Nivea Hamilton, 24 March 1982, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. This multi-talented urban diva broke into the US charts in late 2002 with the highly catchy Dont Mess With My Man. Nivea followed the typical route to success of American soul singers, performing with her local church choir from an early age. Inspired to pop stardom by seeing Mariah Carey perform on television, the teenage Nivea began singing on a professional basis and before long had hired a manager and begun shopping her material around local producers. Her impressive demo CD came to the attention of the influential Jive Records, and led to her signing a recording contract before she had reached the age of 18.
Nivea made her recording debut in late 2000 as a featured vocalist on rapper Mystikals hit single Danger, and completed work on her self-titled debut album shortly afterwards. Although the album featured a number of soul-styled tracks written and produced by R. Kelly, in the main the material tended to opt for a harder-edged hip-hop sound. The album was originally released in Australia in 2001, but its US issue was delayed for over a year, by which time the track listing had been altered and some songs re-recorded. Nivea achieved a belated commercial breakthrough in her homeland when Dont Mess With My Man, featuring Brian and Brandon Casey from Jagged Edge, broke into the Top 10 in December.
Sessions for the singers new album took place over the following two years, with R. Kelly and Jermaine Dupri hired to help provide suitable material. The first product to emerge was the single Okay. Featuring a cameo vocal from the king of crunk Lil Jon, the single shot up the US charts at the start of 2005.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.