Punchbowl Blog recently caught up with the lovely Nicola Roberts to talk about the new album ‘Cinderella’s Eyes’ and how she has found stepping out on her own.
PBB: You had a great reaction to the single from the press, from NME to Pop Justice. Were you disappointed by the chart position at all (No 27) or is it more about the critics and the fans liking it?
NR: “Well I haven’t had one bad review of the song… for NME to come on board and support me like that is amazing. I think a collection of both is what anybody’s gonna ask for but it’s not about sales, if you’re doing music in order to make money then I think you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.”
PBB: I know you’ve said you’ve written a lot of this album yourself and it’s a very personal album. What were your inspirations?
NR: Loads! I listen to everybody, like everything that was in the charts, a lot of MIA stuff…the Gaga album. And that’s the problem, a new album would come out and I’d be like ‘Oh my God I wanna do the whole record again’. I suppose that what I really love about the record is that there’s something on there for whatever you like.
I’m inspired by a lot of rap music…the lyrics are like real life, people don’t beat around the bush, they just say it how it is…so I try to make the lyrics as real life as possible so that people can relate to what they’re hearing…A lot of people write words that don’t mean anything to them and they sound pretty and they rhyme but you’ve heard them in every other pop song… When somebody like Eminem can just fit real life words into a song like that it’s just genius and that’s what I’m inspired by, so I just try to bring that into the record as much as possible.
PBB: Could you talk us through some of the tracks that are special to you?
NR: There’s a song called ‘I’ that I did with Joe from Metronomy – it’s just really like a list of all of the things I don’t like, or that I’m scared of, or that I hate or that I hope for. Just like an everyday kind of lyric like ‘I hate that my boyfriend wears some beautiful disguises’ or ‘I hate that people leave nasty comments on the internet’, just general day to day kinda things that are personal to you.
PBB: You mentioned that ‘Sticks and Stones’ (about the negative press about her looks she received at the start of Girls Aloud) was a personal song…was that something that you felt you needed to write?
NR: I’m one of those people that delete anything negative straight away. I refuse to believe things happened. So if something’s bad or negative, I try to delete it from my mind and so I had to really remember how I felt to write it because I’m a different person now. I had to remember how it felt in order for me to make the song. I didn’t need to write it, it was something that I wanted to write. It was hard to write in the respect that I knew I had to get it right. I knew that if I was gonna talk about something like that, then I knew I had to get the angle absolutely 100% right because if it was wrong or if it was too self-indulgent, then I’d just be slated for it. Obviously it’s something that I’ve gone through and the middle eight on the song is very personal but the rest of the song is quite universal and anybody can relate to it and that was important.
PBB: Is it painful to write songs like that or in any way when you’re going back to something that was negative in your life or a point where you felt low?
NR: It wasn’t cleansing and it wasn’t painful…I suppose when you move on from something and then you look back… I was just sad that I ever felt like that in the first place, that was what I took from it.”
PBB: It does seem like now you’re very confident, you know your style, you know what you want…
NR: “I am at my absolute most confident when I am creating something because I really value what I have to say in terms of creativity, like that’s kind of where I am best. But ask me to stand up and speak in a room full of people while they’re staring at me, judging me…I am at my absolute least confident…You work hard on getting your thing to the best that you can get it, so singing is closest to my heart so I am confident in those fields.”
PBB: What do you think is the biggest misconception about you?
NR: “I think that when I was younger a lot of people mistook my shyness for being miserable, or being scared to say the wrong things for not speaking at all…I was in an adult world and I only just had left school so that was hard, trying to act like you knew what everyone was talking about when you blatantly didn’t have a clue! I’m trying to kinda keep up and that’s what I say in the song – baby in the corner, just trying keep up…I’m from a tiny little estate where we don’t use those words…or you don’t have to be like ‘jazz hands’ just to say hello to someone…If you did that where I was from, people would think you’re a looney tune! So just having to learn how to act in front of people away from where I was from was something to deal with.”
PBB: You mentioned that it was your boyfriend that you were most nervous playing the album to, was there anyone else that you were nervous about?
NR: Yeah. He heard ‘Porcelin Heart’ and was like everyone’s going to think that’s about me and I’m a shit boyfriend (laughs) . With letting people listen to the album, everyone in the world has different musical tastes and… I’ve tried to go for a new direction – what’s the point in jumping all over somebody else’s bandwagon, you might as well make your own bandwagon if you’ve got the opportunity. I know it’s different, that’s what I said to them, but this is the sound that I’ve gone for, like, it’s what feeds me, it’s what’s challenged me and I like it so with that I played it to them and they all loved it. I didn’t play anything till it was pretty much finished because I didn’t want anyone to deter me from the track that I was on.I didn’t want anyone to go “I think it’s too different” or knock my confidence in the sound that I was making.
PBB: We really like your visuals for the album. Was that a clear aim of yours from the beginning?
It’s not just about the music, I’m into everything. Fashion is kind of a massive part of my life and kind of made me who I am almost that this is fashion’s jumping on board as well. This is a package you’re taking on, like this is what comes with me. The whole team at A&M, they’re similar to me, there’s a lot of women there and they’re all fashion lovers and it works really well that that’s the team I have. I knew that that’s what the concept was gonna be for the record. So for a whole year I was back cataloguing different visuals and different references. By the time we came to shoot the album cover and everything else, I had a years’ worth of visual references to go into so everything was pretty much ‘Cinderella’s Eyes’. I also knew I wanted to make a modern day glass slipper so when the label commissioned me to do it, it was like a dream come true, thank God.
PBB: Do you care about breaking America at all?
NR: I haven’t even thought about it…it’s not a massive thing to kind of even think about. I’m one of those people where I don’t ever set myself up for anything because I don’t like getting myself let down. I’m a dreamer but at the same time I’m very firmly in reality. It’s just real, obviously growing up you wanna be a singer, everybody wants to be successful and as good at what they do as possible otherwise what is the point in doing it. So obviously taking me to America and for that huge market to like it is another massive contribution to how successful you are at your particular field. So in that respect, that would be just fantastic
PBB: Everyone says you’re the coolest member of Girls Aloud or you’ve got the best style, but is there the added pressure to be different?
NR: Nah you can’t look at things like that, you are who you are, you like the clothes that you like. You have to be true to who you are as much as possible. You just have to do what makes you happy and if you move fast with fashion then that’s what you do and if you don’t, you don’t.
PBB: It seems like you’re really happy and content right now. Last thoughts on album; what do you want people to take away from it.
NR: I want people to be able to relate to the different stories and take something from them. Just to feel something from it and create a little bit of a reaction from people.
You can buy her current single ‘Beat of My Drum’ now and her album is available to pre-order. Visit www.nicolarobertsmusic.com for more info.
Thanks to Nicola Roberts and Supersonic PR.
No related posts.