At 9am on a Thursday, Fergie is nothing if not chatty.
It’s a sweltering day towards the end of May when the Black Eyed Peas vocalist and the new face of Pringles takes our call from her temporary home: the Morning View Studios. The studio and living facility is situated inside a mansion on a secluded estate in Malibu, just a block away from the ocean. There, she recorded parts of her debut album The Dutchess more than nine years ago, and there, she’s doing a photo shoot for Pringles’ summer fun/music campaign (a new Pringles karaoke kit that transforms any Pringles can into a working microphone plus speaker goes on sale in the region in October) and polishing off her second solo record.
“I’m back here because it was such a good vibe,” she said.
At the time of our call, she was “wrapping up the album” and had had to move out of her house — one she shares with actor husband Josh Duhamel and their toddler, Axl Jack — in order to pour all of her energy into music without the usual disruptions.
“I just needed to really focus from morning ‘til night on finishing this album. It’s so hard when you’re in the house, to be hearing your child — it’s really distracting,” the 40-year-old admitted. “I wanted to go on location, not too far from home, just to really finish this up.”
On the upcoming record, which she says will be a contemporary version of her last studio effort, she’s competing with 2006 Fergie, who went triple platinum and rocketed up the charts with three No 1 hits, released virtually in a row: London Bridges, Big Girls Don’t Cry and Glamorous.
Though she was part of the Black Eyed Peas’ 2010 album, and though she put out a solo single off her unreleased record dubbed LA Love (La La) just last year, it’s been a while since the singer’s showcased what she’s capable of on her own. But nearly two years since the birth of her son, she’s ready to remind us, telling tabloid! all about her affinity for mixing genres and what’s been keeping her busy.
What’s your day at the studio looking like so far?
We’re here today, we’re going to do this photo shoot with these special limited edition cans that I did with Pringles and Nick [van Hofwegen] — his [art project] name is Young & Sick — and we did, I believe, four different colours of these cans. He did this artwork that’s amazing, and I got to collaborate with him, and his artwork is just so in tune with what I’ve been doing with the LA Love (La La). He has eyes everywhere, it’s very trippy and very colourful. And he’s a musician as well, a very good musician. We just totally connected on an art level, so to design these beautiful cans and to promote these karaoke sets [Pringles are] doing, we’re doing this photo shoot at this studio house that’s overlooking the ocean. So it’s all about this summer vibe and summer fun.
What’s the one karaoke song you always have to do?
I have a random one. It’s Don’t be Cruel by Bobby Brown. I’ve always loved to sing and riff and he’s one of the first ones who did that, that I like, so you get to show off your rapping and your singing skills.
This campaign is all about the summer. Are you more of a winter or a summer person?
I would definitely say, growing up in California, a summer person. Absolutely. I love beautiful, clear blue waters, which you guys have a lot of [in Dubai]. I love to be outside, being in the pool. Feeling the sand on my feet. There’s something about the water that inspires me.
What’s your favourite Pringles flavor?
For summer, I like Salt and Vinegar. It goes with a nice cold [drink], or something carbonated, and it has some tang to it.
You also mentioned working on your album right now. What stage are you at with it? People have been waiting for it for a while now.
I know! I would’ve liked to have been done at the beginning of the year — I’ve just been so particular on the details. I’m very detail-oriented, and I’m on the finishing touches of it. I’m so proud of it and excited for people to hear everything I’m going to give. Everything. It’s something that I spent a lot of time, energy and love into. I’m really putting everything into it. It’s going to be done very soon. Like I said, I moved out of my house to make sure that I was finishing it.
Is there a projected release date?
No exact date, but I’m getting all my visuals together right now as we speak and recording finishing touches. Very exciting.
It’s been about nine years since the debut. In terms of the sound, is it going to be a complete departure from the Fergie that we know?
Not a departure at all, but definitely a modern version of what you know. I went on two tours with the Peas, since my last solo album, all over the world. And, you know, dove into the electro scene, but coming from a hip-hop pop origins, and bringing some of my love of rock and reggae. So, very much a cornucopia of music. It’s the 2015 version of me.
Any collaborations on the record in terms of artists or producers?
Definitely producers I’ve been working with. Will.i.am, Mike Will Made It, Toby Gad, that’s just to start. As far as collaborations, there’s a few but they’re a surprise. I like to keep tricks up my sleeve. But I can’t wait to come back [to Dubai]. First of all, Emirates is my favourite airlines in the world. And I had my honeymoon in the Maldives, and we stopped over at the Atlantis on the way to get there, and had dinner there, had this amazing mezza, just a huge mezza spread — it’s one of my favourite meals in the world. I got [to see] this huge 30 ft [9 metre] — I think it’s 30 ft, it might be bigger — aquarium, which blew my mind. It’s so gorgeous. I can’t wait for Axl to see that. He’ll be blown away.
Does that mean we can expect you back here once the album is out?