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, DJ 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 World heard about the Soul band from Oregon, they’d already 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 and has been recorded or sampled by everyone from Vanessa Williams (Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis’s “Happiness”), to the Mann and 50 Cent “Buzzin’ Remix. 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, The Time, and the Pointer
Since the 80’s, Valerie Day and John Smith have had a wide-ranging musical journey. Day has been singing jazz 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.
In 2012 the band released KUNG PAO KITCHEN, a collection of unreleased studio recordings made during the late 80's and early 90's. The album features guest appearances by James Brown's legendary sax man Maceo Parker, and Jazz Fusion star Jeff Lorber.
The following summer NU SHOOZ was invited to be a part of the FREESTYLE EXPLOSION TOUR, along with other hit 80’s acts LISA LISA, EXPOSE’, STACEY Q, and PRETTY POISON. The tour was a tremendous success and brought the sounds of the 80’s to a whole new audience. This led to the reforming of the NU SHOOZ live band in 2014 and their first shows in over 25 years.
NU SHOOZ 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.