No Doubt leading woman and eclectic artist Gwen Stefani may be dropping some new material sooner than expected. With her recent role on NBC’s The Voice, Stefani is stepping back into the spotlight as a solo act. It has been some time since we heard any new material from the 45 year-old singer. Disregarding her reunion album and tour with No Doubt, solo-act Stefani has been exploring different avenues of entertainment, fashion, and motherhood. Now that she is off tour and back in the primetime public eye, Stefani is gearing up to take over the charts once again with a follow-up to her Sweet Escape project and dropping new material sooner than fans expected.
According to Stefani’s manager Irving Azoff, she has currently been back and forth from a studio in Miami working on some new tracks for her upcoming solo project with collaborator Pharrell Williams and Diplo. The project is expected for release in December with a surprise performance of her lead single during the latest season of NBC’s The Voice. Azoff let the figurative bomb drop during a panel at New York’s Advertising Week. The news comes as a sweet surprise for fanboys and girls as her manager also let it be known that the album was already in its final stages. Considering that Stefani reached monumental notoriety with her Pharrell-produced Hollaback Girl, this next album could be just what Stefani needs to reclaim her place on the charts as a dance and pop artist.
It has been over eight years since her sophomore solo album. Following the release of her multi-platinum solo debut Love.Angel.Music.Baby., the second project did not reach the same monumental success. Her first project spawned several chart-placing singles. The lead single What You Waiting For? was the first dose of a new sound and style from the blonde singer. The single was fast-paced, dance, and electronic-drastic difference from her reggae,rock, and grunge sound from No Doubt. The following singles Rich Girl (featuring Eve), Hollaback Girl, and Rich were the albums most recognizable and chart-placing singles. If it was not for the collaboration with Pharrell and the Neptunes on HollaBack Girl, it may not have been the success that it was. The single was the first digital single to reach platinum status and helped everyone correctly spell B-A-N-A-N-A-S.
Stefani’s success with Love.Angel.Music.Baby. was followed with a different sound and look for her 2006 sophomore project. Teaming with producers The Neptunes, Perry, Akon, Kanal, and Tim Rice, Stefani headed towards a more hardcore electro, dance floor sound that was a further change from her previous work. The lead single Wind It Up was a heavy-hitting, eardrum pounding single that demanded listeners to head to the dance floor or quickly press skip on their playlist. It was not well received by critics or listeners. The single was one of her least successful to place on the charts. The following title track was a sweet relief from the yodeling monotony of Wind It Up. Akon’s melody and the catchy hook made for a successful endeavor.
Following the success of her two projects, she continued to perform on a solo tour and explore other avenues of notoriety. Her fashion line L.A.M.B. is still a top-selling brand. In 2004, Stefani made an appearance in the Oscar-nominated movie The Aviator. In 2006, she also made an appearance as a mentor on American Idol and another appearance as a recurring judge on The Voice. Alongside Pharrell Williams, it was only a matter of time before Gwen Stefani made an earlier than expected debut of her next solo project. Hopefully with Pharrell’s guidance, Stefani will return to the sound that made her first solo endeavor such a success.
By Tyler Cole