Role: UK Band Fixer / Musical Director / Programmer / Drummer
I was put in touch with Nicole Scherzinger’s UK live agent and management team to put the band together for a show in London. I was given a brief of what they needed to make it work in terms of band line up and personnel and was trusted to create a budget that would satisfy both the band and also Nicole’s team and deliver a great show.
We really wanted to have a HUGE sounding set, so i sourced stems from management and added what i didn’t have, (big shout out to my brother Adam Brooks who laid some organ down for me for one of the songs). This helped us make a big sound with depth and colour and ensured all of the signature parts of the song were present.
With Nicole’s busy schedule, dates for rehearsal changed a lot, and in the end, she was unable to make rehearsals so i prepped rehearsal recordings (so she could hear all of the arrangements and song structures) and listen to them so she could know what to expect.
As the Musical Director, there were a lot of organisational aspects to take into consideration. We didn’t have long to rehearse so i prepped the band before rehearsals, sending out stems of their parts, song structure/arrangements and any additional lines/parts that i wanted them to have locked down so rehearsals could be about rehearsing and tweaking, rather than creating and learning. It was also essential that i brought the right people in to be in the band and do BV’s. People that could deliver under pressure and offer creativity.
The set was high energy and contained Pussy Cat Dolls songs as well as some of Nicole’s own music. Nicole loves to go “Balls Out” as she calls it, which basically means go hard or go home so i created i band intro which was based off the Pussy Cat Dolls song “Beep” which was high energy and allowed her time to walk on stage to a cheer before starting the first song to the set.
Nicole, was happy and everyone involved in the show loved the energy and delivery… Job well done!
Band Line Up:
- Drums: Matt Brooks
- Bass – Dan Francis Owen
- Guitar – Liam McGarry
- Keys – Chad Edwards
- BV’s – Patrice Copeland
- BV’s – Natalie Palmer
About Nicole Scherzinger:
Label: Epic / Sony / RCA
Genre: Pop / R&B
Her name is Nicole. You already know her as The Pussycat Dolls’ lead singer, the one positioned way out front tempting listeners to loosen up her buttons. She was key to the group’s success, selling upwards of seven million albums, touring the world, appearing as a guest vocalist on tracks by the likes of P. Diddy and Busta Rhymes, all accomplished in under three years and without missing a beat. Her name is Nicole Scherzinger.
What you may not know is her story, which has its start in her birth state of Hawaii, a middle act in Kentucky, where she grew up, and the third (but far from last) chapter taking center stage as a true solo artist. Nicole’s debut album may seem like an after-thought to the Dolls, but in fact, it’s what she’s been working towards all her life. Whether through her previous all-girl outfit, Eden’s Crush, who were born out of the reality TV series “Popstars,” or as the background singer for multi-platinum late ’90s rock group Days Of The New, the part-Russian, part-Filipino, part-Hawaiian Nicole, whose nickname growing up was Hula, had her sights set on solo stardom for as long as she can remember. “Some people’s glasses can only be filled so high but I always knew there was never a limit to mine. I always knew what I wanted,” Nicole declares. “People just see me as that girl from The Pussycat Dolls; I hear it all the time. They know ‘Don’t Cha,’ which is amazing because it gets the attention and recognition, but as an artist, you need more to feed your soul, fill your glass. You need the music and that’s what this album is all about… the music.”
It was a long road to travel for Nicole, whose parents couldn’t afford acting or vocal lessons for their daughter while she was in her teens. To get around it, she enrolled in a performing arts high school and then paid her own way through college where she majored in theatre and acting and studied dance extensively. “Singing,” she adds, “was innate from the start. It was almost like my first means of communication.” But where “Popstars” or Days Of The New could easily have been her last shot, Nicole saw every audition and career move as a stepping-stone. “I remember the first time I was put up in a hotel on the Sunset Strip, jumping on the bed and thinking, ‘I’m a huge star.’ It was my first big break, going on tour with Days Of The New, but I was always recording, working with friends who had studios and knowing that one day, I was going to make it on my own. I was always working towards this moment.”
In fact, when Nicole first tried out for The Pussycat Dolls, and was quickly cast based on her raw talent and experience, she negotiated a solo deal then and there. “When they asked me to join the group I knew that was the window of opportunity I had been waiting for my entire life so I said ‘You have to give me a solo contract as well. I knew I would earn my stripes in time and, well, here I am talking about Her Name Is Nicole.”
It’s that tenacity which lies at the core of Nicole’s entire being, and has been there ever since she was a child. “When I think about it, I have a crazy story,” she bemuses. “Coming from little money and zero connections… I could have stopped with The Pussycat Dolls, selling seven million albums, but this is a mountain I have been determined to climb. The song ‘March’ that I wrote best explains it…’If you can see it and believe it and put in the work, well then it’s only just a matter of time!'”
So what IS success to Nicole Scherzinger, the solo artist? “People connecting to my music. If it reminds them of something, or if it makes them feel good, emotional, or if it just makes them want to dance or sing out, that’s all I can ask for! This music comes from my heart and when people hear it, they will get to know me.”