Song from Legally Blonde Perfect Day

The first pop star has been off the net for nearly two decades, but her hit still makes us feel like we`re living in a movie. There were a lot of ultimatums about what I should do on camera, what I should do behind the scenes. « If you think Britney [Spears] and Christina [Aguilera] didn`t do everything we`re asking you to do to get to the top, you`re wrong. If you want your song to be played on the radio, then it`s better to follow what the radio people will say what you have to do. And then, predictably, these radio people thought they could get away with anything. When [they] sat in the air on the chair next to you. You have not stood up to such people. And certainly not at 18, 19, 20, 21. It just wasn`t something I had the power to do when these people controlled my entire career.

So I felt that my only option at this point, not wanting to meet some of their demands, was to leave. MC: You alluded to the fact that two albums you were supposed to make don`t materialize. You got that shot and you kind of disappeared from the net. Many people wonder what you`ve done in the last 20 years. H: I think my perfect day would be waking up to the sound of birds chirping in Hawaii, jumping into the ocean and probably having a really tasty brunch somewhere. I am a person who loves simple pleasures. I want to have my family with me. I like to spend time alone, so maybe I`ll have some time for myself, but at the end of the day, I want to end the day with my family and friends. This is probably my discreet version. In the end, I released five songs and the EP. The rest of the songs are half finished somewhere on someone`s hard drive. And I just got used to motherhood.

I now have my three children – they are 12, 10 and seven years old. I just enjoyed all the life that anonymity and motherhood bring. Rachel Epstein is a writer at Marie Claire, where she writes and edits cultural, political and lifestyle stories ranging from editorials to profiles to ambitious packages. She also runs the site`s virtual book club, #ReadWithMC. Offline, she probably watches a heat game, finds a new coffee, or analyzes her cousin`s birth chart, in no particular order. I also love being able to do something that brings joy to so many people. My husband always says, « How would you feel if your favorite childhood artist released a new album? You`d be so excited. You should do it. My kids say, « Yes, Mom. Do it. It made me think more.

And I certainly have enough material. I just need to figure out how to navigate all of this these days. Twenty years later, « Perfect Day » continues to be the song that makes us feel like anything is possible. And at that moment, Hoku believed in it too. Looking at the rest of the film with goosebumps, she realized that « Perfect Day » resonated with a broader message that Legally Blonde was sending to women — that we deserve to be ourselves without excuse, and when it comes to doing what we want, if we want to, well, nothing will stand in our way. In the end, I wrote songs behind the scenes. I made some session recordings. I`ve sung for commercials and random things like that where you wouldn`t know it was Hoku. Then I worked with a friend of mine. In the end, I started writing a little more music. It was kind of an Alicia Keys, Maroon Five vibe.

My whole dream and vision was that I would come back in that direction. I recorded the beginning of an album. I had a whole bunch of other songs ready to record. I opened for Gwen Stefani in Hawaii. I felt that momentum accelerate for me to get another recording contract. But then I got pregnant with my first child, my daughter. At that moment, I thought, I think I`m just going to bow again. I just wanted to be super present for my kids. H: I would like to. I make cameos and I hear people say, « This song got me through my childhood when I was struggling with my identity as a gay person. » « This song was a song that my best friend and I blew upstairs at the volume, with the windows down when I had just received my driver`s license. » I get these really cool stories about how my music was part of people`s lives. There`s a part of me that wants to step back and go: You know what? Let`s live the legend of Hoku. Let nostalgia be nostalgia.

I don`t want to go in and tarnish people`s memories. Because I really appreciate the role I`ve been able to play in the lives of all these people. Marie Claire: You can`t talk about the 20th anniversary of Legally Blonde without talking about your iconic song « Perfect Day ». How does it feel to know that it is still as popular as it was 20 years ago? H: This song was written by the girl who wrote all my songs at the time, Antonina [Armato]. (I think I wrote a song on my debut album Hoku.) It was a time in pop music history when it wasn`t really made for an untested artist to be allowed to write one of his songs. Even though I was a songwriter at the beginning of my pop career, there was no interest in my music and what I found. I think that`s something I could have done in the second or third album if it had happened. When Hoku (born Hoku Ho) attended the premiere of Legally Blonde in 2001, the energy was magnetic. The red carpet was filled with stars who were about to become household names (Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Coolidge) and the 20-year-old singer was about to see her song « Perfect Day » in the film`s opening sequence.

As soon as Witherspoon`s swinging blonde hair appeared and the song started playing (« Sun`s up / It`s a little after twelve / Make breakfast for myself / Leave the work for someone else ») – keyword hairbrush (« People say / They dis-le`s just a phase ») and French manicure (« They tell me to play my age ») and a look at the Tiffany & Co. bracelet (« Well, I am! « ) – The theatre bursts with jubilation. « Perfect Day » was supposed to be the first single from my second album. The company that produced the film was under the same roof as my record company. Or they bought the rights or something. Basically, Interscope/Geffen Records bought the rights to the Legally Blonde soundtrack. I was the one they were really promoting at the time, so they got this song « Perfect Day » and said, « Hey, this is going to be the new single from their next album. Let`s put it on this movie. It was always called « Oh, that little movie called Legal Blonde. » No one had a clue what was going to happen.

H: It`s so funny to me because I`m like, « You guys, you don`t know the struggle to keep our underwear from showing up, always putting our long, flared jeans in puddles. It was a different time in history, but hey, it`s so much fun to see it all come back! But despite the great success of the film (and the song), Hoku left the music industry soon after. Here, the singer talks about the making of « Perfect Day » (including what it was like to work with Witherspoon on the music video!), why she just came out of the net when her star went up, and whether or not she will make music again. MC: Both versions (which will open in a new tab) of the music video contain scenes from the movie you`re replaying. How was the creation of the video? H: Yes! I can pretty much live a normal life, except I probably order something from Starbucks once a month and someone says, « Hoku? What, Hoku, Hoku? Like `Perfect Day`? Every time I come after that, they say, « Hi Hoku, oh my God. » Then they put my music on.