Wednesday, 15 June 2011
Miserable Ugly Rude Ginger Bitch
Nicola Roberts is many things to many people. For some she's a fiery haired porcelain skinned chick from Lincolnshire. To others she is the successful entrepreneur behind the Dainty Doll Company that develops makeup for women with pale skin and vehemently advocates a total ban on sunbeds and minors. For the vast majority of people in the United Kingdom Nicola Roberts is simply one fifth of the world's most successful reality television girl group, Girls Aloud.
Nicola Roberts isn't the most well known member of Girls Aloud. She was often labelled "the ugly one" or "the miserable one" or "the rude ginger bitch" during her time in the group. Radio 1's Chris Moyles, who is no oil painting himself, nastily referred to Ms. Roberts as a "sour faced cow".
While fellow Girls Aloud members like Nadine Coyle, and more infamously Cheryl Cole, have ascended the celebrity runway only to crash and burn (even Kimberly Walsh was sacked from her presenting stint on Xtra Factor), Nicola Roberts has stayed well below the gossip radar, diligently working on her solo material.
This month sees the release of Nicola's first single Beat of my Drum. Her debut album Cinderella's Eyes will hit stores sometime in October 2011 (I wonder what compelled her record label to release it so close to Christmas?) and will reveal the fruits of an LP that took Nicola and staff a year to record.
The reason why I'm talking about Nicola Roberts has less to do with respect and more to do with admiration for how she's gone about structuring her new solo career with aplomb. Cinderella's Eyes features some of the most hippest music producers money can buy. They include Dimitri Tikovoi (Goldfrapp, The Horrors), Diplo (M.I.A), Metronomy (Roots Manuva), as well as Canadian electro-pop mixers Dragonette. The girl has done her homework and if any former member of Girls Aloud has the capability of cracking America, and maybe some equally lucrative territories, then your money should be on Nicola Roberts. (I can imagine Americans reading this post will scream out "over my dead body!")
The snooty UK music press has already bowed to Nicola Roberts genius, with The Guardian and NME falling over backwards to interview the singer about collaborating with so many of the world's most sought after music producing talents; desperately trying to figure out what they all saw in her that the rest of us couldn't.
So how has this girl who was relegated to ginger wallpaper in a manufactured pop band reinvented herself as a credible artist the music press now confidently assumes will generate big success? It has everything to do with placement. Nicola Roberts may be a competent singer the way that most of us are competent at cartwheels but she is by no means an extraordinary talent. What strikes me is that she is an ambitious young woman who took note of credible music zeitgeist trends and put in place a plan of action to create an album that is, in her words, "different to anything else around".
Dimitri Tikovoi (aka: Dimitri From Paris) and Diplo may be too cool for school music producers who'd scoff at the idea of working with manufactured pop figures, but even they have now been caught sneaking into the schoolyard to surreptitiously smooch a blandly ordinary pop princesses like Nicola Roberts. The truth is that both of these superproducers have slyly sold out on previous occasions by producing pop tracks for other generic mainstream performers. Dimitri has produced a few songs for British pop starlet Sophie Ellis-Bextor, and Diplo shamelessly agreed to hand Beyonce use of his Major Lazar track Pon de Floor which she then turned into an absolute pig's ear with Run the World (Girls).
Pon De Floor by Major Lazer
Run The World (Girls) by Beyoncé
One can argue that music producers have to eat too and limiting yourself for credibility's sake is not always the most prudent business decision. Therefore, by selling out, these guys are in fact merely communicating the versatility of their talents―talents that straddle both music experimentation and pop perfection with ease.