When 17-year-old Nicole (the Wray didn’t get added onto her stage name until later in her career) made her debut with still-new but hot Missy Elliot and another Timbaland/Missy protégé by the name of Mocha, she made a pretty big splash.  For someone so young, the singer had a smoky voice that could get into the upper registers and a stage style that left room for her to grow as a woman without sexing her up to much.  In fact, her entire debut album managed to make her sound mature without crossing the line into a realm of worldliness that she wasn’t ready for.  She should have gone far.

But, like a lot of artists, Nicole was done a disservice by the tracks that were released as singles; they just didn’t do her or her album justice.  The follow-up single to this, I Can’t See, seemed like a rehash of singles released by artist Lil’ Mo at the time (she was also a Timbaland/Missy protégé) and Eyes Better Not Wander, which was a favorite among album purchasers, was released too late to make any radio impact.

The singer has never stopped working, though, and she continued to put out music, even if the albums ended up being filed away.  She switched to songwriting after a while and found success there. Last we heard from her, she was teamed up with friend and songwriting partner Terry Walker to form the duo Lady, which released their self-titled album back in 2013.  It was actually a solid release, though it was given very little US airplay thanks to its British origins.  Don’t cry for her, though; one of the people that she wrote songs for Adele.

 

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