The pop machine can be cut-throat and brutal. While Britney, Christina, Jessica and Mandy led the female pack of the pop music landscape of the early 2000’s, there were a few young ladies who were gunning for some of the same exposure and success. If you study close enough, you’ll notice that every major record label wanted some part of that success. Jive, RCA, Epic and Columbia had the key stakeholders. Arista, Island, Maverick, Lava, Interscope and even Virgin tried to find a way to fit in. What came of these record deals were intriguing pop songs that didn’t always pique the interest of the public the way the record label executives probably wish they had.
Let’s take a look back in pop music history…
Mikaila – So in Love With Two, Island Records
Full disclosure: I still listen to Mikaila’s debut album Mikaila. The album definitely had potential and I was impressed upon learning that she was only 13 when she released this album under Island Records. The album came and went without much of a splash and she left the entertainment industry shortly after. So In Love With Two was the first and most successful single. The record has hints of R&B laced throughout the length of the album. It was a tragedy of underrated proportions. PSA: Emotional deserved its moment as a brilliant pop single.
Brooke Allison – The Kiss Off (Goodbye), Virgin Records
Fun fact: Brooke Allison was in Beach Girl 5 (the pop supergroup that was doomed to fail after Kris Jenner decided to manage them). Prior to BG5, Brooke tried her luck as a solo pop act. The Kiss Off (Goodbye) was heavily promoted by AOL, as it interpolates the sign-off message that was made famous by AOL itself in the early 00’s. Unfortunately, the album was not as impressive as her counterpart’s and she did not achieve much success even though being signed to label heavyweight, Virgin Records.
Amanda – Everybody Doesn’t, Maverick
Every record label attempted to create a massive pop star. Amanda was Maverick’s attempt. In the early 00’s Maverick was home to Madonna. Amanda’s debut album, Everybody Doesn’t, featured the title track and debut single Everybody Doesn’t. It was her first and only single to date, peaking at #81. Her sister was a member of girl group Play. Amanda played a heavy hand in writing and producing for them.
Ashley Ballard – Hottie, Atlantic Records
I was pretty upset when Ashley Ballard’s debut album Get In The Booth was shelved, as I truly enjoyed her debut single Hottie and the snippets of other album tracks promised upon the album’s release. The song received airplay and charted on the US Billboard charts peaking at number twenty-five. Hottie even sold over 100,000 copies worldwide. Ashley has since appeared on TV and released some music independently in the early 10’s.
Cherie – I’m Ready, Lava Records
I remember AOL heavily promoting Cherie in 2004. I’m Ready was supposed to be a HUGE hit. She was tailored to be a massive success. I’m Ready peaked at 99 on the Billboard Charts, which is a shame because the song is a good pop song, and she’s also a talented vocalist.
Joy Enriquez – Tell Me How You Feel, Arista Records
Joy Enriquez attempted to break through the pack in the pop world by infusing her music with her heritage. Along with Arista Record’s support, Joy released her first single, the R&B infused Tell Me How You Feel. The minor hit wasn’t enough to pull her ahead of the pack. The self-titled album wasn’t the consistent album it needed to be, and not even the Beyoncé penned song What Do You Want could create the buzz it needed. The talent was certainly there, tough.
Hoku – Another Dumb Blonde, Interscope
Though Another Dumb Blonde did become a minor hit, a successful follow-up did not happen. Her self-titled debut itself didn’t do much on the charts though being pleasant enough. Aside from her brief moment of pop music comeback glory with Perfect Day (of Legally Blonde fame), Hoku has all but disappeared from the entertainment industry.