As Told To Jonathan Hay
Many know her as the sultry front-woman of The Pussycat Dolls, but Nicole Scherzinger's quiet-as-kept career began on Kentucky band Days of The New's 1999 sophomore album, commonly referred to as "the green album" on Geffen Records. Lead singer and band leader Travis "Maestro" Meeks told HipHopDX, "I was looking for a female vocalist that could execute and
deliver some more world/operatic textures and sounds in approach to
the composition of the [Green] album."
As fate would have it, a college-aged Scherzinger would record the vocals and allegedly hit the road with the platinum-selling band responsible for such hits as "Touch, Peel and Stand" and "The Down Town." Meeks continues, "So I hired
her. I hired her to record the [album] and I
wrote [all] the parts for her and she sung backup pretty much on one,
two, three, four, five, six – six songs on the record. But her vocals
were not [buried] way back in the background, it was like me and her
singing, like, left to right, like strong." Meeks points out that she can be best heard on tracks from The Green Album such as “Flight Response,” “The Real,” “Take Me Back Then,” “Phobics
of Tragedy,” “Bring Yourself,” and “Last One.”
The Days of The New singer admits that he never expected Scherzinger to head in the musical direction that the mainstream would now know her for. After collaborating on an early R&B/Hip Hop track - as Meeks describes it, the two grew creatively distant. "I have nothing to say bad
about Nicole or her personality, she just didn’t seem to understand
music very well. But she’s an amazing, amazing, absolutely amazing
entertainer…she’s just not much of a musician, nor [does she] understand
music. And that was what I knew of Nicole," said the singer, through his publicist Jonathan Hay to HipHopDX.
In addition to revealing the earliest work by the Pop star, Meeks does go on record admitting the relationship was more than just creative. "Pretty much, after those two months of
touring, Nicole and I had a small fling. She had a boyfriend during
the whole time and I kind of had a crush on her a little bit just because
of the music thing," Meeks reveals.
As for Days of The New, the band is working on their first album in close to seven years, the fourth release, reportedly to be deemed The Purple Album. "I’m trying to build something again like that, a project. I
built a production company called Days of the New Presents Tree Colors
and it is not a side project, I call it the 'genre of art music,'
which includes: world influence, theatrics, animation, spoken word,
poetry, improvisation jam-band stuff on stage, very acoustical, very
operatic," Meeks says. He adds, "You might hear some female vocals on this [upcoming] record;
maybe Nicole might be interested in doing a few things with me in the
future, who knows, maybe it’s not her forte anymore – maybe she
misses it, maybe she might want to do it again.
For one of the people responsible for the start of the woman who has since found solo success with the help of Timbaland and Diddy, Travis Meeks states that the image fans see today might not be the real Nicole Scherzinger. "She didn’t
have that R&B, that kind of sexual thing going on; she wasn’t
like that at all. No, she was just a sweet girl, you know."
Additional Reporting by Jake Paine.