Nicola Roberts was born in Stamford, Lincolnshire and raised in Runcorn, Cheshire. Roberts started her career singing with a girl group at her local discotheque with a local DJ. The group performed under the name The 5 Musketers. She also attended Olwen Grounds school of Dance, where she sang solos in the Queens Hall in Widnes, Cheshire.
In 2002, Roberts auditioned for the ITV1 reality television programme Popstars: The Rivals. The goal was to create two winning pop groups - a boy band and a girl group, each consisting of five members who would then partake in "a battle of the sexes" as they vie for the Christmas number one on the UK Singles Chart. Several thousand applicants attended auditions across the UK. The finalists participating in weekly Saturday night live performances. Roberts did not initially make the final ten; she was chosen to replace Nicola Ward, who quit.
Roberts joined Cheryl Cole, Nadine Coyle, Sarah Harding, and Kimberley Walsh to comprise the new girl group Girls Aloud, formed through Popstars by a public vote in November 2002. The group's debut single "Sound of the Underground" peaked at number one on the UK Singles Chart, becoming the 2002 Christmas number one. Girls Aloud hold the record for the shortest time between formation and reaching number one.
The group released their debut album, Sound of the Underground in May 2003, which entered the charts at number two and was certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry later the same year.
Since 2003, Girls Aloud have released twenty additional singles, with all but one charting within the top ten, and fifteen reaching the top five. Their singles "I'll Stand by You," "Walk This Way," and "The Promise" have reached number one.
Two of their albums have reached the top of the UK Album Chart; their greatest hits album The Sound of Girls Aloud and 2008's Out of Control, both of which entered the chart at number one, with over one million copies of the former being sold. All their albums are certified platinum.
The group has been nominated for five BRIT Awards, and in 2009 won Best British Single at that year's BRIT Awards for "The Promise."
The 2007 edition of Guinness World Records listed them as "Most Successful Reality TV Group," while they also hold the record for "Most Consecutive Top Ten Entries in the UK by a Female Group" in the 2008 edition. The group has sold ten million records worldwide.
In 2009, Girls Aloud decided they would take a break to pursue solo projects.
Through the ITV2 television programme The Passions of Girls Aloud, which witnesses the members of Girls Aloud achieving another passion of theirs, Nicola Roberts created a make-up range for girls with fair skin. She met with two directors from Jelly Pong Pong, a cosmetics company, who agreed to produce Roberts' make-up range. Dainty Doll, Nicola's make-up range, was released in limited quantities on 18 April 2008.
In 2009, Roberts began working on an investigative documentary television programme for BBC Three, entitled Nicola Roberts: The Truth About Tanning. The documentary highlighted the dangers of sun tanning and sunbed use.
In December 2010 Roberts signed with Universal. Her first single "Beat of My Drum," was released in May 2011. Roberts debut album, Cinderella's Eyes, featuring production from Dimitri Tikovoi, Diplo, Dragonette, and Joseph Mount, among others, was released in September 2011.