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photoNicole Scherzinger has become something of an adopted national treasure in recent years thanks to her “shamazing!” stints on The X Factor – and last year, she was given the Honorary Gay prize at the Attitude Awards.

The former Pussycat Dolls singer also has a massive UK number one single to her name, Don’t Hold Your Breath, and has soundtracked many a messy night out with her club bangers Poison and Wet. Now, fresh from wiping that errant dollop of yoghurt off her nose, she’s back with one of the catchiest tracks of the year – the totally blissful summer jam Your Love. I met up with her in the bar of a fancy London hotel, where Nicole was sipping on a vodka, lime and soda, to find out more.

Hello Nicole. How are you?
“I’m good, baby. How are you?”

Very well thank you. Let’s talk about your new single Your Love, which is just criminally catchy….
“Oh you like it? That means a lot.”

How did the track come about?
“I did the entire album with [Rihanna/Beyoncé producers] The-Dream and Tricky Stewart – we’d done the majority of the album in Los Angeles, but then we were like, ‘Let’s switch it up. The boys have written many hits in Miami, let’s go to Miami’. So we went there and that song was just born organically. It had a hold on me as soon as I heard it – it’s just a fun, carefree and flirty summer anthem, you know? It’s catchy. What better way to come out than with a song that’s going to be infectious and hit people straight away. Then you can follow it with the other stuff.”

[At this point, Nicole gets distracted by the fancy cocktails emerging from the bar behind us – including one in a skull glass , and one with a kind of pillow on top of it]

“Shut up… Where am I right now?!”

So, what direction is your new album heading in?
“The album is a cohesive piece because I’ve worked with The-Dream and Tricky on the whole album. Actually, Your Love is a bit more poppy than the other songs. The other songs are pop but they’re more urban-pop. I think we’ve finally found a Nicole sound – for the first time since the Dolls albums. Some songs are inspired by Janet Jackson’s The Velvet Rope, some songs are inspired by retro Janet, and some are inspired by early Sade. It’s a vibey album with lots of soul.”

You’ve brought in T.I to do a guest spot on the album – can you tell me anyone else you’re working with?
“No, because we didn’t build the album around what names we could put on it. They’re stand-alone great songs. T.I. came in after he heard the song and I asked him if he’d be on it and he said yes. I’m over the moon that he did it because he’s so gracious and the hardest worker. He’s a businessman – we could learn a lot from him. But right now, it’s still really open. The album’s not finished. I mean, it’s finished, but it’s not totally done until it comes out in October. So I’m still open about that. But if there was one person I would like to collaborate with it would be Sam Smith.”

Screen shot 2014-06-09 at 12.07.04You’ve just popped out the video for Your Love. It’s quite tongue-in-cheek.
“I didn’t want to do the typical video set in a smoky club where I’m all done up and performing with extra attitude. I wanted to strip it all down. I was inspired by Janet Jackson’s Love Will Never Do (Without You) – the idea of falling in love with a person and they’re just you. I feel like the UK has embraced me and accepted me for who I am when I was on The X Factor, so I just wanted to give that in my music; that fun side.”

It’s interesting to hear you say that – because when Britney Spears filmed her Work Bitch video, she said she was a bit fed up of having to be so sexual all the time. Do you find that difficult, always having to be a kind of “sexbot”?
“Absolutely. That’s what I was able to get away from with Your Love. There’s no dance routine and there’s no choreography. It’s very free, raw, real and organic. And what you might not see in the video is that a lot of it’s yoga: strange poses, weird angles. There was a lot of thought behind the video where I was like, ‘This pose signifies me; this means strength’. No matter what, I did want the video to be relatable, fun and playful – but I also wanted it to come from a strong place. I feel like we were able to capture that.”

Obviously the video is set on a beach, but if you were actually stranded on a remote beach, what five things would you need to survive?
“People always ask me this… I’d take water, sunblock, Yoo-hoo because they never expire, the Bible and my iPod too. Actually, I’d need a phone – a phone to get me the hell out of there.”

You’ve said that you like to have a few drinks with your girlfriends. I was wondering, would you rather have a bottle of wine with friends at home, or go out and slutdrop to Wet with a vodka, lime and soda?
“Both! Depends on how I feel. The real Nicole would really rather have a drink and stay home and do wine. But occasionally, the tequila or the bourbon talk for itself.”

You’ve been doing music for quite a while now. Do you ever have moments where you want to give it all up and become a nun or a teacher?
“I’m always going to do something creative. I’ll be singing, performing or doing theatre till the end of time. Whether it’s in the performing arts, touring or being a recording artist, I’ll always have to be creative.”

Would you ever want to appear in a movie-musical?
“Oh my God. Child, that’s got my name written all over it. I was born to do a movie-musical. Maybe something like A Star Is Born? Absolutely, use! God must just be waiting for the right time and the right opportunity because I think I was born to do that.”

Nicole Scherzinger releases her new single Your Love on July 13. Watch the video below – and click here to read her advice for gay teens being bullied.