Brooke Hogan is exploding these days! The eighteen year old daughter of wrestling mega-icon Hulk Hogan, Brooke has been professionally singing and dancing for years and this past month has been climbing the charts with her hit single, "About Us" featuring Paul Wall. Her album Undiscovered drops on October 24th and offers up an eclectic combination of Pop, Hip Hop and R&B sounds to reflect the influence of the Miami studio where Brooke recorded her debut album in conjunction with the brilliant producing of Scott Storch. When I caught up with Brooke, she was busy doing radio interviews and filming the third season of VH1's hit reality show, Hogan Knows Best.
We talk about what it's like having Hulk Hogan for a father, Brooke's experiences in recording her album, Undiscovered, the dynamic of the Hogan family and balancing fame with being a teenager
PR.com (Allison Kugel): What's a typical day like for you in promoting your new album, Undiscovered? What are you up to today and what are you doing to promote your first album's release?
Brooke Hogan: I've been going to every radio station in America and we personally deliver the song to the radio station (her first single, "About Us"). We say, "Hi." We shake hands and make friends and stuff, and we see if they like the record and then they play the record (laughs) Doing shows here and there but mostly just interviews with radio.
PR.com: So you go in there, you do a couple minutes of interview and then they play the single
Brooke Hogan: Right.
PR.com: Is SoBe Entertainment an independent label?
Brooke Hogan: Yes it is and that's the label I'm signed with.
PR.com: And I know that you have other musical abilities besides singing, you studied piano
Brooke Hogan: Piano, guitar and I'm really into dance, actually. I can do every kind of dance! I've done ballet, tap, jazz, belly dancing, Hawaiian dance, ballroom, salsa, hip hop everything.
PR.com: Is there going to be heavy dance performance in your music videos?
Brooke Hogan: Every music video, I'm dancing in. Unless it's a ballad, I'm definitely going to be dancing (laughs)! I'll bug the hell out of people who don't let me dance!
PR.com: I saw little bits of the first music video you shot, because the Hogan Knows Best cameras were there during the shoot. I only saw little bits of it. What kind of dance will be in that video?
Brooke Hogan: It's that urban, hip hop flare. The girl that choreographed it, her name is High Hat, and she did all of Missy Elliot's and Sierra's videos. She's cool.
PR.com: How did you hook up with super producer, Scott Storch, and with Paul Wall?
Brooke Hogan: It was a funny story actually. I was in The Hit Factory in Miami and we were recording, and Paul Wall was in the studio next door to us. He heard that Hulk Hogan was next door and he was a big Hulk Hogan fan, so he came over. And this whole time I was taking a break. So I was at the vending machines talking to other people who were at the studio; Fergie (from The Black Eyed Peas) was there that night. P. Diddy was there. So I was talking to everybody else, being totally star struck. I was actually outside of the studio. Meanwhile Paul Wall and my dad are talking about wrestling and laughing and stuff and Scott Storch was in there on the beat for "About Us." Paul was like, "Man, who is this singing, and what is this song?" He goes, "That's a really hot beat!" And my dad says, "That's my daughter." So he goes, "No kidding! Yo, can I be on it?!" (laughs) So he started writing the song on his sidekick, and when I walked back in to record again, Paul Wall was recording in the booth, on my song. I was like, "You gotta be kidding me!" Audio Clip
PR.com: That's funny! I can't imagine the song without him. And I love the opening!
Brooke Hogan: Yeah it's cool. (Imitating herself) "What it do, Paul Wall?" I remember they told me to say that and I was like, what? How do I say it??
PR.com: It's very sexy! It's perfect!
Brooke Hogan: Thank you!
PR.com: And Scott Storch is one of the biggest producers in popular music right now. What makes his producing style so unique and so sought after?
Brooke Hogan: I actually asked him about that myself. I was like, "How do you do that and become so famous and such a big producer?" And Scott Storch really has a huge background in music. He can play the piano like Beethoven. He's really amazing. He knows everything about music and how to play each instrument. He's insane! He's a genius! But he said, "Even though I have this huge musical background, the key to having a hit song is keeping it simple, so the public can remember it and learn it quickly and stuff." So he just keeps the beat really simple, like Paul Wall, there was just the baseline and then there was (she recites the sound for me). It was just enough to be catchy.
PR.com: Explain exactly what a producer is. When you say that somebody produced a song or produced a beat a producer goes into the studio with a recording artist, what exactly does the producer do?
Brooke Hogan: A producer first makes the beat, makes the song, gets the writers on it, puts the song together makes sure there's the beat, the music, the lyrics, everything's all taken care of. Then you walk in and he sits there with you and he kind of directs you on how to sing the song. Like, "Oh, we want a little bit of a soft part on this lyric, so sing it softer." He just kind of critiques the whole song and makes it his picture. So, you pretty much paint his masterpiece. Audio Clip
PR.com: I didn't even know that. I thought that the producer just does the beat.
Brooke Hogan: No, no, no. He makes the beats and then he'll sit there and we go through the whole song together and he'll sit there all night. So we go through the whole song together and his writers will be in there and you know, they picture how the song is supposed to sound. 'Cause if you think about it, the producer, first he made the music and now he's kind of making a song. So he's telling the artist, "This is what this song needs to make it how I pictured it."
PR.com: Cool! I learned something just now! I know you moved to Miami recently. Tell me about the music scene in Miami, versus L.A. and New York
Brooke Hogan: L.A. and New York I feel like are kind of getting washed up, in the music part. New York I think is more for, like, the modeling and fashion and publicity and stuff it's great for that. L.A. is good for, more like, rock music. Certain places have different things. Like Atlanta and Miami do all the hip hop stuff. And even Atlanta does a different flavor of Hip Hop then Miami does. And then New York and L.A. do more of the pop/rock stuff. That's what I've learned because I've done both kinds of music.
PR.com: On your album, is it all that combination of Pop, R&B and Hip Hop?
Brooke Hogan: It's a combination of Pop and Hip Hop all put together. Scott [Storch] got really creative with it and he took flavors from everywhere. When I walked into the studio the first time with him, [he asked me] what are your influences and stuff? And I said that I grew up on Funk and Hip Hop, you know? My mom played me The Isley Brothers and Stevie Wonder and so I just said that I want a little bit of that kind of flavor to it. If you listen to all the songs, the bridge sounds like something The Isley Brothers would have done back in the day and it's really cool.
PR.com: Did you get an opportunity to write any of your own lyrics or did you work with songwriters?
Brooke Hogan: Yeah. At the beginning I didn't get to write that much because we were on a really pressed time schedule, but once we found out we had more time, Scott was like, "Well, you know, we have a couple more songs on the album that we need to get done. Do you want to write to them?" So I was like, "Hell yeah!" I've been writing ever since I was little.
PR.com: What did you write about?
Brooke Hogan: I wrote about, you know, typical things that girls go through, like relationships. How I've actually had a couple friends that have gone through it too, you know, like one-sided love
Brooke Hogan: You know, you do everything for this guy and he doesn't do anything for you! (laughs)
PR.com: Oh God! I have to teach you a couple things! (laughs)
Brooke Hogan: (Laughs) And you know, about having a party and having to want to have a good time with life and approaching a guy and giving him your number and just everything, you know?
PR.com: The things that eighteen year olds go through, right?
Brooke Hogan: Exactly!
PR.com: I remember those days! People probably look at someone like you and say, "She's eighteen and she has her whole life ahead of her. She's successful, she's got it made." But people don't realize how hard it is to be a teenager and how something like being in love with a guy who doesn't treat you well can be the most devastating thing in the world.
Brooke Hogan: It's really hard to be a teenager and then throwing the music business on top of it, I can see how some of these teenagers get really messed up, you know? Some of these child stars that just get really, really messed up in the head and get really jaded. Thank god I have my parents behind me all the way and I have been raised in this business, so it's kind of like second nature to me. But just being a teenager and having to also work. I want days that I can go to the movies with my friends, but instead I have to go to the studio every night; and I want to be able to wake up and go to the gym and see my friends and go to the beach, but I have to film a TV show (VH1's "Hogan Knows Best"). So those critical years where you want to branch out and become your own person I'm stuck staying at home working. There's good and bad sides to all of it, but the show was definitely a blessing but you have to definitely be an adult. There's no going back to being a kid.
PR.com: It's funny because every time I watch your show, I see this look of genuine torment on your father's face, like he's about to just like, have a heart attack! (laughs)
Brooke Hogan: (Laughs) Right. Well, I'm a pretty good girl. I think it's my brother that you see that face over, 'cause my brother's a wild child and he doesn't really have a job yet and he's not in the music business or anything. He's racing cars for Dodge, but that's, like, a once a month thing. So he gets most of the time to just mess around. And even VH1, his parts that he needs to do, the time of filming that he has is nothing compared to what me and my family have to do. He's wild and free in Miami.
PR.com: But you're daddy's little girl and you could tell that he's so nervous about what's going to happen with boyfriends and what's gonna happen with your career and if you're gonna be ok and happy. You know what I mean? You can see it on his face all the time!
Brooke Hogan: I know, my poor dad. But we're making it through. I think now he's not as worried because I am eighteen and he realizes that I have a good head on my shoulders. I haven't done anything stupid yet.
PR.com: Has he loosened the reigns a little bit with dating?
Brooke Hogan: Yeah, definitely. It was funny because, you know, parents sometimes like when you're a kid, parents tell you that Santa Claus is real and, oh my gosh, if you say a bad word, that's the end of your life, you know? (laughs) And my dad, up until I was eighteen, always made me think that he was this overprotective kind of guy. And it was for good reason because there were a lot of snakes out there trying to get me. But he was a little bit more overprotective than normal, than he really naturally is. So when I turned eighteen, he was like, "You know what Brooke, I want you to know that I am a human being and I'm a real person and I want you to go out on dates and stuff. I don't want to keep you sheltered your whole life." He's like, "Now that you're eighteen, you can come and go as you please. I believe that I raised you the right way, and you can do whatever you want now." I kind of looked at him like, "What?!" (laughs) I was kind of like a deer in the headlights. I didn't know what to say. Audio Clip
PR.com: (Laughs) A leap of faith!
Brooke Hogan: I still stay close to the hip. I stay close to home. I don't really go out that much because I'm working all the time. So it's kind of like an upside for them, 'cause I'm constantly working so I can't really come and go as I please.
PR.com: I read something really funny, so I have to ask you about it that your dad threw Aaron Carter (brother of Backstreet Boy, Nick Carter, and star of the E! Network Reality Show, "House of Carters") out of your house?
Brooke Hogan: Oh yeah! [Aaron] tried to date me and my dad kind of saw right through him and he was like, "No dude. You are definitely not hanging out here." But Aaron's a really cool kid. Aaron's really, really nice and he's a really cool guy.
PR.com: So he came to your house to try to take you out?
Brooke Hogan: Yeah, we met at an airport and we started hanging out and stuff, and when he came over to my house, my dad was like, "Absolutely not!" Audio Clip
PR.com: Whose idea was the reality show, Hogan Knows Best? Was that conceived by you or your dad or ?
Brooke Hogan: It was actually VH1's idea. They came to us first after they heard I was in the music business and I was trying to make it in music and my dad was my dad. They were like, "Oh man, it'd be so cool to do a one hour special on you guys!" So we did the one hour special and it ended up being the highest rated special that they ever had on VH1. So they said, "Let's do a reality show!" And we said yes.
PR.com: When I was telling my brother that I was going to be speaking with you, he just totally hit the ceiling. He was like, "Oh my God, Hulk Hogan is my hero! I grew up with him! I watched him all the time!" He said, "You have to tell Brooke that your brother David loves her father so much." So I had to tell you that.
Brooke Hogan: Oh yeah! I'll definitely tell him then.
PR.com: By the way, you guys are the blondest family I've ever seen in my life!
Brooke Hogan: I know.
PR.com: Are you natural blondes?
Brooke Hogan: Me and my dad are dish water blondes and my mom and my brother are towhead blondes. We are natural! We are natural blondes! We just kind of enhance it. Nick's (Brooke's brother) the only one who doesn't touch his hair.
PR.com: And you guys were home-schooled when you were growing up?
Brooke Hogan: Well, we went to grade school. Me and my brother did half of high school. We did half of high school because right in the middle of high school is when our careers started taking off. Nick, he was in about tenth grade and he started racing, and when I was in about tenth grade, I started singing.
PR.com: Your album, Undiscovered, it has two different release dates. When you say it gets released digitally in September, is that through iTunes?
Brooke Hogan: On iTunes on September 26th you can buy the album. If you want a sneak peak and you don't care about the pictures inside the album and you just want the music. So that's iTunes on the 26th of September. And then the actual album with all the pictures and lyrics and merchandise pages and stuff, comes out on October 24th.
PR.com: The single "About Us," is that on the radio now?
Brooke Hogan: Yes. It's on most radio stations around America and it's doing really well actually. It's climbing the charts and so is the video, so I'm excited!
PR.com: I know that your single, "About Us" was downloaded 1 million times on your MySpace page. What does that do for you as far as album sales? What are the positive results of that?
Brooke Hogan: After seeing the kids' movement and their action what people don't know is that record labels and business executives watch all of that action and they see what's going on. So when you do need your song to be played at a radio station or when you do need your video to be played on MTV, they'll look at it and say, "Do people like her?" And they'll look at the action. That's how it works.
Shortly after our interview, Brooke's video for "About Us" was number 1 on VH1's music video countdown. You can vote for Brooke Hogan's "About Us" at VH1.com.
PR.com: And you guys are currently filming the third season of Hogan Knows Best? You and your family?
Brooke Hogan: Yup. [The new season starts in] October, right when the album comes out.
PR.com: That's a big month for you!
Brooke Hogan: Yeah, and on top of it, FHM Magazine, I did a photo shoot for FHM, a little racy but we kept it tasteful. I didn't do anything racy but it's a racy magazine. I have the cover for FHM coming out in November.
PR.com: Cool. Brooke looking hot on the November cover of FHM!
Brooke Hogan: (Laughs)