Nicole Scherzinger, whose No. 1 U.K. single "Don't Hold Your Breath" was released in the United States on Aug. 16, says she has not yet found the song she will sing when it comes time to perform on Fox's "The X Factor" this fall. What she does know, however, is that it has to be one of the strongest songs on her solo debut album.
"If it were up to me I would be performing every week," Scherzinger told Billboard.biz Thursday (Aug. 18) after performing "Don't Hold Your Breath" on "Regis and Kelly." "I have to make sure to have the right song (for 'X Factor'). It has to be a song that people will love. I'm judging a show where the prize is $5 million. The bar is raised. I know what I'm looking for and I'm going to make something special. My idea for the presentation is to throw everything into it. It's full throttle."
Interscope will release her U.S. solo debut, "Killer Love," in November, most likely in the middle of the month when Scherzinger will have judged two or three live "X Factor" shows. She has already recorded more than 40 songs to be considered for her solo album, but insists that it "will not be finished until the very last minute. I don't know if I will ever feel like I have finished the album."
The second single, "Don't Hold Your Breath," written by Josh Alexander, Billy Steinberg and Toby Gad, was Scherzinger's first record to debut at No. 1 spot on the U.K. National Chart. The mid-tempo dance number also hit No. 1 on both the Combined Singles Chart and Digital Download Chart while the video has been watched more than 18.8 million times on Vevo.
It follows "Right There" (featuring 50 Cent), which hit No. 3 in the U.K. in May, the same position her "Poison" hit late last year. The U.S. has been a different story, where Scherzinger has yet to have success as a solo artist: "Right There" hit No. 39 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 17 on the Pop Songs chart. Her singles in 2007, "Whatever U Like," (featuring T.I.) and "Baby Love" (featuring will.i.am), did not reach the top 40, which played a role in stalling her solo career.
"I recorded a ton of songs five years ago for the album 'Her Name is Nicole' that was never released," she says. "Honestly, people wanted to see the Pussycat Dolls perform and another Pussycat Dolls album at the time."
She is looking to change that perception with the album and TV show, allowing that with "Pussycat Dolls it just naturally happens that people put you in a box. With 'X Factor' I get to come out. I'm not just a girl loosening up the buttons on my blouse."
Scherzinger joined the Pussycat Dolls in 2003, less than two yeas after splitting from Eden's Crush, the girl group she was in after winning the "Popstars" competition on the WB network. After leaving PCD in 2009, she was a judge for two seasons on the a cappella singing competition show "The Sing-Off" on NBC.
The combination of "X Factor" and "Killer Love" are being counted on to cast Scherzinger in a different light with the public and she believes songs about heartbreak will distinguish her from more light-hearted acts such as Katy Perry and Ke$ha. Moving the release date to November from the original summer plan coincides smartly with her new job as judge alongside Simon Cowell, "L.A." Reid and Paula Abdul on "X Factor."
It has also given her more time to collaborate with producers and songwriters such as RedOne, Jim Jonsin, Tricky Stewart, Stargate and Esther Dean. And she's not finished.
"The album title is 'Killer Love' because it's based on torturous love," she says. "A lot of the music comes from heartbreak, something a lot of people can relate to. Everything on the album has to do with relationships and with love. They have to have meaning to me. (The ballad) 'AmenJena' is the most personal, most vulnerable, most intimate song I have ever written. I want to share a whole other side of me. … It's a lot deeper than Pussycat Dolls."