Gwen Stefani is cruising right along on her first solo album. In
a post on No Doubt's Web site, Stefani says she has more than 16 songs prepared for the effort — which she refers to as "my dance record" — and that she hopes to release a single this summer.
Stefani has been working on the disc, which has been reported to be titled What You Waiting For? (see "For The Record: Quick News On Gwen Stefani, Scott Weiland, 50 Cent, Lollapalooza, Kanye West, & More"), for the better part of a year. Her collaborators include Outkast, Missy Elliott, the Neptunes, Rancid's Tim Armstrong, Linda Perry and hitmaking production team the Matrix.
Late last year, Stefani said that she became overwhelmed with the responsibility of not only coming up with words and melodies — her duties in No Doubt — but also steering the ship and making all the songwriting and arrangements calls herself (see "Gwen Stefani Turns To Bandmate For Aid After Freak-Out").
"It has been really challenging, but over the last few weeks I have been able to turn a corner," she writes in a journal entry posted Monday. "It is starting to feel like a record and I can see it coming together. I have loads of ideas and tricks up my sleeve so watch out. I'm scared for you."
She recently finished three tracks with producer Dallas Austin
(Madonna, Pink, TLC) in Atlanta, and plans to apply the finishing touches to two more with Austin in Los Angeles this week.
In addition, No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal, whom Stefani credits with helping her get back on track after she began to feel overwhelmed, is also working with her on a song that she describes as a "mixture of everything we loved growing up: Prince, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam and Club Nouveau." Clearly, the record is looking to be a significant departure for Stefani.
"I think the album will sound totally different than her No Doubt stuff," Outkast's Andre 3000 told MTV News last year (see "Gwen Stefani Works On Solo LP With Outkast, Missy Elliott"). He
and Big Boi said the tracks they had submitted were "some of the strangest stuff" they could send her, just to encourage Stefani along the road not usually taken, and noted that their contributions might not make the final cut.
While she has already reconvened with producer Nellee Hooper (Björk, Madonna, Sinead O'Connor) and Eurythmics' Dave Stewart, both of whom collaborated with No Doubt on the band's Rock Steady disc, Stefani is also slated to work with R&B singer Anthony Hamilton.
In between work on her solo debut and appearances with No Doubt, Stefani filmed a brief appearance as actress Jean Harlow in Martin Scorsese's Howard Hughes biopic "The Aviator" (see "Gwen Stefani To Play The Original Platinum Blonde In Martin Scorsese Flick").