Nicole Prescovia Elikolani Valiente Scherzinger (born June 29, 1978) is an American singer, songwriter, dancer and occassional actress who is best known as the lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls.
Previously Scherzinger was part of reality TV girlgroup Eden's Crush and despite minor chart successes she left due to being unhappy. She then joined the Pussycat Dolls when they were a burlesque troop before taking the role of lead singer when the group became a recording group. So far the Pussycat Dolls have released two quite successful albums PCD and Doll Domination with two supporting tours. In between the two albums Scherzinger made her first attempt at a solo album (Her Name is Nicole) which proved unsuccessful.
Currently the Pussycat Dolls are taking a break whilst recording their third studio album. Scherzinger has resumed work on her seriously delayed debut solo album which is being reworked from the start and expected to be released before the third Pussycat Dolls album.
Scherzinger was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. She is of Hawaiian, Filipina and Russian descent. Her mother Rosemary was eighteen at the time of Scherzinger's birth and lived in an inner city neighborhood. Nicole's parents separated when she was still a baby. Her maternal family moved to Louisville, Kentucky when she was six years old, with her sister Ke'ala and her German-American stepfather Gary Scherzinger.
In an interview with The Daily Mail Scherzinger explained that she had been brought up with a strict religious upbringing in Hawaii. She first attended Meyzeek Middle School as an adolescent. Growing up, Nicole states that she didn't have a lot of money and the singer thanks her mom for all the support she gave her to become what she is today. Scherzinger began performing in Louisville, attending the Youth Performing Arts School at duPont Manual High School and performing with Actors Theatre of Louisville.
As a teenager, Scherzinger was the first runner-up at the 1996 Kentucky State Fair's Coca-Cola Talent Classic contest. Scherzinger majored in acting and musical theatre at Wright State University, where she played Velma in Chicago and Julie La Verne in Show Boat, but put her studies on hold in 1999 to sing backing vocals for the rock band Days of the New.
Early career and Eden's Crush
Scherzinger appeared on the second album by Days of the New, released in 1999. She also recorded two songs with Barry Drake's F.O.B, which were released in 2001.
In 2001, Scherzinger competed in the premiere season of The WB's television show Popstars, on which she earned a spot in the all-girl pop group Eden's Crush. She became one of the main vocalists for the group. Their 2001 US single "Get Over Yourself (Goodbye)" peaked at number one in sales and hit the top ten on Billboard Hot 100. They toured in support of both *NSync and Jessica Simpson. "Love This Way" was the second single chosen from the Popstars album; however, their record company, London-Sire Records, folded and the group eventually disbanded. Songwriter Kara DioGuardi contributed one track to the album, and later went on to co-write with Scherzinger for PCD, Doll Domination and Her Name Is Nicole.
In November 2007, Scherzinger spoke of her time in Eden's Crush
...It was hell... I was in a band with five other girls and every day was torture for me. We were on TV all the time and the atmosphere was awful.... Every day I was in that band I cried my eyes out. The band was meant to be fun and frivolous but the reality was that it was miserable.... I was too sensitive back then, but I got toughened up. I couldn't have gone into the Dolls without my experience in Crush.
After the disbanding of Eden's Crush, Scherzinger made a few promotional solo appearances under the stage name of Nicole Kea, including covering "Breakfast in Bed" for the soundtrack to 50 First Dates in 2003. This track was produced by Nick Hexum who was her boyfriend for three years.
Scherzinger worked with Yoshiki of Japanese rock band X Japan on in his Violet UK project. She sang the English version of "I'll Be Your Love" live with the Tokyo Symphonic Orchestra. The track also appeared on the 2003 Various Artists album Exposition of Global Harmony.
Main article: Pussycat Dolls
In May 2003, Scherzinger joined the Pussycat Dolls burlesque troupe, who were being re-cast as recording artists. She had first seen them performing on The Late Show with David Letterman in November 2002, where Carmen Electra sang "Big Spender" from the Bob Fosse musical Sweet Charity. In 2006, Scherzinger said "It caught my eye because I?d played Velma Kelly in Chicago in college." In one interview she spoke of her role with the Pussycat dolls stating that it was a "challenge fronting the group" but that "every girl has something different to bring and add to the success".
The Pussycat Dolls have worldwide status as a popular singing group, with "Don't Cha", "Buttons", "Stickwitu" and "When I Grow Up" as Top 10 hits in the United States. The album PCD went double-platinum in 2006. Scherzinger sang nearly all lead vocals on the album, with Carmit Bachar and Melody Thornton also contributing. It was revealed in 2006 that the Dolls are salaried employees of Interscope Records, giving the label a high level of control over the group's finances and business decisions.
Scherzinger is the only group member with songwriting credits on PCD; she co-wrote "I Don't Need a Man" with Kara DioGuardi and producer Rich Harrison, and co-wrote "Buttons" with producer Sean Garrett. Another collaboration with DioGuardi, "Flirt", became a a bonus track on PCD and later became a B-side to "Buttons" and . As with PCD, Scherzinger is the only group member to have songwriting credits on the second Dolls' album Doll Domination.
Along with the Pussycat Dolls, Scherzinger was asked by Ron Fair to record the English version of "Jai Ho", the hit song from the film Slumdog Millionaire. That movie received positive reviews. The new version titled "Jai Ho! (You Are My Destiny)" was released to iTunes on February 23 2009, and elsewhere worldwide on February 24. A video accompanying the song has been shot at a Vienna train station and was released worldwide on March 13, 2009. Jessica Sutta, member of the dolls, has stated that dolls are due to start recording their 3rd album.
The success of PCD brought Scherzinger into the media spotlight and she went on to record a series of duets/guest vocals with a wide array of male vocalists. In 2005, she appeared on recordings by Shaggy, Vittorio Grigolo and Will Smith. In 2006 she sang co-lead vocals with Avant on his single "Lie About Us" , and Diddy's hit "Come to Me" (which she also co-wrote). Other appearances are listed in discography. In the biography section of her official website she says that everyone recognises her from the Pussycat Dolls's debut single "Dont Cha" which although amazing doesn't fullfill her musical desires. When asked what she intended to achieve with her solo career she commented "Some people only only have their glasses half full, but there was never a limit to mine." The purpose of the album was to appeal to younger audiences, show them "the heart of Nicole" and show that she is "not always strong and fearless".
In April 2008, Scherzinger recorded a cover version of "Rio" by Duran Duran for an advertising campaign for Unilever's Caress brand of body wash. A commercial video was released, and the single was released via download only, after May 2008. In 2008, in support of Barack Obama, she was one of many musicians to contribute to a track by will.i.am called "Yes We Can". Also on September 5, 2008, Scherzinger joined an all-star cast to perform the charity song "Just Stand Up" on live TV. Scherzinger performed "America the Beautiful" at WWE WrestleMania XXV in Houston, TX at the Reliant Stadium on April 5, 2009.
Solo album (Her Name Is Nicole)
From 2006 until late 2008 Scherzinger had been working on her debut album which was titled Her Name Is Nicole. She told MTV "I've always said that in the Pussycat Dolls, I kind of feel like Superwoman. But that's just one of my alter egos. I've got the vulnerable, lovesick side of me amongst others which all appear on my record." She recorded/wrote approximately 100 songs for the album which was supposed to be released in 2007 before being pushed to October 16, 2008 and later into 2009 before being shelved.
The album saw Scherzinger work with a wide roster of producers and song writers some whom had worked with Scherzinger for albums with the Pussycat Dolls. Sean Garrett and Polow da Don worked on "Whatever U Like" (featuring T.I.) which was released as the album's lead single on July 24, 2007 but deemed unsuccessful reaching just 57 in Canada and number 104 in the US. "Baby Love" was the second single released on September 10, 2007. Although well received and compared to the Pussycat Dolls' song "Stickwitu" the track did not chart well in the US. Internationally the single faired well reaching Top 15 in most countries including the UK, and mainland Europe. It was remixed to be included on Doll Domination as a bonus track. The third single "Supervillain" was described as having a "danceable jam with a catchy chorus" and featured a reggae/dancehall interlude. Written by Rock City and produced by Mad Scientist it was only released to US iTunes in November 2007. The song's synthy melodies and disco-mowtown feel with Scherzinger's 5-octave range were not enough to chart in the US. Fourth single "Puakenikini" (meaning "flower" in Hawain) also released to iTunes in Novmeber was produced by Akon to as a tribute to Scherzinger's herritage but failed to chart.
Other songs included the critically acclaimed "Just Say Yes", song written by Gary Lightbody (of Snow Patrol) which was a soft and slow song with a pulsing, electronic beat. She told MTV of her excitement to record the song. "I'm such a huge fan of Snow Patrol's music, I felt like I was supposed to make it my own. "It's a very honest and truthful song." Ne-Yo gave Scherzinger two songs, "Happily Never After" a slow ballad which Scherzinger felt it "important for young girls to have an empowering message that they deserve better". (originally written for Britney Spears to record for her album Blackout). The other song has a tear jerking ballad called "Save Me from Myself" for which Scherzinger helped Ne-Yo in developing the hook before recording the song. Scherzinger described the song "March" as being very powerful. "It's about never giving up on your dreams and it?s about what I went through to get where I am today." Timbaland produced and featured on the song "Physical" which had his trade mark vocals over the upbeat melody and thumping baseline. Part of the song was used in the film Fantastic Four Rise of the Silver Surfer. Other docummented recordings include "When Your Falling" which was co-written by Akon "Power's Out" a riveting duet with American Grammy-nominated singer Sting (featured in Revlon adverts with Jessica Alba), "I M.I.S.S You" written by Pharell Williams & produced by The Neptunes.
Doubt was cast over the future of the album when the Pussycat Dolls released their second album Doll Domination which featured some of the songs which had inititally been recorded for Scherzinger's own album. "Happily Never After" and "Who's Gonna Love You" were placed directly on the album whereas additional vocals were added to "When I Grow Up" before it was released as the album's lead single. Christina Milian picked up the song "Punch You in Your Sleep" produced by Danja, which she has re-recorded for her fourth studio album Elope. Furthermore it was revealed that Keri Hilson (a writer who has been hevaily involved in writing for the Pussycat Dolls) had written a song called "Alienated" for Scherzinger, however when the album was delayed and shelved Hilson reclaimed the song and instead recorded the song with producer Cory Bold for her own debut studio album In a Perfect World... Reviews later went on to give the song critical acclaim for its "electro-blips and whispery raps that are alluring." In September 2009 it was confirmed that "Just Say Yes" was reclaimed by Gary Lightbody who has since re-tooled and reworked the song. It will now be released as the lead single from his band, Snow Patrol's upcomming compilation album Up to Now on November 2, 2009.
Speaking about the delayed release of her solo album, in September 2008 Scherzinger said "Despite what other people might write, it was my decision, ultimately. I actually put some of my solo songs on the Pussycat Dolls' new album Doll Domination. Everything is all about timing. I believe it will come out next year, and it will be able to coexist wonderfully with the Dolls' album. It's completely separate from what you've heard with "Baby Love" and "Whatever U Like," and I'm still working on it ? that's what happens when you're a perfectionist."
She was interviewed by Billboard magazine in April 2009 regarding her own career plans as well as what The Dolls were up to. She said "the current incarnation of the album is just in talks and in the writing process. I haven't started recording yet." She plans to enter the studio again after the Pussycat Dolls have finished their World Domination Tour. Speaking about the project Scherzinger said she will be working again with Will.i.am, Timbaland as well as with new associates Lady GaGa and A.R. Rahman.
Scherzinger has made minor appearances as an actress. She appeared in the TV comedy, Half & Half, My Wife and Kids and the 2003 film Love Don't Cost a Thing. She appeared in a Nike shoe commercial with basketball player LeBron James. She also had a role in 2001 as one of the "Pop Stars" in the episode "Finally!" of the show Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, in Wanda at Large, Chasing Papi, Be Cool and Cane. This coming July 2009, Scherzinger was cast in one of the lead roles in the upcoming movie with the Filipino Boxing Champion Manny Pacquiao together with Batista of the WWE. She will play the leading lady of the Filipino Champ.
In 2006 she made a "Bench Body" brand underwear commercial in the Philippines and in October 2008, she promoted Clear Shampoo and Conditioner. Both commercials were reportedly aired throughout Southeast Asia.
Scherzinger met Nick Hexum of rock band 311 backstage at a Days of the New concert in 2000 or 2001. They dated and later became engaged, but broke it off sometime in 2004. She was the inspiration for their song "Amber" and appeared in the music video. She also dated actor Talan Torriero from 2005 to 2007.
As of 2008, Scherzinger has been in a relationship with Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton. At the start of September 2009 it was reported that the couple had split because Hamilton was not ready to settle down and start a family. However, on September 13, 2009 at the Italian Grand Prix Hamilton revealed that the couple were very much in love and definitely still together and denied the accuracy of previous reports.
She was ranked at number 22 on Maxim's Hot 100 in 2006, and 21 in 2007. She ranked number 19 in 2008 but this time along with The Pussycat Dolls. In 2009, she ranked solo again and came to be number 46. Scherzinger appeared on the March 2008 cover of Men's Fitness magazine.