In April 1985 Valerie Day, John Smith, and their band NU SHOOZ, released the five-song EP ‘Tha’s Right!’. Acting on a dare from a local music writer, Gary Bryan of Portland Oregon’s KKRZ put the song “I Can’t Wait” on the air. Listener reaction was strong and immediate- the kind of response known in radio jargon as ‘Instant Phones.’
But this was no overnight sensation. By the time the whole world heard about the Soul band from Oregon, they’d spent seven years onstage, four hours a night, four or five nights a week. So, when their spotlight moment came, the Shooz could get up and play.
By the end of the year “I Can’t Wait” was a regional hit. But the song really took off when it was remixed by Dutch DJ Pieder Slaghuis. Atlantic Records signed the band in January 1986. “I Can’t Wait” eventually reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. Other hits followed.
NU SHOOZ was nominated for a ‘Best New Artist’ Grammy and earned a Gold record for the album ‘Poolside. Their signature hit “I Can’t Wait’ still plays
somewhere on Earth every eleven minutes. The band has been featured on MTV, VH1, and classic music shows like American Bandstand, Solid Gold, and
the U.K.’s Top-of-the-Pops. They’ve toured with some of the biggest names in show business including Tina Turner, Billy Ocean, Morris Day, and the Pointer
Since the 80’s, Valerie Day and John Smith have had a wide-ranging musical journey. Day has been performing with her jazz quartet and created “Brain
Chemistry for Lovers,” a multimedia show that explores the neuroscience of Romantic Love. Smith is a working composer and arranger, scoring indie films and hundreds of commercials. He’s also been posting a graphic novel on the web, a tale of mutant genetics called ‘EVOLUTIONLab’.
In the summer of 2006, NuShooz went back into the studio to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their signature hit “I Can't Wait.” The session produced “I Can't Wait – Unplugged,” an acoustic version of the song with jazz instrumentation and a decidedly laid-back vibe. It came out so good they decided to make a whole album with the same line-up. The result was “Pandora's Box,” a giant leap away from dance-floor pop into the worlds of Film Noir, 60s Spy Movies, and even Tarzan.
The ten-member group includes vibes, upright bass, strings, horns, and percussion, all in service of Valerie Day's supple vocals, and John Smith's mad-scientist approach to arranging.
NuShooz Orchestra continues into the future as a laboratory for sonic exploration. As Valerie said, “We couldn't find the music we wanted to listen to so we had to make it ourselves.”
And the journey continues.