Friday, May 4, 2012

Wild Orchid

Wild Orchid were a pop\R&B girl group from the 90's whose members consisted of Stacy "Fergie" Ferguson (born on March 27, 1975 in Hacienda Heights, California), Renee Sands (born Renee Ilene Sandstrom on February 15, 1974 in Worchester, Massachussetts) and Stefanie Ridel (born Stefanie Jill Ridel on May 17, 1973 in Hollywood, California).

All of the girls have had experience in acting; Stacy and Renee were cast members of the children's music television show, "Kids Incorporated." Stacy was on the show from 1984 to 1989 and Renee was on the show from 1984 to 1987.

Wild Orchid was formed in 1990 when Renee and Stefanie met in their high school's drama department in Southern California. The girls decided to form a music group based on their love of music and poetry. Their original name was New Rhythm Generation (or NRG). Stacy and Heather Holyoak later joined the group & they began to look for a record deal.

As the girls wrote their songs and recorded their first single, "Get Crazy: Work It," they also came up with choreographies for their music. Along with their demo tapes, Renee, Stefanie, & Stacy also sent a portfolio of photos.

The girls started performing & singing at nightclubs, charity functions, and even sung live at local radio stations. In February of 1991, NRG performed at a local Los Angeles nightclub for thier first time. During that time, Heather decided she wanted to return to college, so the girls began holding auditions to find a fourth member. Micki Duran became the newest member of the group.

In July of that same year, NRG performed to a sold-out crowd at a BMI showcase. After this performance, the group began looking for a new manager because their previous manager was making claims that he owned the rights to the group's name.

By 1992, they found a new manager, Marta Marrero (who is the mother of pop singer and former "Kids Incorporated" cast member, Martika) and a new name for their group called "Wild Orchid."

Wild Orchid began meeting with various record labels including RCA, EMI, and Capitol Records, but they were unable to get a recording contract. They eventually signed a music publishing deal with Sony Publishing before signing a record deal with RCA Records in 1994. Before that happened, Micki left the group because she was working on the Nickelodeon show "Roundhouse." The group ended up consisting of three members: Stacy, Renee, & Stefanie.

In 1995, Wild Orchid spent the year writing music with the support of Renee's brother, Bobby Sandstrom (who is a songwriter). Their debut album approximately took 9 months to complete. During that same year, they recorded the theme song for the short-lived NBC sitcom, "Hope & Gloria."
In September of 1996, Wild Orchid released their first single, "At Night I Pray" which peaked at #63 on the Billboard Hot 100, #67 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, staying on the chart for 18 weeks and #29 on Billboard's Top 40 Mainstream chart.

The music video for the song gained a lot of airplay on VH1 and MTV (which went up to #6 on Total Request Live). The song has become their longest running single on the Hot 100, staying on the chart for 20 weeks.
In March of 1997, Wild Orchid's self-titled debut album was released. The album peaked at #153 on the Billboard 200, #84 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart and #4 on Billboard's Heatseekers Albums chart. The album sold nearly a million units worldwide (108,000 units in the United States).
The second single from the album, "Talk to Me" peaked at #48 on the Billboard Hot 100, #85 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, staying on the chart for 10 weeks) and #31 on Billboard's Top 40 Mainstream chart.

The song became their highest chart appearance on the Hot 100 to date. The trio also made dance music chart history when it became the first single by a female group to enter Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Maxi-Singles Sales chart at #10.

After the single's success on the dance charts, it started to receive significant radio airplay. By the time the single was released commercially, the song's popularity start to fade in the United States. The single was certified Gold in South Africa and reached the Top 10 in Japan.
The third single, "Supernatural" peaked at #70 on the Billboard Hot 100. Even though the music video was a favorite on MTV and VH1, it was the least successful of the commercial singles released from the album.

On MTV, the song debuted at #10 on Total Request Live and eventually made it to #5. The song landed in various airplay and dance charts in "Billboard" Magazine.
The last single from the album, "Follow Me\I Won't Play the Fool" was remixed and sent to dance clubs across the United States. The single managed to make the top 5 on the U.S. dance chart. Wild Orchid's debut album received 2 Billboard Music Award nominations for "Talk to Me" along with 2 Soul Train "Lady of Soul" nominations: one for "Album of the Year by a Group, Band, or Duo" and one for "R&B\Soul New Artist."

The trio spent most of 1996 through 1997 promoting their debut album. They made appearances on television shows such as "Ricki Lake," "Access Hollywood," "The RuPaul Show," "Hard Copy," "Mad TV," "Soul Train," "Pat Bullard," "Caryl & Marilyn: Real Friends," "Terry Bradshaw," "Crook and Chase," "Jenny Jones," MuchMusic's "Electric Circus," and even made a guest appearance on the UPN sitcom, "Goode Behavior."

They were also frequent guest hosts on the E! network show, "The Gossip Show." Wild Orchid went on tour with 98 Degrees & 'N Sync across the United States and even did their own promotional tour in the United States, Canada, & Asia. In 1998, the trio performed at a Los Angeles AIDS benefit concert called "Divas Simply Singing" hosted by Sheryl Lee Ralph.
In September of 1998, Wild Orchid released their sophomore album, "Oxygen" which failed to make the Billboard 200 chart.
The only single released from the album, "Be Mine" peaked at #103 on Billboard's Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart. The single was heavily promoted by RCA Records which hoped that the trio would finally score a top 10 hit song, but the sales of the single were lower than expected and it received steady promotion on MTV reaching #8 on TRL.

The release of "Oxygen" coincided with Wild Orchid's stint as Guess spokespersons and models. They went on a brief promotional tour throughout the United States, continued to host "The Gossip Show" and performed "Be Mine" on the talk show, "Donny and Marie."

In September of 1998, the trio hosted the Fox Family Channel's Saturday morning show, "Great Pretenders" which featured hit songs being lip-synched by everyday kids while competing for prizes. The show lasted until 2001.

In February 1999, Wild Orchid appeared on the FOX network soap-drama, "Beverly Hills, 90210" performing the songs "Declaration" and "Come As You Are" in the episode, "Beheading St. Valentine." From June 16th to August 28, 1999, Wild Orchid opened for Cher's "Do You Believe" tour alongside Cyndi Lauper which took them to 52 cities across the United States and Canada.

During that same year, there was discussion about the group returning to the studio to record songs for a re-release of "Oxygen" due to poor sales of the original album version. A remix version of their ballad called "Come As You Are" (which was presumably re-recorded for the planned re-release of "Oxygen") was leaked on the Internet, but this version was never given an official release and a new version of the "Oxygen" album was never released.

In November of 1999, the group sang a 2-minute clip of their song "25 Days of Christmas" in Macy's Annual Thanksgiving Parade broadcast live on NBC.

Between 1999 and 2000, Wild Orchid worked on their third album, "Fire" which included several tracks co-written & produced by N'Sync's J.C. Chasez. The album was scheduled for released in the summer or fall of 2000, according to "Billboard" magazine, but the release date was pushed back to the summer of 2001.

During 2000, Stacy was spiraling downward due to an addiction to crystal meth which was fueled by a bad breakup and frustration over the group's change in musical direction towards teen dance-pop music. At one point, Stacy wrote a song about her drug use called "Losing My Ground."

When Stefanie and Renee heard the song, they staged an intervention which eventually helped Stacy get clean from her drug addiction. "Losing My Ground" was later featured on Stacy's solo album, "The Dutchess" (under her current stage name, Fergie). Renee and Stefanie were giving songwriting credit for it.

In December of 2000, Wild Orchid's song, "It's All Your Fault" was featured in the Mel Gibson film, "What Women Want," but wasn't included on the film soundtrack. The song was slated to appear on the "Fire" album.
In May of 2001, Wild Orchid released the first single from the "Fire" album called "Stuttering (Don't Say)" which managed to peak at #33 on Billboard's Top 40 Singles Sales chart. They had a concert special on MuchUSA called "Shoutback" on July 29, 2001 (but it was taped in New York City on April 8, 2001).

The girls also became models for Bongo Jeans and their advertisement was featured in the August 2001 issue of "Cosmopolitan" magazine. They co-wrote the song, "What's Good 4 The Goose" for pop girl group, Eden Crush's debut album, "Popstars." They went on a promotional tour in the United States for "Fire" between May and August of 2001 where they performed mainly in clubs and small venues with other teen pop music acts.

On May 28, 2001, Minneapolis radio station, KDWB hosted a concert which featured both Wild Orchid and hip-hop music group, The Black Eyed Peas. It was during the event that Stacy met will.i.am, spoke to him about producing her solo album, and exchanged phone numbers with him. They would later meet again several months later when their mutual friend, Dante Santiago recruited Stacy to sing on the Black Eyed Peas track, "Shut Up" from their "Elephunk" album.
Wild Orchid's anticipated 3rd album, "Fire" was scheduled to be released on June 19, 2001, but RCA Records declined to release it and by September of that same year, Wild Orchid was dropped from the label. At that point, Stacy left the group.

According to a 2006 interview with "Entertainment Weekly," Stacy revealed that both frustrations with the band's image and her personal drug issues led her to leave Wild Orchid. In 2002, Stacy joined The Black Eyed Peas and currently goes under the stage name, Fergie.
Wild Orchid continued to perform as a duo with only Renee and Stefanie between 2002 and 2003. During that same year, they released their last album, "Hypnotic" exclusively on the group's website in January of 2003. The album reportedly sold 5,000 copies online.

The trio had three concerts that year: the Key Club in Hollywood, California in March of 2003, the Los Angeles Gay Pride Festival in June of 2003, and the Lake Havasu Gay Pride Festival in November of 2003. The third concert became Wild Orchid's final concert.
On September 26, 2006, Wild Orchid's compliation album, "Talk To Me: Hits, Rarities, & Gems" was released by Sony BMG Special Products which features all previously released singles from their two studio albums along with "Stuttering (Don't Say)" from their unreleased album, "Fire" and its B-side "Lies."

Today, Fergie continues to perform with the Black Eyed Peas. In September of 2006, Fergie released her solo album, "The Dutchess" which peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200 and produced five top 5 singles, including 3 #1 Billboard Hot 100 hits such as "London Bridge," "Big Girls Don't Cry," and "Glamorous." Five singles released from the album have sold over 2 million digital downloads in the United States.

In 2004, Fergie started dating "Las Vegas" star, Josh Duhamel and they married on January 10, 2009 after dating for 5 years. She has also appeared in the movies "Be Cool," "Poseidon," and "Planet Terror."

Renee Sands is now a session singer for children's music. She provided the singing voice for Princess Fiona in the "Shrek" movies. She has provided vocals on several Disney children's albums. In 2007, Renee sang with Ruben Martinez in "Just Like We Dreamed It" which was the theme song for the 15th anniversary of Disneyland Resort Paris.

The song was released exclusively in France as a single in March of that same year. Renee has also sung in several television commercials include the song, "Pump It Up" for Crystal Light. She starred in the movie, "American Indian" in 2008, but the movie was never released.

Renee wrote the music for the song, "On Penguin Pound" which was featured on the "Sid the Science Kid Soundtrack: Volume One" in 2009. Renee provided vocals for Jasmine Richards in the Disney Channel Original Movie, "Camp Rock" for her character, Margaret "Peggy" Dupree singing the song, "Here I Am."

Stefanie Ridel is married to Geffen Records president, Ron Fair and they have 3 kids together. Between 2004 and 2005, she was the lead singer for techno-dance duo, 5th Element with DJ Rain. Their album was exclusively released on DJ Rain's website.

Stefanie is active in the music business, writing & producing music for artists such as the Pussycat Dolls, Slumber Party Girls, Girlicious, Joanna Pacitti, LaKisha Jones, Orianthi, Days Difference, Allison Iraheta, Vanessa Amorosi, Miley Cyrus, Christina Aguilera, and on Fergie's debut album.

Renee's vocals were heard on the soundtrack to the 2007 movie, "Bratz: The Movie" in which she sang the lead on two songs along with co-writing & producing many others. She also co-founded the Talent Bootcamp where she coaches young aspiring singers.

To see the music video for "At Night I Pray," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8d9M7JkbkTQ

To see the music video for "Talk To Me," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ka4z7l_cJi8

To see the music video for "Supernatural," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBARDNTfwM8

To see the music video for "Be Mine," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XI517KEg504

To see a fan-made video for "Stuttering (Don't Say)," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiOX5xPcOyc

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