Grammy Awards Get Positively Fergie-licious
Nominated for best female pop vocal performance for "Big Girls Don't Cry," the singer stands a very good chance of leaving her mark on the golden anniversary of the recording industry's top event. CBS broadcasts the 50th Annual Grammy Awards from Los Angeles' Staples Center on Sunday, Feb. 10.
"We pulled that song out from the vault," Black Eyed Peas and Wild Orchid veteran Fergie says about the passionately rendered tune she's nominated for. "I had written it before I ever started working with the Peas, during a very transitional period in my life. My manager said, 'If you don't put this on your album, you're crazy.' I hadn't thought of the song for a while, but I said, 'Sure. OK.'
"They wanted me to redo the vocal, and I said, 'No,'" she adds. "It was so sincere and so appropriate for the time, I was really feeling that emotion, and I didn't want to get 'demo-itis' and ruin it. It was just so honest. I can't believe what it did. I guess a lot of people related to the lyrics. It's such a personal vocal for me."
Fergie's first solo CD, "The Dutchess," has yielded four other hits: "London Bridge," "Fergalicious," "Glamorous" and "Clumsy." She's pleased to be up for the Grammy for which her rivals are Christina Aguilera (for "Candyman"), Feist ("1234"), Nelly Furtado ("Say It Right") and Amy Winehouse ("Rehab").
"It's a very prestigious award," Fergie says. "People like Christina have won it before, and she's a phenomenal vocalist. This award, especially, is so coveted by females. It's literally about your vocal performance and how you express the words."
After her wins at last year's Teen Choice Awards, MTV Video Music Awards and American Music Awards, Fergie was a co-announcer of the 2008 Grammy nominees in December.
Kanye West has the most bids with eight, followed by Winehouse with six; Foo Fighters, Jay-Z, Timbaland, Justin Timberlake and T-Pain have five each. Among those with four nominations are Akon, Daughtry, Tim McGraw, Ne-Yo, Rihanna and Bruce Springsteen.
At this writing, Fergie was in talks for a singing spot on the Grammy Awards. If that panned out, she anticipated performing "Finally," also from "The Dutchess." She deems it a tune that "could almost be in a stage musical. It was important to me to put all the different styles that represent me on the album, so that people could get an idea of who I am.
"Say I had put out a hip-hop-based album this time. I could never go and make a rock record then, so I wanted to put all the elements in. I've definitely lived a colorful life, and it's always been around music, so my tastes are very eclectic. I wanted people to know I'm this, but I'm also that, too."
Something else Fergie cops to being is nervous during television performances. "There's just something about having the cameras on me," she says, "knowing it's going to be around forever. I still get the jitters, but I'm actually getting better. On 'Movies Rock,' I got through it, and I was able to bring the fire that I have on stage."
Fergie, born Stacy Ann Ferguson, gained TV experience as a youngster as the voice of Charlie Brown's sister, Sally, on several "Peanuts" specials and as a regular on the series "Kids Incorporated."
"Finally, people are admitting they watched that show," Fergie says of "Kids Incorporated." "When I was younger, everyone would make fun of it. Suddenly, people are coming out of the woodwork about it. It's almost cool, because it had sort of a cult following."
The same happened to Aguilera, Timberlake and Britney Spears for the "Mickey Mouse Club" version they made. "I think the reason we've all been able to do this -- and poor Britney, I know she's been having a troubling time, and I really feel for her -- is that we got basic training," Fergie reasons. "We had Artist College at that age, and we gave up part of our childhoods for it. That's why later in life, a lot of us rebelled. I don't know about Justin, though. He never seems to do anything wrong. Or he just doesn't get caught."
Frank about the drug addictions she had earlier in life, Fergie explains she adopted her current professional name as "a life decision. Everything turned around for me, and I just wanted a new start."
Also considering her recent engagement to "Las Vegas" co-star Josh Duhamel, the artist who sang "Big Girls Don't Cry" last year at Live Earth and the Concert for Diana says, "I keep getting blessings and surprises and gifts. It feels like all the hard work I've done over the years is paying off now, literally and figuratively, and in all areas."
With "Clumsy" currently on the charts, "The Dutchess" continues to bear fruit for Fergie, so she's in no hurry to record her follow-up.
"I know my next album is inside of me," says Fergie, who also maintains her tie to the Black Eyed Peas. "It hasn't been written yet, but it's there, and I have so much more to say. I'm excited to get in the studio and nurture an album, which I didn't really get to do.
"['The Dutchess'] was done over a period of seven years, a song here and a song there. It was already at the printer while I was finishing the 'thank yous.' As proud as I am of it, next time, I want the chance to do it another way. I want to sit in a studio for days and days on end, not be touring or have any other distractions, and just be creative."