Nicole Wray (born Nicole Monique Wray on July 1, 1981), is an American singer, rapper, songwriter, dancer, and actress. Wray was born in Salinas, California, and raised in Portsmouth, Virginia. Wray first rose to fame in late 1990s when she sang on rapper and music producer Missy Elliott's debut album, Supa Dupa Fly. In August 1998, Nicole released her debut album, Make It Hot. The album featured the top ten single Make It Hot. In 2000, Nicole started working on another album, Elektric Blue. The album featured the sultry ballad, I'm Lookin'. In 2002, Wray left Elektra/The Goldmind Inc. and later in 2003 signed to Roc-A-Fella Records.
In 2004, Wray release a single, If I Was Your Girlfriend. In 2006, Wray appeared in the underground film, State Property 2. In 2009, Wray's sophomore album "Ms. America" is to released in 2010.
In 1997, Nicole appeared on Elliott's debut album, Supa Dupa Fly. After appearing on the track Gettaway, Nicole worked with producers including Missy Elliott, Brian Alexander Morgan, and Timbaland on her first album. During the summer of 1998, Nicole released her first album, Make It Hot. The album's first single was Make It Hot, received excellent airplay. The album's second single I Can't See did not receive the success as the first single. In 1999, Nicole released the third single, Eyes Better Not Wander. Later that year, Wray appeared on Missy Elliott's second album Da Real World, on her second single, All N My Grill. Soon after, Wray announced that she would be getting back into the studio to work on her sophomore album. In 2000, Nicole finished working her album entitled Elektric Blue, although its release date was pushed to 2001. A promotion single called Bangin' was released to build a buzz for the album. In 2001, Nicole released the first single from the album, I'm Lookin'. In late 2001, Elektric Blue was cancelled due to label problems. Shortly after the album's cancellation, Wray and Elliott ended their business relationship, however they both confirmed that the deal ended on good terms. In 2002, Pam & Dodi re-recorded Don't Have To, from Elektric Blue, and release the song as the lead single of their self-titled album.
Without Missy's Guidance
In 2003, Nicole signed to Roc-A-Fella Records. Later that year, Wray teamed up with Dirt McGirt to release the single Welcome Home. In 2004, Wray was placed with the Dame Dash Music Group label to begin working on another album. In November 2004, Wray released her single, If I Was Your Girlfriend. The single built a buzz for the upcoming release of the album titled Lovechild. In late 2004, Wray released another single, Regrets, whiched featured Jay-Z. The album was scheduled to be released in February, but was pushed back to April. Due a feuding between Dame and Jay-Z, all Roc-A-Fella artists were moved to Def Jam and the album was never released.
In 2006, Cam'ron and Nicole release a single entitled Do Your Thing, which received excellent airplay. Later that year, Wray made an appearance on Cam'ron's album Killa Season, in a track called Love My Life which featured Nicole Wray. The song later became a single but failed to build a buzz. Soon after, Nicole announced that she signed to a new record company, Family Over Everything/A.Fam Entertainment and the upcoming of another album. In 2007, Wray released her mixtape InDepenDance Day. The mixtape also annouced her upcoming album. In late 2007, Wray left Family Over Everything/A.Fam Entertainment.
New Solo Projects
Between the time of December and January, Nicole was signed to Boss Up and Greenlight Records, but had quickly left the label. On January 3, 2008, Wray released a buzz single Stand Up, which received excellent airplay and built a buzz for her upcoming album, Ms. America. In June 2009, the lead single "I Like It". "Ms. America" was pushed back and is set to be released sometime in 2010.
In 2012, Nicole teamed up with fellow soulstress Terri Walker to form retro-soul duo Lady. They were signed to Truth & Soul Records and their self-titled debut album was released on March 5, 2013.
Music and Voice
Wray has cited various artists who influenced her music. She grew up listening to songs of Mary J. Blige and Aaliyah, the latter with whom she eventually collaborated with. She also cites influences from Chaka Khan, Rza, Shirley Caesar, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday.
Wray is contralto and has demonstrated her voice in her first album. Wray has also proven to focus her voice through another vocal range known as mezzo-soprano. In addition, Wray's music is predominantly considered contemporary R&B, but has also included many touches of dance-pop, hip-hop, and soul.
Since the release of album in 1998, Wray has wrote many songs. She written songs for artists like Kenny Wray, Trina Broussard, Myrtis Wray and Lil' Nikki. Nicole and her brother Kenny Wray, also write songs together. Wray has written or co-written all of her songs except but the album Make It Hot. Wray also composed several beats for her songs like "Raise Your Frown" and "Don't Have To".
During her time with Roc-A-Fella, Wray was given the new title of, "The First Lady at Roc" and "Betty Boo". Deejays also gave her the title, "The Original Princess of Roc-A-Fella/The First Lady of Dipset". In 2007, Aftermath producer and The Aphilliates referred to Nicole as "Billie Holiday of the Streetz". Close friends of Wray, refer to her as Nikki Wray.
In 2004, Wray appeared at the Hip-Hop Summit Race To The Polls. In November 2006, Nicole opened up the 13th Living Legends Foundation with the Nation Anthem. Many other artists made appearances like Monica, Fantasia Barrino, and Jay-Z. Since that time, Wray served as a client for Renown Records. Wray has appeared in cover of King, Baby Phat, and Smooth Magazine.
* 1998: Make It Hot
* 2001: Elektric Blue
* 2005: Lovechild
* 2010: Ms. America
* 2007: InDepenDance Day: Volume One The Takeover
* 2008: Mattress Music R&B
* 2008: Who's The King Volume Five
1998: Make It Hot (ft Mocha and Missy)
1998: I Can't See (ft Mocha and Cam'ron)
1999: Eyes Better Not Wander
1999: All N My Grill (Missy ft Nicole and Big Boi)
1999: I Like Control (Dj Clue ft Mocha, Nicole, and Missy)
2000: Bangin' (ft Prodigy
2001: I'm Lookin'
2002: Don't Have To (with Pam & Dodi)
2003: Welcome Home (with Dirt Mcgirt)
2004: If I Was Your Girlfriend
2004: Regrets (ft Jay-Z)
2005: Can't Get Out of the Game (ft Beanie Sigel)
2006: Do Your Thing (Cam'ron ft Nicole)
2006: Love My Life (Cam'ron ft Nicole)
2006: Dear Father
2008: Stand Up
2008: Dice Roll (ft Young Fell)
2009: I Like It
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