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(Read all about Nu Shooz after the video)
Nu Shooz is an American freestyle/R&B group fronted by husband-and-wife team of John Smith and Valerie Day, based in Portland, Oregon. The Shooz released four albums in the U.S. during the 1980s. Their third album, Poolside, brought the group's sound to a wider audience.
Nu Shooz formed in 1979 in a lineup that originally featured 12 members. This incarnation of the group released its debut album, Can't Turn It Off, in 1982. Although the album saw limited success, the band continued on, paring its lineup down to seven members over the next several years.
Nu Shooz originally released the single "I Can't Wait" in Portland in April 1985 on Poolside Records. The original recording was done at Cascade Recording in Portland in the fall of 1984 and was also featured on the band's sparsely distributed second album, Tha's Right, in 1985. "I Can't Wait" was a big hit on Portland radio stations at the time, but they were turned down by every major label. A copy of the song made it to the Netherlands, where it was remixed by Peter Slaghuis. This version is known as the 'Dutch Mix.' The remix came back into the United States as an import on Dutch label Injection Records. It was this version that got the attention of Atlantic Records, which signed the band to a contract in January 1986.
Nu Shooz scored two major pop/R&B/dance hits. "I Can't Wait" climbed to #2 on the R&B charts and #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in June 1986 and spent 15 weeks in the Top 40, and it also hit #1 on the Hot Dance Club Play chart earlier that year. Its follow-up, "Point of No Return," was remixed by Shep Pettibone and also topped the dance chart in September 1986; the song peaked at #28 on the Hot 100 and #35 on the R&B charts. Both singles were on the album Poolside, which charted on Billboard's 200 chart at #27, and sold a half million copies in the U.S., garnering gold record RIAA certification on October 2, 1986.
In 1987, Nu Shooz was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best New Artist category, based on its breakthrough success the previous year. The group lost to Bruce Hornsby & the Range; the other nominees that year were Glass Tiger, Simply Red, and Timbuk3. In 1988, the band released the album Told U So, which had its final chart entries to date: "Should I Say Yes?" hit #17 on the R&B charts and #41 on the Hot 100, while the track "Are You Lookin' For Somebody Nu" topped out at #2 on the dance charts. The album itself peaked on the Billboard 200 to #93 and was only an overall success in the urban market. "Time Will Tell" was supposed to be the first single from the third album for Atlantic, which was titled Eat & Run, but the album was never released.
In 2007, Nu Shooz was inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame. Also that year Smith and Day formed a spin-off band called Nu Shooz Orchestra with a sound they called "Jazz-Pop-Cinema". They released one album, Pandora's Box, in 2010 along with music videos for the songs "Spy vs Spy," (directed by Mike Wellins) and "Right Before My Eyes" (animated by Smith and Day’s son Malcolm Smith.) The following year "I Can't Wait" was sampled in the hit song "Buzzin'" by Mann.
In 2012, the band released Kung Pao Kitchen, a return to their 80's roots. A year later they put the live group back together for the first time in 20 years and joined the 80's era tour Super Freestyle Explosion. A cover of "I Can't Wait", performed by Icona Pop and produced by Questlove, was used in a 2015 series of Target commercials.
Nu Shooz continues to record and perform.