While her band mate Cheryl Cole is making headlines over a "shock firing" from her US X Factor judging gig, Girls Aloud's Nicola Roberts is stepping out to debut her solo single.
Nicola Roberts - best recognised as the ginger member of UK's biggest selling pop girl group Girls Aloud - has been quietly working on her debut solo album following the band's hiatus in 2009. While the other members of the group have tackled solo music projects to varying successes, Nicola remained the last member to release any material.
She premiered her debut single 'Beat of My Drum' on UK radio earlier this week, which was immediately embraced with much fan excitement and blog rave reviews. The track is best described as a petulant electro pop piece marrying "street cool" spoken word verses with an absolutely bonkers glucose-pop hook. 'Beat of My Drum' is produced by Diplo, the man behind hits for MIA and Robyn, and is co-written with Dmitri Tikovoi, who has written tracks for Sophie Ellis-Bextor's "Trip The Light Fantastic" album. 'Beat of My Drum' features a sample of Major Lazer's 2009 smash 'Pon De Floor', which incidentally was also recently sampled by Beyonce on 'Run The World (Girls)'.
The song contains various "dance" references to reflect themes of coming into your own style and embracing the freedom of doing things your way. She sings, "Once upon a time I pressed rewind, two left feet I had no beat. Baby in the corner learning quick. Keep up, keep up, keep up! Graduation, take a bow. See how strong you've made me now?"
In a recent interview with the Guardian, Nicola spoke of her apprehension with hearing the completed single mix for the first time. "It meant so much to me that I was frightened I'd be let down by it," she explained. "I was at home in Liverpool and I put my little brother and sister in the car, burnt it off onto a CD, drove to this deserted field and put it on so loud that the trees were... [does an impression of a wobbly tree]. I looked at my brother, this 14-year old lad, and he went, 'That is cool'. Then my little sister, she's 21 and a real girl's girl, said 'That is fly'. I'm so proud of it. I can't believe it's mine."
The 25-year old also revealed that she had deliberately recorded the album without notifying her label or workmates, preferring to create her own sound without the pressures of her label being involved. "If I'd had a deal [for the album] straight away, I'd have been summoned to make a record that maybe I wasn't necessarily that comfortable or confident with, and I would have had to release it, whether it was shit or not," she said, frankly. "I didn't want to play it safe and I didn't want to make a record that was a guaranteed commercial success."
Commercial success, particularly in the UK, has been a big talking point for every Girls Aloud project - solo or collectively. As a band, the pop quintet has released five studio albums and 21 singles between 2003 to 2009, with every album boasting platinum sales and a stellar record of 20 consecutive UK Top 20 singles - making Girls Aloud the most successful reality TV-formed group. Cheryl Cole is to date the most successful member of the band, achieving two consecutive solo UK #1 albums bearing a #1 single from each record - 'Fight For This Love' and 'Promise This'. Nicola Roberts' own solo single will be released in the UK on 5 June with an album slated for later this year.