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When the Black Eyed Peas shot to prominence in 2003, Stacy Ann Ferguson was relatively new to the fame game. The California girl had recorded a few songs for the Peas, who liked her so much that they invited her to join the band. She accepted, and the new line-up proved to be the golden ticket for everyone involved. The Black Eyed Peas became one of America’s top-selling groups, became one of the hottest producers on the scene, and Fergie (as she prefers to be known) became a Hollywood actress with a promising solo career. The Record takes a look at one of the hottest musicians today and her rapid rise to the top.

Although Fergie found fame only a few years ago, Stacy had a taste of stardom when she was just a child. She was a child actress on the television programme Kids Incorporated for five years and featured in two animated specials ~ It’s Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown and Snoopy’s Getting Married, Charlie Brown ~ as the voice of Sally Brown when she was just 10 years old. She also appeared in the horror film Monster In The Closet, as well as two Kids Incorporated TV specials and the Saturday morning cartoon The Charlie Brown And Snoopy Show.

After her days in television, Stacy began to focus on her music career. She formed a girl group called Wild Orchid along with Stefanie Ridel and fellow Kids Incorporated star Renee Sandstrom. The group released two albums but failed to find any success. They recorded a third album, but the record company did not release it, and Stacy left the group.

After her departure from Wild Orchid, Stacy continued to perform as a backup dancer in the Los Angeles area. It was there that she met from the Black Eyed Peas, a group that had released two albums but not really achieved any commercial acclaim. She recorded a few songs with the group, replacing their backup singer Kim Hill. Taking on a new stage name, Fergie stayed with the band and is now their new female face, becoming a permanent member rather than replacing Hill as simply a backup vocalist. The Peas’ first album with Fergie, Elephunk, was an instant success thanks to the hit Where Is The Love?, which featured Justin Timberlake. The follow up singles Shut Up and Hey Mama were also hits, and the band instantly became the hottest act around. Everyone wanted a piece of the Black Eyed Peas ~ from Apple to the NBA to the Grammy Awards, the Peas were everywhere. Their next album Monkey Business was even more popular, reaching #2 on the US charts and earning the group their second Grammy.

Having found her place in the music industry, Fergie decided to go back to her roots as an actor. Setting her sights on Hollywood this time, Fergie landed a role in the 2006 summer blockbuster Poseidon and even lent her vocal talents for a song in the film. She also guest starred on the hit show Las Vegas (alongside her boyfriend and the show’s star Josh Duhamel) and is slated to appear in the 2007 film Grind House.

The Dutchess
While still a member of the Black Eyed Peas, Fergie is now branching out with a solo career as well. Her debut album, The Dutchess, will see Fergie take the reins on an album that features some of hip-hop’s biggest names. With fellow Pea serving as executive producer, The Dutchess sees Fergie and guest artists such as Ludacris and Bob Marley’s widow Rita in a much-anticipated debut from an already well-respected star. Originally titled Fergalicious, the album’s title is a play on the popular nickname she shares with the former Duchess Of York Sarah Ferguson. The album will be the first release on Music Group and features a variety of different musical styles, from pop to hip-hop to reggae to techno. “That is my truth and makes me who I am,” said Fergie in a recent interview to Yahoo! Launch. “If I’d only done one style, that wouldn’t have been a truthful representation of me.” And Fergie wanted the album to be a truthful representation; her songs deal with issues such as her relationships and former addictions. “There are a lot of times when I really dig deep on this album,” she said. “I think it’s important to represent who I am in all facets. That’s why I’ve talked about my struggle with drugs. I don’t want to talk about it all the time because it’s not a part of my life any more, but I’m not running from it.” The struggle with drugs Fergie refers to was her crystal meth addiction when times were bleak after her departure from Wild Orchid. “It was the hardest boyfriend I ever had to break up with,” she told Time magazine. “It's the drug that's addicting. But it's why you start doing it in the first place that's interesting. A lot of it was being a child actor; I learned to suppress feelings.”

From child actor to superstar, Fergie has come a long way in her career. But her sex symbol status is anything but true to her nature, and Fergie is quick to dismiss the notion that she is the persona she is sometimes mistaken for. "I'm not a promiscuous girl like I talk about in Clumsy,” she told Yahoo! “I'm always the girl with the boyfriend in serious relationships, but I do like to play with my sexuality.”

You can read the rest of our feature on Fergie in the September 2006 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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