"This is my life, these are my songs, this is my time and I'm ready," says the rising young pop star Brooke Hogan whose refreshing blend of R&B, pop, hip-hop and rock make her debut album, Undiscovered, one of the year's most eagerly-awaited new releases.
Although she's only just turned 18, Brooke brings together the seasoned and disciplined assurance of a well-versed performer with the wide-eyed exuberance and excitement of a young woman and artist coming into her own.
As the only daughter of the pro-wrestling legend Hulk Hogan, Brooke grew up in a family familiar with the absurdities of the spotlight and the responsibilities of fame.
As the first artist signed by super-producer Scott Storch (Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé, 50 Cent, Chris Brown, Christina Aguilera, Missy Elliot) in his label deal with SoBe Entertainment, Brooke Hogan is taking the next step on a musical and artistic journey that's unmistakably her own with Undiscovered.
"I have had the pleasure of producing some of the biggest artists in the music industry," says Scott Storch on the subject of his label's first signing. "Real knows real. And Brooke Hogan is the real deal. She is an accomplished musician, singer, dancer and actress, crossing four artistic disciplines, which is unheard of in the industry today. This is why I selected Brooke as the first act for my label, Storch Music Company (SMC)."
The first single from Undiscovered, "About Us" featuring Paul Wall, is a sly and knowing comeback to the perils of living in the spotlight and dealing with false media rumors. A video for the dance-flavored hip-hop track was shot in Los Angeles under the direction of Malcolm Jones and executive produced by Dave Meyers, with choreography by Hi Hat. Since the “About Us” premiere, both the single and the video have done incredibly well on the 90 million-member portal MySpace. The single has been streamed over 1,000,000 times and the video has made its way to #1, being played over 750,000 times.
Born and raised in Tampa, Florida, Brooke grew up inspired by the music that filled the Hogan home. "Our household was full of the Isley Brothers, Earth Wind & Fire, disco and Teddy Pendergrass," Brooke remembers. "My mother would play Toni Braxton, Sade, Gloria Estefan and Whitney Houston and I absorbed all of it."
When she was 5, Brooke began studying the piano, later going on to take dance lessons, voice lessons, and cheerleading classes and more. "I wasn't raised with a silver spoon," she admits with a laugh. "I was raised to be resourceful and follow through with everything I set out to do, so that's what I did."
At the age of 10, Brooke took fate -- and the Yellow Pages -- into her own hands as she circled phone numbers and began calling local talent agents. Those calls led to a modeling contract for the budding young star. "I kept telling my parents that I wanted to do this and I begged them to help me," she remembers. "So one day, I slammed the phone book down in front of them and said, 'OK, I don't know how to call these people, but I'm ready.' I think they finally realized I was serious."
She began working up to six hours a day. By the time she'd turned 15, Brooke was rapidly developing her skills as a professional singer, musician and entertainer and had landed numerous high-profile gigs including opening slots on both Hilary Duff's and the Backstreet Boys' tours and singing at Radio Disney's "Jingle Jam" seasonal spectacular.
She recorded her first single, "Everything To Me," in 2004. According to SoundScan, "Everything To Me," peaked at #1 twice ( 9/19/04 & 10/10/04 ) on the Top Single Sales chart. While the track showcased Brooke's multiple influences -- running the gamut from Stevie Wonder to Pink -- it was Brooke's sparkling vocals, effervescent charm, ingénue appeal and undeniable musicality that drove the song to the top of the charts.
That same year, 2004, VH1 broke records when it premiered "Inside (Out): Hulk Hogan Stage Dad," an hour long portrait of family life at the Hogan's. The success of that special led to "Hogan Knows Best," a reality series that chronicles the Hogan's adventures. Brooke's rise to superstardom, under the watchful eye of a loving, but strong willed dad, proved one of the most popular storylines on the show , which delivered the highest ratings in VH1 network history, reaching nearly 90 million viewers per episode.
Shortly after the premiere of her VH1 series, Brooke met producer Scott Storch following a performance at a Miami hot spot. "Scott was waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs and said he would like me to record a song of his," she says. "I was on cloud nine."
Storch continued to work with Brooke on new songs and, increasingly inspired by the results, wound up working with her for four months in Miami on what would eventually become Undiscovered . "It was amazing to finally find someone who believed in what I was doing and what I knew was really right for me," she says. "I can see that his heart is in it."
With several songs written by Brooke herself, Undiscovered reveals the heart and essence of the artist who says, "I'm all about having fun and I'm not afraid to try new things. I love this music. It's a dream come true. I worked hard for this. When people hear the album, they will know that I've worked my butt to the bone. I sang all the vocals, all of the harmonies, I played piano and we didn't use Auto-Tune for any of the tracks. This is me, it represents who I am and it's the album that I really wanted to make."
Produced by Scott Storch, Brooke's urban/pop/dance collection features collaborations with some of the top names in contemporary music including Paul Wall (on the album's infectious lead single, "About Us"), Nelly Furtado, Beenie Man and Cam'ron, as well as rapper Jazze Pha.
"I grew up listening to soul music, so I'm all about a groove that you can move your hips to," Brooke offers. "It's sexy and it's fun. I think once people see my personality come through, they will understand what I'm trying to accomplish."
As she begins filming the third season of "Hogan Knows Best," with her debut album ready for release, Brooke Hogan is keeping everything in perspective. "I'm a normal, teen-aged girl and I'm doing what makes me happy," she says. "I bet if you met me, we'd probably be friends."
With the release of Undiscovered , Brooke Hogan, and her fan, are about to head out on a fresh new musical journey together.