UPDATE: A spokesperson for Fergie tells Billboard that reports of her split with the Black Eyed Peas are not accurate. “Fergie is still in the Black Eyed Peas and has an enormous amount of love for her brothers,” said the spokesperson. “However, she’s currently focusing on her solo record in partnership with BMG and she’s incredibly excited for her fans to hear her new music.”
The Black Eyed Peas seemingly bid farewell to their leading lady on Thursday (June 1) when leader Will.i.am appeared to announce Fergie’s departure from the group in a statement.
“Since the beginning of Black Eyed Peas, we’ve always had amazing vocalists that appeared on the mic with us,” he explained. “People like Macy Gray, Esthero, Debi Nova, Fergie. On Elephunk, there were several females that appeared on that album. Obviously Fergie was the featured female, but on songs like ‘Let’s Get it Started,’ it’s Noelle [Scaggs], and then Fergie, songs like ‘Latin Girls,’ it’s Debi Nova, and ‘Request Line,’ it’s Macy Gray. We’ll always work with good females.”
However, the BEP frontman stated that they aren’t replacing their longtime bandmate, who he also noted was busy with her next solo album (see update above). “She’s working on her solo project at the moment, we’re on this brand-new experience, celebrating 20 years of Black Eyed Peas putting out music,” said Will. “We worked on a bunch of songs on her solo record, we’re proud that she has her label, but Black Eyed Peas are pushing it forward in terms of content, technology and experiences on our new [graphic novel] project, Masters of the Sun — The Zombie Chronicles.”
Over the last 6 months rumors have been circling around her departure from the crew with the news about a new solo album serving at the nail in the coffin. Fergie recently launched her own record label Dutchess Music, and plans to release her project, Double Dutchess, this summer.
Fergie released her solo debut, The Dutchess, in 2006, which featured extensive production from Will.i.am and was released on his A&M Records-affiliated label. Aside from Will, Apl.de.app and Taboo — who have been with the group since 1995 — Fergie, who joined in 2002, is the second-longest tenured member at 15 years, appearing on four out of their six albums. She joined the group in time to work on what became their chart breakthrough, 2003’s Elephunk, which featured the No. 8 Hot 100 hit “Where is the Love?” and the Grammy-winning “Let’s Get it Started.”
Nicole Scherzinger’s name has been thrown into the mix as an alleged addition to the group, but will.i.am would only confirm her as a guest on the next Black Eyed Peas project.
This article originally appeared on Vibe.