Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome. See my complete profile
Welcome to your weekly dose of pop world musings. Covering all things pop culture, this week Pop Shots is hitting you with a look at three female singers that really should have seen more fame than they did. For one reason or another, or some combination of factors, it just didn’t work out for them despite their talents being equal to, if not better than, those of their peers. The world is unfair, we know this, but these singers deserved better, especially considering Avril Lavigne is still getting paid to be a recording artist, so this week they’ll get a small honor here, and since it’s Pop Shots you know it will all be seasoned with a little bit of attitude.
After having back to back hits in 2003 with “Stuck” and “(There’s Gotta Be) More To Life” it seemed like Stacie Orrico was poised to be in the pop scene for a very long time. She managed to toe a very interesting line, being pop, but also going the positive route with her lyrics and deciding to dress classy rather than slutty. Both her lyrics and her appearance, a noted diversion from what the pop scene had recently heard and seen with Britney Spears’ “I’m a Slave 4 U” (2001) and Christina Aguilera’s “Dirrty” (2002), were attributed to Orrico’s Christian background.
Unfortunately for Orrico, that Christian tag boxed her in, and in America there isn’t just a separation of church and state, there’s a separation of church and pop radio. Also unfortunately for Orrico, in 2004 Gwen Stefani released L.A.M.B., which completely took over everything.
Orrico’s website hasn’t been updated since 2008 (which means it’s probably a label site), but according to a fan site she’s heading back into the studio with Novel. Adding to the frustration of finding news on Orrico, she has no official Facebook or Twitter page, which makes it so there’s very little information available regarding what she’s working on. Stacie, if you’re reading this, give me a shout and tell me when we’ll hear from you next!
A couple of months ago I found Hoku’s eponymous debut album, the one that featured the single “Another Dumb Blonde,” in a dollar bin and picked it up. It holds up startlingly well. It’s pretty much a paint by numbers pop album, but sometimes there’s something to be said for coloring within the lines. Today it could easily be described as “breathe of fresh air,” or a “palette cleanser,” considering the pop raunch some acts have been throwing at us of late.
Hoku has some nice lineage, being the daughter of Don Ho, and according to her Wikipedia page she’s now married with two kids and living in Orange County, CA. Sadly, there’s nothing about what she might be working on musically. Because of its use in advertising, her song “Perfect Day,” which was also on the Legally Blonde soundtrack, may have netted her enough money to retire.
Since I doubt she’s actually retired, perhaps Hoku fell prey to the same issues Stacie Orrico had - being a “nice” girl and not dressing like she was on her way to work the corner. Also much like Orrico, Hoku has a website that hasn’t been updated in four years. Unlike Orrico, Hoku does have a Facebook page, but it was last updated the same time her website was.
A lot of folks saw Mandy Moore come into the pop scene on the heels of the successes of Britney and Christina and thought “oh great, another bleached blonde clone.” Her debut album was surprisingly good, but flew relatively under the radar despite the hit single “Candy.” What none of us could have predicted, however, was that the teenaged Moore had a lot more going on for her than any teen pop album could adequately display.
Now known equally, if not more so, for her acting career, including a memorable stint on Entourage playing the girl that broke Vinny Chase’s heart, Moore, in 2007, covered Rihanna’s hit “Umbrella” and gave it an entirely new feel. What once seemed like it was basically a song for eighth graders who were sad they wouldn’t see their friends anymore because they’d be going to different high schools, was suddenly a beautiful, and very adult contemporary, song.
Although Moore continues to release albums, and has sold ten million albums worldwide, I still can’t help be feel she deserved better in the pop world. To put her album sales in perspective, Britney has sold over 100 million albums worldwide. That’s ten times as many!
Moore was always third fiddle during her pop career, sometimes even fourth when Jessica Simpson was thrown into the mix, despite clearly deserving at least a share of the main spotlight.
And with that, my time is up for the week, but I'll be back next week with more shots on all things pop.
B-Listers are a select group of artists that were featured in my Artist Of The Week series that ran every Monday from April of '06 to April of '11. All of these artists have two things in common; extreme talent, and a flight path far too under the radar for my liking. They took on the title of B-Listers as they embraced being featured by me, Adam B. Check out the AOTW Archives for all the interviews.