really bad skin and it was becoming a real problem – especially as I’m one of those people who can sit in bed and literally eat a whole packet of chocolate biscuits in one sitting.
People think I eat weirdly because of the weight thing. But it’s not. It’s because of my skin – which is frustrating.
Lucky Day is out tomorrow and the album Cinderella’s Eyes is out September 26