The Pussycat Dolls Biography
With their debut album, PCD, set for release by A&M Records on September 13, 2005 (led by the #1 smash “Don’t Cha,” a duet with Busta Rhymes and produced by Cee-Lo), The Pussycat Dolls go beyond being extraordinarily beautiful. With tremendous voices, and after working with today’s top songwriters and producers (including Will.I.Am from the Black Eyed Peas, Timbaland, Rich Harrison, Sean Garrett and Ron Fair), The Pussycat Dolls are ready to stamp their mark on music and on attitudes.
“To me, a Pussycat Doll is fearless but also vulnerable,” says lead singer Nicole Scherzinger. “We’re strong but we like to play too. The line in ‘Don’t Cha’--‘don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me’--is meant to be empowering. The Pussycat Dolls are not about just being hot but also about saying something with real feeling.” From Scherzinger, who earlier scored a Top 10 album and single while in girl group Eden’s Crush, to Jessica Sutta, the one-time captain of the Miami Heat dance troupe; from Carmit Bachar, the “La Vida Loca” girl on Ricky Martin’s world tour, to Ashley Roberts and Kimberly Wyatt, two of the most talented young dancers in Hollywood, and Melody Thornton, a stunning singer chosen from an open audition, these Pussycat Dolls represent the next step for the group whose Sunset Strip performances became the hippest ticket in Hollywood.
The Pussycat Dolls were born in a tiny dance studio in the L.A. garage of actress Christina Applegate, with whom Antin was rooming in the early ‘90s. Antin had appeared in commercials for Coke and 7-Up, and did choreography for music videos for the likes of Smash Mouth, The Offspring and No Doubt. “But I wanted to do something creative and different,” she says.
So Antin invited over a few girlfriends who were also tour/music video dancers and they began to play around with her own choreography, a style endowed with the spirit of famed choreographer Bob Fosse (“Sweet Charity,” “Cabaret”) but also music from Led Zeppelin to punk rock, Siouxsie and The Banshees to Bjork, and fashion as well. Meanwhile Applegate suggested they perform at the Sunset Strip’s renowned Viper Room. Owner Johnny Depp saw them rehearse and reportedly said, “This is why I opened a club.” The Pussycat Dolls, which have seen many members in its evolving lineup since debuting in 1995, became the Thursday night opening act for the next six years.
A turning point came in 2000 when No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani came to a show and said she’d love to do a guest spot, not just to dance but to sing. So did Christina Aguilera. In 2002 it was time to take the show to a bigger venue and so The Pussycat Dolls moved to The Roxy. For two shows a week, for seven weeks, the place was sold out. Other guest performers included Brittany Murphy, Charlize Theron, Nikka Costa, Paris Hilton and Pamela Anderson. All of them appeared without pay, just for the fun of it, including emcee Applegate.
That same year, Antin joined forces with Jimmy Iovine, Chairman, Interscope Geffen A&M, who also envisioned taking them to a higher level.
Their “We Went As Far As We Felt Like Going” was heard in 2004’s Shark Tale, their cover of the standard “Sway” (helmed by Ron Fair, A&M President and producer for Aguilera and the Black Eyed Peas, among others) was heard in 2004’s Shall We Dance? The Pussycat Dolls were also seen in 2003’s Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle and Pink’s “Trouble” video as well as 2005’s Be Cool. Scherzinger was featured with Will Smith on “If U Can’t Dance (Slide)” on his 2005 Lost And Found album.
Today, there is a Pussycat Dolls line of makeup from Stila and The Pussycat Dolls Lounge opened in April 2005 inside Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, featuring a different roster of performers. The future may hold a line of clothing, lingerie, perfume, videogames, TV and movie projects, and other lounges.
Nicole Scherzinger is what entertainment industry executives call "a triple threat." This free-spirited artist is not just another pretty face; she can sing, act, AND dance. In a business that has been criticized for placing more emphasis on "image" than "ability" she shatters stereotypes with her blend of exotic beauty, charisma, and undeniable talent.
Scherzinger, who is of Hawaiian-Russian-Filipino descent, knew from a young age that she was destined to become an entertainer; performing is in her blood. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, as a child she watched her family of entertainers perform Polynesian shows featuring her mother as the lead hula dancer and her grandmother, Tutu, as the singer. At the age of six her family relocated to Louisville, Kentucky. Transitioning from island life was a new challenge for Nicole. "It was difficult at first because I didn't look like everyone else", she recalls, feeling at times like the ugly duckling.
Growing up, Nicole attended performing arts junior and senior high schools. At 14 her first professional play was at the prestigious Actors Theatre of Louisville. While attending Wright State University in Dayton, OH, she majored in theatre and minored in dance, garnering such lead roles as Velma Kelly in "Chicago" and Julie LaVerne in "Show Boat", supporting herself with local modeling jobs.
Nicole then learned the rock band Days Of The New was looking for a female vocalist. Soon after hearing the demos she recorded with lead singer, Travis Meeks, the band's producer Scott Litt called her out to L.A., where she recorded their second album and set out on the road to tour with them.
After touring she returned home to work on her own music. However auditions for WB's talent series "Popstars" had her driving to Chicago, joining an audition line at five a.m. but would soon pay off. Eden's Crush, the girl group that resulted from "Popstars," was a sensation. Its 2001 self-titled debut album went Top 10 and the single "Get Over Yourself" went to #1 on Billboard’s singles chart. In its year-plus together, the band toured with N*Sync and Jessica Simpson.
After Eden's Crush, Nicole explored opportunities in the acting world. Back in LA, she landed acting roles in feature films such as "Chasing Papi" and guest-starred in television series such as "My Wife and Kids."
It wasn't long until she heard that The Pussycat Dolls were looking for singers and as soon as she discovered music industry icons Jimmy Iovine and Ron Fair were attached to the project, the tenacious Scherzinger arranged to drop by one night and delivered a jaw dropping a cappella performance that left both Iovine and Fair dazzled. Nicole not only landed the coveted spot of lead singer for PCD but has also written on their soon-to-be-released album. "The Pussycat Dolls have no boundaries," says Scherzinger. "We continue to stretch and find ourselves in every performance. We do what is truthful for each of us." While it is obvious she has everything it takes to be a career artist, it is Nicole Scherzinger's unbridled passion to express herself musically that intrigues and inspires her growing legion of fans.
Carmit Bachar, the fire-hot redhead, is as talented as she is beautiful. Her mother is of Dutch/Indonesian decent and her father is Israeli. Being a native of Los Angeles and coming from a family of entertainers has led her down the path of working with some of the most successful artists of our time: No Doubt, Beyonce, P. Diddy, Macy Gray and Janet Jackson to name a few. She has numerous feature film and commercial credits - her "bon-bon" was most recognized as Ricky Martin's La Vida Loca girl! Carmit is one of the most respected dancers and choreographers in the business.
Not to be limited to just one genre, she attended Hamilton Academy of Music, in order to hone her sultry voice and piano chops. She was also a rhythmic gymnastics national team member and placed 5th at the '92 Olympic Trials. Carmit has been putting her heart and soul into the Dolls since the underground movement began. "Individual personality makes this group sassy," she says, which is where her nickname 'Foxy' comes from. "You have to be comfortable in your skin and exude confidence."
Born with a cleft lip/palate, Carmit's success has given her the desire to give back to children. She is in the process of founding a non-profit organization, Smile With Me, for the community of cleft children in Los Angeles. Carmit believes in limitless possibility and having overcome her own obstacles, she feels compelled to instill passion and creativity wherever she goes. With her inspirational personality, powerful presence and determination, she is sharing that light with one child at a time.
This Doll's enthusiasm, drive and discipline give her the momentum to succeed in this fast paced world. Get ready for this hottie to blaze the scene!
Phoenix native Roberts started dancing when she was three, singing when she was nine. Her father was a drummer turned car dealer who had played for The Mamas & The Papas; her mother was a Pilates instructor. Four years ago, just out of high school, she headed for L.A. During previous summers she had come to the West Coast to study modern dance. This time, she was in L.A. for good. Since then she’s hooked commercials for Eclipse gum and Joe Boxer clothing, and appeared in a Counting Crows video. And within six months, she was also a Pussycat Doll. “I honestly didn’t know about them but the word of mouth among dancers was awesome.”
Noting that when she sings she has a Marilyn Monroe-type voice, she says her onstage character is “flirtatious but innocent. She’s a fun free spirit. I guess I’m ‘the blonde’ in the group but,” she adds with a smile, “it ain’t natural.”
When she tore the ACL in both knees as a teenager while on stage, Jessica Sutta’s dream of being a prima ballerina ended. But her dreams of being a dancer were just beginning.
Born and raised in Miami, of Irish-Russian-Polish, Catholic-Jewish heritage, she went to the New World School of the Arts at age 14 to study dance. After being injured, she switched to theater, but told herself that she’d dance again. And she did, dancing in the Miami Heat troupe and being named captain her final year, 2001. As an actress, she was featured as a pill-poppin’ Gothic teenager in the drama series “Ocean Ave.,” shot in South Florida for audiences from Sweden to South Africa, and in the film Bully directed by Larry Clark.
In 2002, she moved to L.A. and three months later was on a dance audition for a PSA involving Smokey the Bear when choreographer Antin took notice. “She’s sweet, always positive, and very sensitive,” says Antin, “but on stage she turns it on.”
Tapped for The Pussycat Dolls, with her pale skin and dark hair, Sutta’s persona echoes a Betty Page pin-up. From the moment she joined The Pussycat Dolls, she says, “this is where I always wanted to be. I thought The Pussycat Dolls were genius. I am so blessed to be a part of this group.”
Chosen from an open audition talent search, Melody Thornton was a rising young star in hometown Phoenix. She sang backup for local artists and performed the National Anthem for the Arizona Diamondbacks while attending college. Her Mexican maternal grandmother had been a singer for mariachi bands; her African-American paternal grandfather was a blues guitarist and her mother was a Mexican folklore dancer. Being the only Latina and African-American in The Pussycat Dolls means a great deal to her. “I think a lot of the audience can relate to me,” she says, “and that adds to the Dolls.”
The first time she saw The Pussycat Dolls was on Christina Aguilera’s “MTV Diary.” “I loved the concept.” She recorded the show and played it back over and over. When she heard on MTV News that the group was auditioning, she drove to Burbank with her mother and sister. When they arrived at 5 a.m., five people were ahead of her. Thornton went in for the audition and her mother and sister waited across the street in their car for nine hours.
“I tried to mimic the concept to get noticed,” she says, “but that wasn’t easy. I’ve never even had a dance class. But once I sang, I worked it.” Called back with three others, she did choreography for a day and then sang for Iovine. “I wasn’t nervous because I didn’t know who he was,” she says with a laugh. “Besides, I don’t like to appear intimidated. Failure is not an option.” She then sang for Fair, who accompanied her on piano. A week of rehearsals and a Viper Room show later and Melody was welcomed aboard in December 2003.
Down-home Southern girl Kimberly Wyatt also happens to be, according to Antin, “the sexiest dancer I have ever seen in my life.” Says Wyatt, “I’m a lot shyer than most of the girls, but my personality onstage is full-out. I really go for it.”
Born in Warrensburg, MO, a tiny farm town near the Ozarks, her father is a trucker and her mother goes on the road with him. Having danced since she was seven, by the time Wyatt was 14 she was earning scholarships to study in New York each summer, from the Joffrey Ballet to the Broadway Dance Center. Graduating high school at 17, she promptly flew to Las Vegas to audition for cruise ship and casino shows. Landing a revue on Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas, then the largest cruise ship in the world, she was able to visit most of Southern Europe.
In 2001, she moved to L.A., despite an offer from the Hubbard St. Dance Co. in Chicago. “All I knew was that L.A. is where dancers got jobs and L.A. was the dot MapQuest led to. My parents thought, ‘Oh my God, what is she going to turn into out there?’”
In 2003, Antin was the choreographer for a video for Nick Lachey’s solo album when Wyatt auditioned. Antin asked her that night to join The Pussycat Dolls. “I had only seen a poster for them,” Wyatt recalls. “I remember falling in love with the girls. Not many acts let you be sexy and still be about girl power.”
“Small town Middle America is different from the coasts,” she says, “and all the girls come from big cities. I have a different perspective. They love my stories about towns where the fancy clothing store is Wal-Mart.”