Girls Aloud star Nicola Roberts: I feel more like myself without make-up
I love Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream. I apply it liberally to my lips throughout the day and before bed. It’s also great for your hands, especially in the winter. For those days when I do need a little more help, Rodial Dragon’s Blood Eye Masks are great, along with the Dragon’s Blood Hyaluronic Mask.
Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder foundation and Magic Cream, as well as her Supermodel Body illuminator. She understands fairer skin tones, because she has red hair, pale skin and some freckles. I wear my own concealer, from my Dainty Doll beauty range.
It’s paraben free, so it’s kind to my skin. I also swear by Eylure Naturalites Natural Volume Lashes in 020 for a really casual look and the Texture Lashes in 154 if I’m going out.
No. I feel more like myself without make-up, because I’m at my most natural.
What’s your top beauty tip?
It’s no great revelation, but for me less is more.
How do you stay in shape?
I enjoy walks with my dogs and also like to run from time to time. I have danced since I was little, too. I keep my body supple and flexible with dance stretches.
It’s changed as I’ve grown up. Right now I’m wearing L’Occitane Ambre & Santal. It’s a tiny bit masculine, with a woody smell.
Which women do you think are beautiful?
I lean towards other redheads. Emma Stone and Jessica Chastain are both very classic beauties. I also love Jennifer Lawrence. Her film characters always make me feel like I can take on the world.
How do you pamper yourself?
I don’t pamper myself very often. I paint my own nails and only get my hair cut when it really needs it. Just a day to myself with a nice long bath, body oil, a cosy night with movies and a full fridge is perfect for me.
What is your favourite hairstyle?
I’ve been growing my hair for more than two years. I want it to be all the way down to my hips. I had really long hair when I was little, so I’m going full circle.
How do you look after your hair?
I rarely use any heat on it and deep-condition it regularly.
How would you describe your style?
Most days I am very low key. Jumpers and jeans are my staples.
Do you have a favourite shop or designer?
Feelunique.com is brilliant for beauty, as all the new products are there in the one place on the site. It’s a great one-stop shop.
Who are your style icons?
Solange Knowles wears shapes that really suit her and she loves prints, which I do too. I also admire FKA Twigs.
Have you had any fashion disasters?
I ’m having them all the time!
Nicola Roberts looks effortlessly stylish in a corduroy skirt and off-the-shoulders knit as she gets the giggles at LFW event
She’s fresh from her blissful break in Barbados, where she acted as bridesmaid for her close pal Kimberley Walsh.
And Nicola Roberts hit the party scene at London Fashion Week, letting her hair down at the JF London Fashion Week Shoe Party at the W Hotel on Monday evening.
The 30-year-old former Girls Aloud singer looked incredible in her laid-back look, putting everyone else to shame as she put in a typically stylish display at the event.
The Sound Of The Underground hitmaker showed off just a hint of skin thanks to a split running down one side of the garment.
She revealed a peek at her over-the-knee leather boots in the covetable corduroy number, which boasted buttons trailing along her left thigh.
Nicola wore her fuzzy cream cardigan buttoned up and tucked into her skirt, displaying her bare shoulders.
The stunning redhead left her long red locks loose, ensuring all eyes were on her strikingly beautiful tresses.
Nicola and former Girls Aloud star Cheryl Fernandez-Versini supported their best pal Kimberley as she tied the knot with her long-term partner Justin Scott.
The couple said their vows at St James’ Parish Church in Barbados, before dinner and dancing at The Cliff, as well as treating guests to a host of lavish activities including boat rides and swimming with turtles.
Discussing the memorable occasion, Cheryl told HELLO! magazine: ‘To watch your best friend marry the love of her life and having experienced their relationship flourish over so many years is something I have never experienced before.
‘It’s meant the world to me to be a part of their special day and I wish them all the love and happiness in the world because nobody deserves it more.’
There is practically no one better placed to predict who the next big, BIG pop stars will be than an artist who is already a pop star in her own right and who also does a lot of songwriting for and sits in on recording sessions with up-and-coming acts.
Yep, as you’ll have already figured out from the headline, the pop star we’ve chosen to hit us up with her tips for future toppers of the pops is Nicola Roberts – easily our favourite Girl Aloud and, in her capacity as a solo artist, the person responsible for one of The 405’s favourite pop records of 2011. More on that later.
We asked Nicola to share some of her current musical loves and predictions as to who is likely to break the mainstream in 2016. There are quite a few. Because she goes into sessions with different producers and writers all the time, Nicola is constantly privy to the creation of fresh cuts and gets played new music months before the rest of the world might get to hear it. “I’m really lucky in a sense”, she tells us, “because I get a real insight into what’s happening.”
Here’s some of that insight.
OK, Nicola, let’s start with your first recommendation.
There’s a young artist I’ve been working with called Tayá and our work together came about because her A&R wanted a song that I had written about 18 months ago and at the time I didn’t want to give it, I was keeping the song for myself. But I think her voice is incredible and I really wanted to get involved.
What happened to that song?
Well, that song has actually now gone for another artist, which I felt bad about, because I didn’t want to give it away. It was somebody brilliant who I couldn’t really say no to. I believe her record is dropping very soon but I don’t know if I’m allowed to say anything yet. I was super-flattered that she wanted to cut the song. When you give a song away it becomes that person’s song and I don’t want to speak on her behalf in relation to it, if you know what I mean.
Did you work with anyone else on the stuff for Tayá?
Yes, I have done a lot of work with her and a guy called Diztortion. His real name is Perry. He’s responsible for a lot of the Lethal Bizzle stuff like Fester Skank and he’s another person who’s on my list. He’s a Dutch producer, who is signed to Polydor as an artist, and he’s basically now starting to work on his own thing. His awareness of beats and what is necessary for a hard-hitting record is just so on the money and I have a lot of love and respect for him. On a personal level, he’s amazing as a person but on a professional level as well, I just admire him and his awareness of music. We’ve written quite a bit together, like cute pop-reggae stuff for a young female artist and then R’n’B for Tayá to then something for a rap artist. He’s really universal.
Who else are you excited about at the moment?
There’s a girl called Kehlani. I don’t know a lot about her but I think she already has a massive following. A lot of the writers I’ve worked with have all said they’d love to work with her so I went and had a listen for myself. There’s a track she does with Chance The Rapper called ‘The Way‘, which I really, really like.
Then there’s Kiko Bun, who is signed to Island. I was working with a guy calledCadenza, who is a producer, and he was playing me Kiko’s EP and I just fell in love with it. There’s something really great about the music industry at the moment, it’s come with the internet and how people are just able to get their stuff out there and be seen and be heard. Anybody can write and record music at home and just put it out there online and that can lead to A&Rs and publishers discovering it. The industry seems flooded with artists. A lot of music out there feels very authentic because people are making it themselves, it is just an extension of themselves, really.
I also love WSTRN – I was in a session with Tayá and with WSTRN’s producer and they were playing me all of their future stuff that they’ve got coming out and it’s just really, really good.
Have you heard of a guy called J Hus? He’s signed to [Sony imprint] Black Butter. I think I heard one of his tracks, ‘Lean and Bop‘, late one night on Radio 1. It goes something like “if you’re feeling the vibe, make your woolly hat lean to the side.” I love that he walks into the industry and just brings such a feel-good vibe as his introduction – I thought it was brilliant.
When you’re listening to music for pleasure rather than as part of your work, what’s the most important element for you – the beats and production, the melody or the lyrics?
It changes. I do lean more towards a mellow vibe but I like everything. I don’t know what it is. That’s what makes music so hard to judge. It’s so personal. Like, we are all wired in different ways and different things that we relate to. And it relates to the mood as well. If I am in a happy mood I don’t necessarily want to listen to a slow jam, I might put on a cute little reggae track to get me dancing around the house, or if I wake up and I am not in the best of moods or if I am having a miserable day I might lean towards something else.
There isn’t anything specific that I look for, it just has to be good. It has to connect to me in some way, where I might go: wow the production is seamless. You know, where a producer has managed to fit into the groove of the beat or maybe it is the message of the song, like the lyrics are lyrics that I connect with, like, oh this is so true. That can make me love the whole song. It just depends on the particular song.
And when you listen back to your solo album, Cinderella’s Eyes now, what element stands out most to you?
Lyrics over production, I would say. I felt that Cinderella’s Eyes, lyrically, was a representation of most things that happened prior to that record. It was like a diary of some of the things that I had wanted to say and a representation of where I was at the time. One of the things that does stick out to me is how things change, as well. That record captures a moment of time of who I was and where I was in my life, the things I was thinking and that I had felt in the past. And, you know, now when I look back at that collection of words I can see very clearly where I was at. I also recognise how far away I am from that now, if that makes sense.
Yes, it does, especially as quite a long time has passed since you were working on the album.
Definitely. Actually, it feels even longer. It feels like it was ten years ago. It doesn’t feel like it was four year ago. It’s a long time and there’s been a lot of change in those years. A lot of growing up. I mean, I was 23 when I started that record and I’m now 30. It’s a long time. You go from a confused ‘am-I-a-girl-am-I-a-woman’ to very much ‘you are a woman! You are 30 years old’. It’s very different.
Going back to the lyrics, as a pop record I think that Cinderella’s Eyes rather successfully fused the mainstream production with lyrics which were often very personal.
But I think there was a confusion… Like, I come from a girl group that was very mainstream but the record didn’t necessarily cross over to the mainstream. It was a bit of a confusion, I think. I would say, production-wise the things that still hold true to me are the songs with Metronomy. Like, the Joseph Mount tracks – ‘I‘ and ‘Fish Out Of Water‘. Production-wise and lyrically those two songs still hold very strong for me. Songs like ‘Gladiator’ and ‘Cinderella’s Eyes’ – although I can look back and appreciate how adventurous they were in terms of singing in that style, saying those things and the production being so flamboyant – I think that maybe now I wouldn’t do that. I don’t think I’d make a record like that now. I know I wouldn’t.
Would you now consider yourself more of a songwriter than a singer or are you planning to make another Nicola Roberts solo record?
For the past two years all that I’ve been doing is writing. And it was really just coming out of the Girls Aloud 10th birthday celebration thing and the tour and never really stopping for a second. Like, I went from Girls Aloud to my own record then back to Girls Aloud and it was just… I have needed a few years to just grow, I think, and come out of the bubble. Writing for other artists has helped me do that. I’ve had quite a quiet couple of years where I would just go to sessions, see friends and have quite a normal life, which wasn’t as hectic as before. And I have definitely needed that time.
When I write for other artists I go into it with a different outlook. I never write from an emotional place when I go into a session for another artist. I know it’s going to be too hard for me to let them take the song. The only time I did that was with the track I mentioned earlier that I ended up giving to someone else. Strangely, a couple of weeks after I gave it to her, I was listening to it and I thought – actually I don’t think I want to do that anymore. It’s like I set it free. Maybe when I start going into sessions again with more of an emotional starting base then that is perhaps when my own stuff will start coming together.
Great, so you’re not saying never to another solo project.
I’m definitely not saying never. And it’s interesting because there’s always only so much creativity you can give to another artist’s session because there will always be a brief for that session. There will be an outline of what they need. Like, what does this artist’s fan-base expect from this artist, what would they say and what would they not say? You can be in a session where the artist would say to you – ‘oh, I wouldn’t really say that myself’. Then it stunts your own release of creativity. So there is definitely a big portion of me that needs to create and so when that starts to become intolerable then I would have to let that out.
When I feel that I no longer want to confine myself to these lines of making a song anymore and when I want to express myself in a particular way then that is when it will become a need. But, you know, I’ve learned a lot from writing for other people. Like, what makes a catchy hook or what does a typical pop chorus need to look like. The dynamics and outlines of melodies and lyrical content for a pop track are quite specific. I’ve learned how to make things less weird for a mainstream act, if that makes sense.
There are some incredible writers and producers in the industry and, actually, one thing that annoys me a little bit is – you know how when they play a song on the radio they always say who it was produced by but, ok, who wrote it? The producer, rightly so, gets credit but they never say who wrote the song. I don’t know why they never say it.
It’s like directors usually being mentioned in the context of a film but the screenwriters rarely get a nod.
Exactly, this is it – and there would be no film if the screenplay was never written!
Just thinking out loud here, but do you reckon that it might have something to do with the fact that with some pop songs there are quite a few different writers credited? I mean, take some Xenomania songs, for example – sometimes there were up to about 8 different writers credited.
Yeah. But I actually think it probably falls down to that producer having already produced something else that has also been played on the radio and it is easier to then link to that name. Like, take a Sia song – if Sia writes a song for a pop star they might say ‘oh this is written by Sia’, then people would react to that information because it’s something they’ve heard of before. But still, for my own knowledge and interest, I would like to know who has written a particular track that comes on the radio.
Which other fellow songwriters are you a fan of?
There’s loads. There’s a good selection of people who are very talented out there at the moment. There’s a guy called Tom Havelock, who does a lot with PREP. They had that track ‘Cheapest Flight‘. And there’s Diztortion, of course, he’s an amazing writer. There’s a Scottish lady called Dot Allison [from One Dove] – she used to do stuff with Massive Attack. She’s really old-school and really funny. But, you know, I’m with lots of different writers all the time and I learn from each and every one of them.
Check out The 405 for expanded posts on Nicola’s faves, which we’ll be running all this week, along with our own picks (coming this Friday).
Cheryl Fernandez-Versini reveals glowing tan as she reunites with Nicola Roberts at Elf the Musical event
X Factor judge Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and Nicola Roberts reunited tonight to support their former Girls Aloud bandmate Kimberley Walsh at an Elf:The Musical event.
The singers dressed up to the nines as they flashed the flesh in London for the star-studded afterparty, flashing big smiles to be back together again.
Cheryl showed off a glowing tan in a black striped knee-length dress, covering her slim frame with a black blazer and leaving her hair loose.
She added slim nude heels and flaunted her tiny legs outside.
Meanwhile Nicola covered up in a burgundy dress, hiding her slight frame in the huge skirt and adding tights for an edgy look.
They were there of course to support Kimberley Walsh , who stars in the musical.
The former Girls Aloud star is set to tread the boards in the new West End show, which is a musical adaptation of the hit movie that starred Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel.
Also you can view a video of Cheryl and Nicola arriving at the event here
Hi folks, I have updated the gallery with Nicola’s latest Instagram pics and I have added some pictures from her 30th birthday!
Small songwriters need to be paid by big music companies
he former Girls Aloud singer made the comments when asked about Taylor Swift’s recent letter to Apple.
Apple wasn’t going to pay artists during their free three-month trial streaming period. But they are now.
“We have so many talented writers. Companies need to understand that smaller writers also need to be supported,” she tells Newsbeat.
“Younger writers and smaller writers need to live and get by. They need to be paid. It has to be fair.”
Lots of artists, including Girls Aloud, work with other writers or perform tracks other people have written for them.
In April, Newsbeat spoke to Jimmy Napes who has worked with acts like Sam Smith and Clean Bandit. He also picked up the best contemporary song award at this year’s Ivor Novello Awards for his work on Rather Be.
He said it was “nice to be acknowledged” for all the hard work writers do.
Nicola says pop music is in a good place and that she’s a big fan of Little Mix.
“Little Mix are hilarious. Whenever I’ve been in the studio with Little Mix I’ve had the best time ever,” she says.
“I continuously say those girls need their own TV show. I’m so happy for them that their single is at number one this week and I hope their record does equally as well.
“I love them.”
There are no plans for Girls Aloud to reunite and Roberts’ second solo album won’t be coming anytime soon.
“At the minute I’ve just been taking time to write for other artists.
“It’s been four years since Cinderella’s Eyes [her debut solo album] and in that four years I’ve changed quite a lot as a person.
“I think you need time to figure out the sounds you are inspired by and I’ve got some really exciting artists cutting some songs that I’m really excited by.”
Nicola wouldn’t say which artists she’d been working with because the sessions might not end up on their final album.
It’s not just music Nicola is working on. She’s been speaking to Newsbeat because she’s co-presenting a Radio 1 and 1Xtra Stories documentary.
High Street Hijabis will be broadcast on BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra on Tuesday 14 July at 9pm.
Nicola says it was a great opportunity for her to learn about a topic she didn’t really know about.
“The biggest revelation I found was that Islam, to these young hijab-wearing women, is not black and white.
“There’s a lot of grey areas and I didn’t really realise it was about the personal journey of each person.
“I just saw the religion as very black and white and you either follow the religion entirely or you don’t. It’s not really like that.
“It was just a great opportunity for me to have a real insight and learn firsthand from these really cool young women who are trying to find themselves within western fashion and culture but also stay true to their religion and respect their faith.”
Red on red! Flame-haired Nicola Roberts matches her scarlet blazer to her famous locks as she adds a splash of colour to her spring ensemble
Her famous flame-coloured locks made her one of the most eye-catching members of Girls Aloud.
And Nicola Roberts isn’t afraid to turn up the heat when it comes to her clothes either.
The singer looked stunning as she stepped out in the sunny spring weather wearing a ravishing red blazer.
The 29-year-old’s blazer brightened up a simple outfit of white T-shirt and faded patterned jeans, while she rounded off the ensemble with a classic pair of flat pumps.
The Liverpudlian beauty later met up with a male pal as they enjoyed a day out in the London sun.
The pair posted a snap on Instagram posing for the camera.
Nicola has remained out of the spotlight in recent years, but is believed to be gearing up to release a second solo album.
She originally hit the studio to work on independent material on Cinderella’s Eyes, her first record which was released in 2011.
She teased fans with a snap on Instagram last month of a tiny plastic figurine with red hair sitting on a studio mixing station.
Meanwhile, she reached out to her former bandmate Sarah Harding earlier this month when it was announced she had swapped performing onstage for a turn on the cobbles of Coronation Street.
When it was confirmed the blonde will appear on the iconic soap for several episodes, Nicola wrote on Twitter: ‘Amazing! Congratulations babe.. Can’t wait to watch!’
To Sarah replied: ‘Thanks honey, lots of love.’
This day 12 years ago Girls Aloud was formed! To me they’re still the best girl band ever!
Also today 6 years ago I launched this site, and it’s now the longest running updated Nicola Roberts site on the internet! Thank you to everyone who visits and supports the site!
We all know that Nicola, Kimberley and Cheryl have a great friendship and here is a photo Nicola posted of the three of them on a night out. The captions are very sweet:
On Twitter- <3 <3.. We are so lucky to have each other x
On Instagram: My <3 <3 ‘s
Click image to enlarge
Girls Aloud: The Hits Tour 2013
Official DVD out November 12th!
Girls Aloud have officially announced that their last tour will be released on DVD however we’ve had two release dates 11th and 12th November.
However you can pre-order the DVD on Universal Music Site
Here is the tracklisting, no word if there will be DVD extras yet:
01. Sound of the Underground
02. No Good Advice
03. Life Got Cold
04. Wake Me Up
06. The Show
07. Love Machine
08. Whole Lotta History
09. Can’t Speak French
11. Sexy! No No No…
13. On the Metro
14. Call The Shots
15. Something Kinda Ooooh
16. Beautiful ‘Cause You Love Me
17. Something New
18. I’ll Stand By You
19. The Promise