N*E*R*D is an American hip-hop, rock and pop band featuring the production duo The Neptunes (Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo) and Shay Haley.
N*E*R*D: The Early Days
Chad Hugo met Pharrell Williams at a musicians'summer camp at the age of 12. Both of them hated the camp. As children, they were also friends with Timbaland and they would all spend their free time creating beats and rhythms and performing in bands. At high school, Hugo and Williams also met Shay Haley, who would dance in Chad Hugo's garage whilst Hugo beatboxed through a speaker system.
The producer Teddy Riley signed Williams and Hugo after watching them perform at a talent show in 1992. They produced songs for a number of artists throughout the 1990s and in 2001, they formed N*E*R*D which stands for 'No one Ever Really Dies'.
N*E*R*D's debut album was released in September 2001. Entitled In Search Of., it was produced by The Neptunes and they used similar techniques to those they use on other artists. However, a second version of the album was recorded live, using real instruments, played by the rock band Spymob. The album was certified Gold in the USA and the original version of the album has now become a collector's item.
The lead track from the album, 'Lapdance', reached 36 in the Hot Rap Tracks chart in the US and 'Rock Star' reached 36 on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks. The second album from N*E*R*D was entitled Fly Or Die and was released in 2003. This time around, Williams and Hugo had taught themselves to play the instruments so that they could play the music on the album, rather than having to enlist another band again. Fly of Die fared much better than their debut album, in commercial terms. It reached number 6 on the Billboard album chart, with the debut single 'She Wants to Move' reaching the Top 5.
In 2005, N*E*R*D fell out with their record label, Virgin Records and ended the contract, resulting in the band splitting temporarily. Soon after, however, the band began recording material for a third album, using their own money and forming a new label, Star Trak Entertainment, a subsidiary of Interscope Records.
In March 2008, N*E*R*D performed at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, followed by a tour with Rihannaand Lupe Fiasco, as one of the opening acts for Kanye West's Glow in the Dark Tour. They reportedly came close to missing their show at the Isle of Wight festival off the coast of England because they didn't know where the island was. In September that year, N*E*R*D performed at the House of Blues in Chicago. They brought Bad Brains (a hardcore punk band) onstage as a special guest. The band's third album, Seeing Sounds was released in June 2008 and the second single, 'Spaz' was used in a commercial for Microsoft Zune.
In 2010, N.E.R.D announced the release of their fourth studio album entitled Nothing, which will be released on September 7, 2010. The first single from the album, "Hot-n-Fun" featuring Canadian recording artist Nelly Furtado, was released on May 18th, 2010 to iTunes.