THE TWELVE DAYS OF DIPLO: Day 4

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One of my all-time favourite Diplo productions is not only perhaps his most unlikely collaboration to date, but possibly one that many of his fans have no idea even exists. Nicola Roberts’ “Beat of My Drum” brought insatiable Diplo flavour to one of the most legendary voices from a very British Institution. At the time, Nicola was mid-way through Girls Aloud’s ‘year long’ hiatus, one that eventually turned into what felt like a one-hundred year break rather than a twelve month one. Aloud’s Cheryl Cole had released a bundle of records under her solo guise that charted phenomenally in the UK but, in hindsight, were nowhere near as powerful or effective as what we’d come to expect from a Girls Aloud release.

So in comes Nicola Roberts with her debut (and only) solo album, Cinderella’s Eyes, easily the absolute best Aloud solo venture to date. It was fun, challenging, thought provoking and ahead of its time in many ways, also displaying Roberts in a new and exciting light, with the pop star accessing vocal ranges we’d never heard from her before.

“Beat of My Drum” remains one of the greatest pop releases from its year. And it’s not hard to hear whose production genius is spread across this under-three-minute gem – seconds into its first play, you can tell it has a distinct Diplo feel to it, but first and foremost, is still a very British sounding song. Nicola’s personality was not lost in the production ‘translation’ either; if anything, Diplo’s production and meticulous effort on the track enhanced this colourful character of a pop star, making her larger than life – even moreso than she already was as an artist and talented songwriter. Had this been released a few years later (and perhaps by an artist the record buying public were actually willing to take a chance on), this would have been a global Number 1 hit. As is the case with many of these monumental pop songs that rarely see the light of day after their initial release, the commercial failure of “Beat of My Drum” remains one of the biggest pop injustices of the 21st century.

Take a listen below, then go and buy the brilliant Cinderella’s Eyes for a true slab of unapologetic, British pop brilliance. With a Diplo twist.

The Twelve Days of Diplo continues tomorrow with Day 5. Diplo plays Australia’s Stereosonic Music Festival through the tail-end of November and the first week of December, kicking off in Sydney on Saturday November the 28th. Buy your tix online now, and while you’re at it, read the #12DaysofDiplo entries for Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3!

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