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Nicole Scherzinger Bio
Nicole Scherzinger (born June 29, 1978 as Nicole Prascovia Elikolani Valiente) is an American singer, songwriter, dancer, actress and television personality. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, she performed in various singing competitions and musicals before joining American rock band Days of the New as a backing vocalist and later becoming one of the members of the ill-fated girl group Eden’s Crush in 2001. She rose to fame as the lead singer of the burlesque troupe turned-recording act, the Pussycat Dolls becoming one of the world’s best-selling girl groups of all time. During their hiatus, Scherzinger planned to embark on her solo career with Her Name is Nicole, but it was later shelved after four singles failed to impact the charts significantly. Following the disbandment of the Pussycat Dolls, Scherzinger became a judge for two seasons of The Sing-Off and in 2010 won the tenth season of Dancing with the Stars.
In 2011 she released her debut studio album, Killer Love to moderate success and featured the top-ten hits “Don’t Hold Your Breath” and “Right There“. Later that year she served as a judge during the first season of the American version of The X Factor before heading to the UK version for two years in 2012, before returning in 2016. Her second studio album, Big Fat Lie (2014) which had a minor impact on the charts, was preceded by three singles including, “Your Love“. For starring in the 2014 West End revival of the musical Cats Scherzinger garnered a Laurence Olivier Award nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical.
Throughout a career spanning over 13 years, she has had three UK number one singles, sold over 16 million albums and over 37 million singles worldwide. Having sold 16 million records as a solo artist, and a further 54 million with Pussycat Dolls, Scherzinger is one of the highest-selling female singers of all time. Since her first chart entry in 2005, Scherzinger has also scored 20 top 20 hits on the UK Singles Chart. Outside her work in the entertainment industry, Scherzinger has many other ventures like Herbal Essences, Müller and helped to create the clothing brand Missguided. She is also an Ambassador for UNICEF and a Global Ambassador for the Special Olympics and is involved in charitable activities.
1999–2002: Career beginnings and Eden’s Crush
In 1999, Scherzinger was hired by Days of the New band leader Travis Meeks, to contribute vocals on their second studio album Days of the New and later dropped out of college to tour through the US in support of the album. In 2001, after her mother’s suggestion, Scherzinger quit the band in order to audition on the WB‘s television show Popstars, a precursor to modern’s string of reality series. With the aim to chronicle the group’s formation until the recording of their debut album, Warner Bros. imprint London-Sire Records signed the group to a recording contract before the band was named and had finalized its membership, due to the hours of network television exposure the group would receive. Initially hesitant at the idea of joining a group, she then opted otherwise as she saw it as an opportunity to travel to Los Angeles. For her audition she sang Whitney Houston‘s version of “I Will Always Love You” and ended up winning a spot along with other four finalists; Ivette Sosa, Maile Misajon, Ana Maria Lombo and Rosanna Tavarez establishing the girl group, Eden’s Crush. Their debut single, “Get Over Yourself” was released on March 2001 and debuted at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 and became the first female act to debut at number one on the Hot 100 Singles Sales chart. Their debut studio album, Popstars debuted at number six on the Billboard 200 chart. They went on to tour with ‘N Sync and Jessica Simpson, but by the end of the year their label went bankrupt and disbanded. During this time, will.i.am approached Scherzinger to become a member of the Black Eyed Peas, but had to turned it down as her then-boyfriend declined.
Following the group’s disbandment, and with hopes of scoring a solo recording contract, she peddled a demo CD to labels under her Hawaiian family name, Nicole Kea, because it was easier to pronounce. In August 2003 Scherzinger traveled to the Arista Records office in New York with a demo CD of her own written material. Her performance was interrupted by a citywide blackout and she was forced to leave. She also did a brief detour into acting which includes a cameo in the independent comedy, Love Don’t Cost a Thing. Scherzinger also worked with Yoshiki of Japanese heavy metal band X Japan on his Violet UK project. She sang the English version of “I’ll Be Your Love” live with the Tokyo Symphonic Orchestra. Scherzinger met Nick Hexum of rock band 311 backstage at a concert. They became engaged, but later broke up.
2003–09: The Pussycat Dolls
In 2003, Robin Antin, the creator of the burlesque troupe, the Pussycat Dolls, struck a joint venture with Interscope Records and along with record producers Jimmy Iovine and Ron Fair, launched an open audition for a separate recording group. After will.i.am recommended Scherzinger to Iovine, and in hopes to obtain a solo deal, she successfully auditioned along with Melody Thornton joining Carmit Bachar, Ashley Roberts, Jessica Sutta and Kimberly Wyatt. Scherzinger suffered from bulimia following her first photo shoot with the group. She was required to wear a bra, underwear and garters; however, Scherzinger wasn’t comfortable in her own body. Her struggle with the eating disorder would last for eight years, during which she would keep to herself. In 2004, Scherzinger covered “Breakfast in Bed” for the soundtrack to 50 First Dates. As the lead singer, Scherzinger assumed the majority of the vocals and is the only member of the group to have songwriting credits on their debut album, PCD which was released in September 2005. The album was preceded by “Don’t Cha” which became their international breakthrough, peaking at number two on the Billboard Hot 100. The album spawned other number-one hits, “Stickwitu” and “Buttons“, the former of which was nominated for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards.
Once finishing recording the group’s debut album, Scherzinger began working on her solo album. In February 2006, Scherzinger signed a global publishing agreement with Universal Music Publishing Group, which would cover her future songwriting. Her work as lead singer furthered Scherzinger’s popularity as she continued to work on her own music. Scherzinger’s first solo recording was a feature on Avant‘s “Lie About Us” that was released in July 2006 and later collaborated with Diddy on “Come to Me” which became Scherzinger’s first solo top-ten hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. In March 2007, Scherzinger announced that her debut studio album would be titled Her Name is Nicole and was initially scheduled for a release in late summer. Four singles were released from the project—”Whatever U Like” featuring T.I., “Baby Love” featuring will.i.am, “Supervillain”, and “Puakenikeni”—however, all failed to make any significant impact on the Billboard charts, although “Baby Love” was a moderate success in international territories. After a number of push backs, Scherzinger decided not to release any further singles from the album and at her request, Her Name Is Nicole was eventually shelved and shifted back her focus on the Doll’s second album.
In February 2008, Scherzinger along with a variety of other celebrities contributed to will.i.am‘s “Yes We Can“, to support Barack Obama‘s 2008 presidential campaign. Following the cancellation of Her Name is Nicole, Scherzinger focused on the Pussycat Dolls’ second and final album, Doll Domination. It was released in the United States on September 23, 2008 and peaked at number four on the Billboard 200. The album included singles “When I Grow Up” and “I Hate This Part” which peaked at number nine and eleven on the Billboard Hot 100, respectively. Both songs were originally recorded for Scherzinger’s solo effort. The following year, the Pussycat Dolls embarked on a worldwide concert tour, Doll Domination Tour which began on January 18, 2009. While on tour, Scherzinger was asked to re-write pop version of “Jai Ho” from the movie Slumdog Millionaire (2008). The song was entitled “Jai Ho! (You Are My Destiny)” crediting A. R. Rahman and the Pussycat Dolls while Scherzinger was credited as a featured artist causing an internal strife within the group. The song reached number one in 17 countries; in the US, it peaked at number fifteen on the Billboard Hot 100, after charging eighty-five places consequently making the largest weekly leap from number 100. On April 5, 2009, Scherzinger performed the “America the Beautiful” at Wrestlemania XXV, at the Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. After the tour concluded in August 2009, the group announced a hiatus to further pursue solo careers. In December 2009, Scherzinger was announced as the third judge joining Ben Folds and Boyz II Men band member Shawn Stockman on the first season of The Sing-Off. She returned for the second season before being replaced by Sara Bareilles.
2010–13: Killer Love and The X Factor
In May 2010, Scherzinger and her dance partner Derek Hough won season 10‘s Dancing with the Stars. In August, Scherzinger portrayed Maureen in the Hollywood Bowl production of the rock musical Rent directed by Neil Patrick Harris. Her performance in the musical received praise from critics, Charles McNulty of the Los Angeles Times stated that “Scherzinger’s powerhouse voice was meant for venues like the Bowl.” Meanwhile, following the departure of the four members, Scherzinger announced that she quit the Pussycat Dolls to focus on her solo career.
Her debut studio album Killer Love, was released on March 21, 2011 in the United Kingdom. The album experienced moderate success in certain territories; on the UK Albums Chart the album debuted and peaked at number eight and by November it sold 140,000 copies. The album’s second single, “Don’t Hold Your Breath” became Scherzinger’s first number-one single as a solo artist in the UK Singles Chart and singles, “Poison” and “Right There” both reached number three. The latter one was remixed featuring 50 Cent and released as the lead single for the US version of Killer Love; however the release was never materialized. It peaked at number thirty-nine, remaining her highest charting single on the Billboard Hot 100 as a lead artist. Originally hired to co-host along with Steve Jones the first season of The X Factor US, Scherzinger received media attention after replacing Cheryl Cole as a judge joining Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and L.A. Reid. She generated further controversy and received backlash after refusing to break the deadlock and leave the decision up to the public vote which resulted in Rachel Crow‘s elimination. She mentored the Over 30s; her final act, Josh Krajcik, was named the runner-up of the season. Meanwhile, Killer Love was re-released with four additional songs, including the fifth and final single, “Try with Me” and embarked on her first headlining tour in February 2012.
Scherzinger appeared as Boris’ Girlfriend in the 3D comic science fiction–action film Men in Black 3, which was released on May 25, 2012 through Columbia Pictures. In June 2012, Scherzinger was announced to replace Kelly Rowland as a judge for the ninth series of The X Factor UK joining Gary Barlow, Tulisa and Louis Walsh with a reported salary of $1.17 million. Scherzinger mentored the Boys category; both of her acts, James Arthur and Jahméne Douglas reached the final with Arthur winning the series. In March 2013, Scherzinger released “Boomerang” which debuted and peaked at number six on the UK Singles Chart. Whilst planning to release a new album worldwide in November, Scherzinger unveiled that she had doubts about returning for the tenth series of The X Factor UK as the promotion for the album would clash with the live stages of the singing competition. She ultimately decided to return as a judge and scrapped the album “Boomerang” was associated with.
2014–present: Big Fat Lie and television projects
In January 2014, it was reported that Scherzinger landed a $4.5 million recording deal with Sony Music Entertainment. It was later confirmed that Scherzinger left her long-time label, Interscope Records, for Sony’s UK imprint label, RCA Records. In February, Simon Cowell confirmed that Scherzinger would not return as a judge on The X Factor UK for its eleventh series and was replaced by Mel B. Scherzinger’s second studio album, Big Fat Lie was released in October. Commercially the album didn’t perform well on the UK Albums Chart spending two weeks inside the top 100 peaking at number 17. The album was preceded by the singles “Your Love“, “Run” and “On the Rocks“; the foremost peaked at number six on the UK Singles Chart and was a moderate success on other international markets. In December, Scherzinger made her West End debut starring as Grizabella in the 2014 revival of the musical Cats at the London Palladium where she played the role for a 12-week run until February 8, 2015; her performance received rave reviews from critics particularly praising her rendition of the song standard “Memory” and garnered a Laurence Olivier Award nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical.
On June 30, 2015 Scherzinger was crowned as the winner of the variety show I Can Do That where six celebrities compete with each other by performing skills that they never knew they had. She performed the American national anthem at the A Capitol Fourth concert in Washington, D.C. on 4 July and several days later opened the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games. The following month, Scherzinger was announced as the co-host the hour-long live comedy-variety series, Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris which premiered on September 15 on NBC. On October 22, the new music panel show Bring the Noise premiered on Sky 1 hosted by Ricky Wilson with Scherzinger and Tinie Tempah joining him as team captains.
Scherzinger was set to reprise Grizabella in the Broadway revival of Cats but a week before rehearsal she quit after producers refused to give her top billing. In June 2016, it was confirmed that Scherzinger will return and replace Rita Ora as a judge on The X Factor’s thirteenth series along with Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh and Sharon Osbourne. She mentored the Boys category for the second time, with Matt Terry winning the series. Scherzinger voiced Sina in the animated feature Moana which was released on November 23, 2016 through Walt Disney Pictures.
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