Years from now, it’ll be a common question you hear passed in pubs – “where were you when Nicola Roberts‘ first solo video premiered?” My answer will always be a regrettable, “it was 3:30am and I was ordering a Mighty Angus burger from McDonald’s. There. Glad you asked.”
The Girls Aloud siren received manic love and rave blog reviews after she premiered her debut solo single ‘Beat of My Drum’ on UK radio two days ago. The Diplo-produced track which features a tasteful sample of Major Lazer‘s ‘Pon De Floor’ is a confident mix of London street cool with an absolutely bonkers glucose-pop hook.
Sonically, it’s arguably the most refreshing work any member of Girls Aloud has come up with so far [Editor’s note: although, you have to admit Cheryl‘s ‘Promise This’ was a game changer in its own right]. Nicola has described her solo project to be “very British” and if tracks like ‘Beat of My Drum’ and ‘Porcelain Heart’ are anything to go by, her album should sit well with the majority of Girls Aloud fans.
Video director Wendy Morgan – the woman behind stunning videos like Janelle Monae‘s ‘Tightrope’ and Dragonette‘s ‘Fixin’ – hemmed a simple and stylish video that not only heightens the dance element of the song but also effortlessly positions Nicola in a very British and hip scene without the gimmickry.
In terms of making your mark as a solo artist, the visuals and styling here look like something we already know to be a Nicola Roberts signature. The bold colours and prints that are evocative of early 90s glam is totally something we’d see her photographed on the streets in. Even down to the subtle details like setting Nicola in a vintage hall with white walls and these nude-coloured fabrics draped around to complement her complexion – the essence of the scene is already instantly identifiable as hers even before she steps in front of the camera.
Take a look at three reasons why ‘Beat of My Drum’ is the bomb:
1) Nicola the bossbitch.
Gotta love the beginning of the clip when she acts all shy and nervously steps to the mic to spit her first verse before dropping it like the video vixen she was born to be. I think that intro is kinda representative of Nicola‘s own apprehension with going solo but as the anthemic chorus goes, our girl is now liberated to “dance to the beat of (her) drum”. Or as she would say, “it’s about finding your feet and finally getting that “fuck it” feeling you have waited for…”
Everything about how she is positioned in this video just makes you proud of our little ginga sista. You see her leading a pack of females, you see her flicking her hair and strutting – it’s such a strong visual representation of Nicola taking charge and holding court. Get it, girl.
2) Somebody has some moves.
First of all, girlfriend is not a dancer. Let’s just put it out there. But having said that, I think her slightly casual and soft touch approach to the dance routine is very complementary of the video’s style. She had a couple of skilled hip hop dancers ignite some serious choreography fiyah but Nicola was not there for a dance-off. No, bitch. She too cool for that. Please see that bit where she flicked her hair and remember to take a step back when the boss comes through. That’s what I like about her swag. She knows she’s no Beyonce – she’ll still pop that squat with every firey grunt she’s got in her, yeah – but there’s no pretension about it.
Cheer squad perfection. And Nicola colour blocking in 80s Vogue realness? We are truly not worthy. Fall to your knees and show gratitude.
Nicola Roberts‘ debut solo single ‘Beat of My Drum’ is out 5 June.
UK fans, if you pre-order on iTunes now you’ll get an exclusive bonus track ‘Porcelain Heart’. Keep an ear out for the single’s actual b-side ‘Disco, Blisters and a Comedown’ – produced by Dmitri Tikovoi (the man behind several gems on Sophie Ellis-Bextor‘s Trip The Light Fantastic).