GIG: PRODUCER-SONGWRITER, HALF OF THE NEPTUNES AND ONE-THIRD OF N.E.R.D.
RESIDENCE: VIRGINIA BEACH, VA.
He’s a hip-hop phenom with a playboy rep (he’s been linked with a string of models). But when it comes to pha-ever, chart-topper Pharrell Williams has privately set his cap for a “plain” woman. “Ideally she’s somebody who’s doing something for society—a teacher, a doctor or a professor,” he says of his dream missus. “I don’t want to be with a girl because she’s gorgeous. That’s not going to hold me at night and that’s definitely not going to be the girl who’ll pass me the popcorn while we’re watching Discovery Channel.” School chum Chad Hugo, Williams’s writing and producing partner on over 150 songs (including Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” and Justin Timberlake‘s “Like I Love You”), pokes more holes in the bad-boy pose. “He’s always working and trying to improve himself. He’s looking for someone he can take care of and who’ll take care of him at the same time.”
GIG: HOOBASTANK LEAD SINGER
RESIDENCE: WOODLAND HILLS, CALIF.
He’s recently single after ending a two-year relationship, but not the one that inspired him to write this summer’s heartbreak hit “The Reason,” says Robb, who’s biding his time. “I’m definitely not in ‘Man, I’ve got to go out and start finding chicks’ mode,” he says. Raised by his Japanese mom and American dad in “a Samurai- like household, all about dignity and respect,” Robb has a tough time acting tough. “I bought a totally custom, dope Harley Davidson and realized that’s not really me,” admits Robb, who recently traded it in for a sleeker hog. “But I still get stare-downs from other Harley riders because I’m the guy riding with the full helmet and high-top Adidas.”
GIG: COUNTRY SINGER
So much for living the feel-so-low-I-can’t-see-up life of a country singer. Bentley’s debut CD went gold, the Academy of Country Music named him Top New Artist in May, and he lives on a houseboat with his Spitz-mix dog Jake “and a refrigerator full of beer. I’m living out every single guy’s fantasy,” he says. Someday he’d like to share the fantasy—he won’t date a woman unless he thinks he’ll marry her—but till then he makes sure his manager books him at least 200 days a year. “I measure the time I’m home by hours, not days,” he says. “I’m having so much fun, it wouldn’t be fair to someone right now to be married.”
GIG: JAZZ SAX PLAYER
RESIDENCE: BEVERLY HILLS
Playing weddings is a rite of passage for struggling musicians, but “a little part of me died every time,” says Koz, who only recently came out publicly. “You realized what you feel is not acceptable to the mainstream.” Now, encouraged by the gay-marriage revolution, he says, “I’m kicking myself, wishing I had come out sooner.” Of course, finding a partner is tough when you’re playing 75 concerts a year and hosting two radio shows. (He co-owns a record label too.) But he’s determined: “Nothing would make me happier than being able to pledge my commitment to a partner the way I’ve seen it happen for so many other couples. Why not?”
HEIGHT: 6 FT.
RESIDENCE: NEW YORK CITY.
Discovered by a Calvin Klein exec looking for their next poster boy at a Jane’s Addiction concert, the U.K.-born, U.S.-raised Jelen—who plays piano, guitar and violin—scored a record deal instead. “He heard my demo,” says Jelen, “and the next day we were in the studio. He’s now my manager.” Jelen’s CD Give It All Away came out in April, about the time he says Madonna gave him some career advice. “She said, ‘Enjoy this, but make it last.’ ” He’s not about to spend lavishly says ex-girlfriend Isabell Jacobson, who inspired Jelen’s long-distance love song “She’ll Hear You.” “Bert’s definitely a minimalist. He won’t take a girl out to restaurants or buy her fancy jewelry. When he gives you something, it’s from the heart.” Jelen is a self-proclaimed “dork” with a wild-streak. “This girl was like, ‘Let’s go streaking in Central Park,’ “he says. “So I went. It was a good way to get to know someone.”