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, Smith and Day reformed the group as the Nu Shooz Orchestra, which featured a more cinematic approach. The band released an album, Pandora's Box, in 2010 along with a music video titled "Spy Vs. Spy."
In 2012, the album Kung Pao Kitchen from Nu Shooz was released on June 28, which is available from CD Baby. The band continues to record and perform.
Nu Shooz is a 1980s electronic dance music group fronted by husband-and-wife duo John Smith and Valerie Day, based in Portland, Oregon.
In 1987, Nu Shooz was nominated for a Grammy award in the Best New Artist category, based on their breakthrough success the previous year. They lost to Bruce Hornsby & the Range; the other nominees that year were Glass Tiger, Simply Red and Timbuk3.