SHEâ€™S glamorous. Even “Fergalicious.â€™â€™ And sheâ€™s a singer for the Black Eyed Peas, the hottest hip-hop group on the planet.
But for Fergie, whose 2006 solo album The Dutchess spawned three No 1 hits, the road to success wasnâ€™t a smooth ride. She got into show business early, acting in advertisements at age 7. But like many child performers, adult stardom proved elusive for her.
“I was in the girl group Wild Orchid for 11 years, and a lot of times we would go places and try to perform and nobody wanted to see us,â€™â€™ says Fergie (33).
“We had some good times â€“â€“ we did a 40-city tour with Cher and Cyndi Lauper â€“â€“ but then there were other times when weâ€™d go to different places and thereâ€™d be 10 people there. And itâ€™s humiliating and embarrassing, like youâ€™re putting in all this work and nobodyâ€™s appreciating it.â€™â€™
In 1998, Fergie saw the Black Eyed Peas in concert after being inspired by their videos â€“â€“ and everything clicked.
“They delivered live â€“â€“ they have this sort of abstract hip-hop thing with a band, and their style was unique,â€™â€™ she says.
“They were kind of misfits, and I feel like Iâ€™m a misfit, so I really could relate with the music they were bringing. And I thought, â€˜I want to work with them someday.â€™â€™â€™
“At one of my last shows with Wild Orchid, Black Eyed Peas was on the bill,â€™â€™ she says. â€˜â€™Everyone knew we were separating â€“â€“ it wasnâ€™t a secret â€“â€“ and so in the hallway I went up to Peas front man will.i.am. You know, I had to get my hustle on!
“So I told him Iâ€™m working on a solo record and Iâ€™m not gonna be with the group anymore. Iâ€™ve been a longtime fan of you guys, and Iâ€™d love to work with you. So we had phone conversations and all that, but I donâ€™t know if he was too sure of me, you know?â€™â€™
“One day, they needed a powerful voice for this song Shut Up and Willâ€™s friend Dante Santiago, the groupâ€™s original singer said, â€˜You should get Ferg â€“â€“ she can really sing this.â€™ And I came to the studio and we knocked it out in about half an hour, and from there, he agreed to work with me for my solo stuff.â€™â€™
Fergie and Will quickly bonded through their charisma and creative energy together.
“We started forming a sound,â€™â€™ she says.
“And we became friends and started going to clubs together all the time and going back to the studio after the clubs, and just really getting along. So we decided to join forces.â€™â€™ â€“â€“ Miami Herald.