Black Eyed Peas First Female Lead Kim Hill Talks Quitting & Being Replaced By Fergie
Fergie’s vocals still ring strong on Black Eyed Peas hits like “Imma Be” and “Where Is the Love?”. But before Fergie, singer Kim Hill was the leading lady of the group, that featured will.i.am, apl.de.ap & Taboo in the mid 90s.
In a New York Times op-doc titled “I Quit The Black Eyed Peas. Then They Became Famous.”, Kim Hill dished on serving as the female vocalist before the group reached major heights. She said she left after new management pressured her to be oversexualized.
“There was new management now, so it’s a whole different set of expectations and pressure. It just started to get clumsy and messy. You want me to grind on Will.i.am in a bathing suit? That was being asked of me, never by the guys. That was happening from an executive level.”
“The tug of war was about my sexuality and how much of that I was willing to like, literally strip down. I never wanted to be objectified while doing my music. ‘Where’s your voice? Where are you?’”
She continued and said while she believed the group had the responsibility to progress the then evolving movement of hip hop, those outside urged the group to be more mainstream.
“The pressure started coming to, like, soften it up and make it super-commercial. [I] was like, ‘We’re not really going to do that, are we?’ And the guys were like, ‘You don’t have to go back to East L.A. if this doesn’t work out.’”
So, she said she did what was best for her, and left the group to launch her own solo career.
Before Fergie, the group actually thought about replacing Kim Hill with Nicole Scherzinger, who later became the lead vocalist in girl group The Pussycat Dolls.
But as we all know, Fergie filled that spot in 2002, and the group went on to become major trendsetting powerhouses that has won six Grammy Awards and sold millions of records. They released major singles like “Imma Be” and “Pump It” and “Where Is The Love?”
Despite the shaky past, Hill said she has no ill will toward the group, including Fergie.
“No one handed them anything. They worked their a**es off. They deserve it.”
“She’s never done anything to me. She didn’t take anything from me. What I do feel like is if we ever met it would be like an embrace with a hug and a deep breath because I think we just kind of know something about being that female in that construct, and that is — it’s tough.”