Nicole Scherzinger is a great believer in timing. While most divas with a massive international following would given up on America after suffering multiple setbacks, she just puts it all down to the curious workings of the universe. And it looks like her patience is finally being rewarded with the impending release of US debut LP Big Fat Lie (due Spring 2015).
The gorgeous 36-year-old recently dropped by the Idolator office in Los Angeles to chat about her American campaign, which is being spearheaded by excellent ballad “Run”, and impressive growth as an artist. Nicole also opened up about her unreleased material (she really wants you to hear it), attention-grabbing album title and current influences. Find out all you need to know about the former Pussycat Doll‘s fresh start after the jump.
Why did you decide to go with “Run” as your lead single in America?
The past couple of years, I’ve been in the UK doing X Factor. They’ve adopted me, I’m a Brit at heart. I’ve just learned so much over there, just cutting loose and being myself. That comes with growing as a woman as well. So because of that, and my fan base in the UK was really ready for the music sooner than the US was.My release in the UK is October 20, but it’ll be released next Spring in the US.
So we started out early in the UK in the summer. So if I came out with “Run” in the summer, I don’t know how well that would go over. Timing is everything with music. “Your Love” was just a feel-good, fun, sexy summer song — and that’s what it was supposed to be. I thought my fans would love it. Then we thought we’d lead into“On The Rocks” for the next song. And then my third single over there is going to be “Run,” which will be perfect for the winter time.
Over here, we did something quite unexpected that I don’t even think we realized we were gonna do. We actually had plans for another single, I guess we just took a leap of faith and believed in this song so much. “Run” is just a personal and authentic song, even though there’s a lot of vulnerability there’s strength in it too. I think people are looking for that in music today.
It’s a very different sound for you. Do you think people will be surprised?
I think they are, I think even my fans are surprised. But my fans who have followed me along the way and who have gotten to hear my international music, I think they are a little bit closer to my work and my progression as an artist from the Dolls. But in America, I think the last time they saw me musically really was with the Dolls. So this is just stripping it back. I’m really excited because I’ve been waiting for this album to come out for a long time. I’ve not had a solo album released in the US.
But everything has its right time, and I needed to grow as an artist and as a woman — even being a part of these shows. I’ve pushed my contestants with mentoring to be authentic. I was like, I should reflect that and look at myself as an artist and my work. So I’m ready to be revealed in that light. I mean, it’s quite bold that I’ve titled my album Big Fat Lie but I’m ready for that. We all have issues, and I’ve had enough of the the insecurities and the lies… you have to deal with them face on.
Let’s talk about the title. What’s it referring to?
There are many different meanings and layers to it. There have been many misconceptions about me by people who don’t know me. That’s why I want to be as honest and as real through my music as I can. So those are big fat lies. And the other thing, things aren’t always what they appear and what they seem. There are things we have to tell ourselves to fight through and to get through the truth.
What was it like working with The-Dream and Tricky Stewart on the album?
I worked with Dream and Tricky many years back, so it was kind of just reuniting with my family. Honestly, timing is everything. The boys… it was the first time they’ve gotten back together to write again. I was their first project. So it just happened that they came back into my life and they helped me find my own sound, my own voice and was able to put my real life experiences out and talk about things I usually don’t talk about through music.
In an interview you said you scrapped five albums. Why was that material never released?
I love my music. If I go back, all those songs are still my babies. I think it’s just a lot of things play in the universe to why things don’t happen. A lot of it is that I am a perfectionist, and if it’s not a complete body of work that represents me right now then I didn’t want to put it out. I waited, and now it’s all come together and now the album is eclectic. It’s not just songs like “Run”.
Will those older songs ever be released? I always love “Pretty”.
I would love them to because I think my fans would appreciate them and would be able to connect with them. There’s a couple of real gems in there. But I’m grateful for that process, because it’s what’s gotten me here. Kenny [Babyface] did that [“Pretty”]. He’s amazing, he wrote that song. I’m not gonna lie, it’s disheartening to me too because we put so much work into it. But I just kept on that slow and steady road, and I’m still doing it. So many people these days with all these shows, they get fame so fast that they feel entitled. When things happen for me, I’ll know I really earned it.
What do you have in store for the “Run” video?
“Run” is just really simple. I think for the UK version, it’s just a one-take live video. For the US, I don’t know if we’re gonna go with that but it’s pretty much going to be a one-take video that’s very simple and stripped back. Just me performing the song and that’s it. No bells and whistles or nothing. I want them to start to get to know me and connect with me more as an artist, not just as a performer or a Doll.
A lot of people just don’t know how incredible your voice is…
It’s so hard, because all of us girls want to sing the songs from Dreamgirls – you know what I mean? But at the same time, it’s pop culture and everybody has to have these smashes out. I think it’s like that for a lot of artists, it’s hard to be able to balance it and really go in and showcase your vocals on some of these songs that are great pop songs. But I think at least on this album we’ve been able to just create a sound for me that’s unlike anyone else out there. It doesn’t have anyone else’s fingerprints on there. It’s custom-made and built from me.
Will there be different tracklists for the US and UK?
Slightly. It’ll be primarily the same with a couple different songs. “Your Love” and “On The Rocks” will still be there. [Nicole told me before the interview that she was also considering including a remixed song from Killer Love].
What was your inspiration for the album cover?
That wasn’t part of the album packaging shoot, the photographer was on set for my music video for “Your Love” and my biggest inspiration for that video was Janet Jackson‘s “Love Will Never Do Without You”. So I was really inspired by that, and they were just taking pictures behind the scenes in between takes. That’s where that picture actually came from.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
I spend a lot of time in the UK, so loving a lot of the Brits’ work. My favorite artist of the moment is Sam Smith. I think Sia is unbelievable, she just blows me away. Also Kodaline, they’re a cool band from Ireland.
Have you ever considered being on a club record, working with someone like Clean Bandit?
Oh my gosh, I would love to. I love that song. Absolutely yes, I would love it!
What’s your personal favorite song on the album?
Well I obviously love “Run,” that’s the most personal song to me. I also would say “Girl With A Diamond Heart” or “Heartbreaker.” But the final song we did on the album, which I titled the album after is “Big Fat Lie.” It’s a mid-tempo.
The lyrics for the pre-chorus go, and it’s along the lines of what we were talking about how things don’t appear how they seem, “California days, they say it never rains. So why does it seem my makeup’s never dry. And if my life’s like a perfect sky, why do I feel grey inside? And if I’m living such a wonderful high, why don’t I feel alive? But Imma keep my tears to me, and the truth between me and you is that I’m living a big fat lie. If you look past my features, just a little deeper.” I think a lot of people will be able to relate to it.