To command the undivided attention of Brooke Hogan has proved a difficult task. This is not so much the fault of her being the 18-year-old celebutante offspring of Hulk and his wife, Linda — though TVGuide.com concedes this factoid may play a small role, considering the former wrestling champion of the world is more than happy to pile-drive anyone who looks the wrong way at his "Brooketini" — nor is her designated role as the all-American beauty on the family's VH1 reality series Hogan Knows Best, which returns for the second half of Season 3 on Sunday, Jan. 7. In truth, her high-octave vocals and flawless piano-playing are the true culprits. Since the release of her debut album, Undiscovered, in October, Hogan has become a cross-country traveler under the guise of a mini-tour to promote the disc and its chart-topping first single, "About Us," a club-singed rapper's delight featuring Southern rhyme master Paul Wall. With his only daughter on the road and heavily entrenched in the music business, there's now an entirely new set of stresses for Papa Hogan to contend with, including floating blunts, razor-sharp grills and mutating Paris Hiltons.
"Everyone thinks you need to take green tea or energy pills [to stay up] and then sleeping pills [to come back down], and I don't do anything,"Hogan stresses as she sips a cup of coffee during a 20-minute car ride to the airport, where she will board a flight for Memphis. "If you leave your body to naturally handle the stresses, it will. God made your body to be a mechanism to defend itself."
Ironically, the 5-foot-11 bombshell's biggest musical contributor on Undiscovered is someone who worships the chronic almost as much as Snoop Dogg: überproducer Scott Storch, whose beats are heard on tracks from artists such as Dr. Dre, Justin Timberlake, 50 Cent and Christina Aguilera, and who is the founding father behind Hogan's label, Sobe Entertainment/SMC (Storch Music Company). One has to wonder if Hogan and Storch's respective creative outlets of choice ever conflicted in the studio.
"Absolutely not," assures the songstress. "My dad would sit in the room the entire time that I was recording so no one ever offered me anything [like that], because they were afraid of my dad." Later she adds: "I'm personally not a fan of it. I believe that you have that creativity deep down inside of you, and you don't need the drugs to bring it out."
Hogan's Undiscovered is proof that not every hit requires a synthetic high — good ol' fashioned talent and hard work are suitable substitutes. "I'm definitely happy with the album," she excitedly shares. "When I first stepped into the studio, the best advice I got from someone was to not record everything over and over again, because when you do that you loose a piece of originality every time. When I step back and review it all, I'm proud and wouldn't change a thing." The second single off Undiscovered is a ballad entitled "For a Moment," set to hit shelves this winter.
From an early age, Hogan's parents made it a point to instill in her and younger brother Nick (age 16) guidelines that allowed them to inherit a strong sense of self as well as implant a defining moral compass (not to mention establishing a strong radar for posers). "I don't make friends with everyone I meet immediately. I have to really get to know someone before I'm willing to call him/her 'friend' and trust them," she explains. And what about trying late-night clubbing as sport alongside title champs Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton? "When I'm not working, I am either passed out on my bed because I am so exhausted, or sitting at home, watching television and eating cereal."
Still, Hogan confesses to certain perks now that she has emerged as a talent in her own right. "I love the gold-plated grill that Paul Wall gave me. It's in my jewelry box [at home in Miami], because I now have braces behind my teeth, and it doesn't fit right," she sighs.
"The coolest thing [to have happened] was when my mom and dad surprised me and I met Stevie Wonder! Once I realized it was really him I began to bawl because I kiss the ground that Mr. Wonder walks on," she says, adding that she modeled her own voice after the legendary Grammy winner, and often plays her favorite Wonder song — "Ribbon in the Sky" — on her piano.
She also holds the honor of being the first FHM cover girl to be under 21 years of age. "A lot of people ask, 'What did your dad think?'" she says with a laugh as she recounts her tame (albeit va-va-va-voom) poses. "I wasn't on a bed in lingerie. I wore a bathing suit, and everyone in the whole world wears bathing suits. If you look at the pages of Vogue, you'll see girls modeling bathing suits with their legs spread wide open and stuff. I didn't do anything like that. My biggest enhancements [for that November cover] involved my body bronzed with shimmer lotion, and makeup on my face."
With the new year upon us, is there anything Hogan resolves to achieve in 2007? "Score a platinum record."
And maybe record a "Ribbon in the Sky" duet with Stevie?
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