Archive for the ‘biography’ Category

2010 Biography

October 11, 2010

It’s not often you can truthfully say this of a singer, but here it is:
Gabrielle is unique. She’s unique as an artist, with that instantly familiar shimmery voice and those tender-tough lyrics and way of phrasing that makes every song feel deeply intimate. And she’s unique as a “star,” in the sense of having achieved a great deal without becoming an in-your-face, look-at-me “celebrity.”

Gabrielle’s career got off to an incredible start in 1993 when she broke the record for the highest chart debut by a female with the single ‘Dreams’ (it went in at 2, before rising to Number 1). A 23-year-old club singer from Brockley, South London, she was the archetypal outsider: she didn’t possess the sort of belting voice you’d expect of an R&B vocalist, and she was self-conscious about a childhood injury that left her with a drooping eyelid. “There were so many other girls with better voices and a hell of a lot skinnier than me that I thought I had no chance,” she says now. Turning flaws into virtues was the trick. An eyepatch made her visually striking and the voice made her distinctive – and her differences contributed to her becoming Britain’s most successful soul singer. It’s why the likes of musicians like Daft Punk and Talvin Singh have chosen to remix her work.

Despite taking a few years off in between albums, Gabrielle incredibly returns to greater success. In an industry where longevity is becoming increasingly rare, the hits have been unstoppable: ‘Give Me A Little More Time’, ‘If You Ever’, ‘When A Woman’, ‘Out Of Reach’. And then there are the albums; the triple platinum ‘Gabrielle’ and the quadruple platinum ‘Rise’ and ‘Dreams Can Come True’. It’s no surprise this success has seen Gabrielle pick up a few awards over the years. Brit Awards for Best Newcomer and Best Female Vocalist, MOBOs for Best Single and Best Album and in 2008 she was awarded an Ivor Novello for Best Song Collection.

It’s seventeen years since ‘Dreams,’ a span that has seen Gabrielle outlive dozens of pretenders to her soul-queen throne and it’s time for another Gabrielle Album. Currently recording in the studio and very excited about embarking on a new sound and adventure Gabrielle says ” I can’t wait to get back out there, the last live shows I did were as Al Green’s special guest, it’s time I got back on stage again, it’s what I know and it’s what I love!! ” This will be Gabrielle’s 6th studio album and will be well worth the wait.

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Biography

December 1, 2007

It’s not often you can truthfully say this of a singer, but here it is:
Gabrielle is unique. She’s unique as an artist, with that instantly familiar shimmery voice and those tender-tough lyrics and way of phrasing that makes every song feel deeply intimate. And she’s unique as a “star,” in the sense of having achieved a great deal without becoming an in-your-face, look-at-me “celebrity.”

Gabrielle’s career got off to an incredible start in 1993 when she broke the record for the highest chart debut by a female with the single ‘Dreams’ (it went in at 2, before rising to Number 1). A 23-year-old club singer from Brockley, South London, she was the archetypal outsider: she didn’t possess the sort of belting voice you’d expect of an R&B vocalist, and she was self-conscious about a childhood injury that left her with a drooping eyelid. “There were so many other girls with better voices and a hell of a lot skinnier than me that I thought I had no chance,” she says now. Turning flaws into virtues was the trick. An eyepatch made her visually striking and the voice made her distinctive – and her differences contributed to her becoming Britain’s most successful soul singer. It’s why the likes of musicians like Daft Punk and Talvin Singh have chosen to remix her work.

Despite taking a few years off in between albums, Gabrielle incredibly returns to greater success. In an industry where longevity is becoming increasingly rare, the hits have been unstoppable: ‘Give Me A Little More Time’, ‘If You Ever’, ‘When A Woman’, ‘Out Of Reach’. And then there are the albums; the triple platinum ‘Gabrielle’ and the quadruple platinum ‘Rise’ and ‘Dreams Can Come True’. It’s no surprise this success has seen Gabrielle pick up a few awards over the years. Brit Awards for Best Newcomer and Best Female Vocalist, MOBOs for Best Single and Best Album and in 2008 she was awarded an Ivor Novello for Best Song Collection.

It’s seventeen years since ‘Dreams,’ a span that has seen Gabrielle outlive dozens of pretenders to her soul-queen throne and it’s time for another Gabrielle Album. Currently recording in the studio and very excited about embarking on a new sound and adventure Gabrielle says ” I can’t wait to get back out there, the last live shows I did were as Al Green’s special guest, it’s time I got back on stage again, it’s what I know and it’s what I love!! ” This will be Gabrielle’s 6th studio album and will be well worth the wait.

Biography

October 11, 2007
Unperturbed by the misery guts dinner lady, Gabrielle kept up the music after leaving school, but in distinctly unglamorous circumstances. Doing temp work by day in the Lord Chancellor’s office, she performed unpaid in various West End night clubs, until someone she knew lent her the money to record a demo. The resulting track, ‘Dreams,’ which relied on a sample of Tracy Chapman’s ‘Fast Car’, gained attention from execs at Go! Beat, such that by 1992 Gabrielle put the ink on her first recording contract.
‘Dreams’ was rerecorded and released in the early summer of 1993, with the Chapman sample removed, and the girl with the eye-patch had a stunning debut single on her hands – the song broke the record at the time for highest chart debut, entering at number two and landing the number one shortly after.
Further single success followed in October that same year, in the shape of ‘Going Nowhere’, which again reached the UK top ten. Likewise, her debut album ‘Find Your Way’ was released that month, and reached number nine, selling a million copies globally. The deluge of good news was then capped with her winning the BRIT best newcomer award.
Her second self-titled album in 1996, with production from the Boilerhouse Boys, Gabrielle continued to build on her early successes. The hit singles flowed, most notable of which would have to be the Motown-ish classic, ‘Give Me a Little More Time’, and she had by now become the poster-girl for modern British soul music. However, as the stellar successes of her career were only just starting to sink in, domestic life for the singer took a horrific turn for the worse.
Her ex-partner Tony Antoniou, the father of her son, went on trial in Nottingham for the murder of his step-father, just two days before Christmas in 1995 (stabbing him and then beheading him with a samurai sword). The resultant media coverage of the 1997 trial could not have been more unwelcome for the singer, not least because of the knowledge that Jordan would eventually need to know the full story. Gabrielle has stated that thanks largely to what happened, she has not been able to trust men since, and in fifteen years has not had a meaningful long-term relationship. Reasoning that she simply does not have room in her life to be a successful singer, a good mother and someone’s romantic partner, Gabrielle has denied herself the option of enjoying the latter option.
All of which is ironic considering that so much of her oeuvre consists of uplifting love songs. The 2000 release of album ‘Rise’ felt like something of a watershed moment – drawing on the pain and turmoil of the events in her personal life, Gabrielle’s declaration in the lyrics to the title song said it all: ‘I’m ready to rise again.’ And rise the album did, hitting the number one sales position. Furthermore, that particular title track sampled Dylan’s ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door’, and upon hearing the song the Bobster was said to be very pleased with it and for the first time ever, granted the sample clearance – surely the music industry’s equivalent of a Royal Seal of Approval? Furthermore single ‘Out of Reach’ was effectively the theme song of chick flick ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’, and clearly the female singleton market was a big one!
‘Play to Win’ (2004) did not manage to emulate her earlier album successes, and by Gabrielle’s own admission, ‘…it bombed – we couldn’t get radio play at all, and that can make or break you.’ She decided then to take time out of her music career to devote a bit more time to being a mum. Having tried to strike a healthy balance between work and life, and having relied heavily on the support of her mum, she felt that Jordan probably needed his own mum around a bit more.
She was ready to return by 2007 however, and in the shape of ‘Always’ Gabrielle appears to have recaptured the sounds that will elicit that much-needed airplay. First single ‘Why’ relied upon a sample of Paul Weller’s ‘Wild Wood’, and the Modfather himself popped into the studio to record some acoustic guitar and backing vocals for the track (despite this, it failed to break the top forty). Whatever the sales though, the album is largely themed around women who stay strong whatever hand they are dealt, and given Gabrielle’s turbulent past, and unlikely attributes for a music star, this is certainly a theme she is amply-qualified to sing about.

Biography : Rise 2000

June 22, 2000

Few, if any, British female artists stand for as much as Gabrielle. In musical terms, she’s an award winning female singer-songwriter whose maiden single debuted at number one: a talent who finds it easy to marry the musical styles that have influenced her into a separate, distinctly accessible hybrid. And she’s a Black British artist who has been accepted by the mainstream without losing the fans who made her first release an underground anthem.

Gabrielle’s return with the appropriately titled ‘Rise’ follows a difficult time for her personally and creatively. The widely publicised reports concerning her ex-partner’s criminal conviction threatened to overshadow her musical accomplishments [which on the basis of just two albums gave her two Brits, a MOBO and an American Music Award] not to mention her creative potential. But as her music attests – full as it is of optimism, romanticism, devotion and a keen survival instinct – you can’t keep a good woman down.

‘Rise’ has re-established Gabrielle as one of the UK’s most successful singer / songwriters. Both the single and the album have topped the UK charts with the latter now selling in excess of 600,000 copies in the space of three months. Gabrielle’s success has led to Billboard calling her “the UK’s hottest female artist”.

“This album is a natural progression for me. I’m a person who will never allow myself to be put down by any circumstance or person,” she says. Gabrielle hopes however, that listeners don’t view the new album as a musical therapy session. Although the material possess an autobiographical element, it’s not a diary of the last three years.

“Doing autobiographical music allows people to nosey into what I’m about, but that’s how I’ve always written; a lot of my songs have been autobiographical, even in a round about way. I’ve always been able to write like that. It’s not deliberate and it’s not disloyal – it just happens. It’s a case of “I’m feeling like this, so I’m gonna write about it.”
You’ll be more than happy with ‘Rise’. It’s packed with melody, sing-a-long vocals and sheer warmth. Collaborations with producers Johnny Dollar (Massive Attack, Neneh Cherry), Richard Stannard (The Spice Girls), Richie Fermie and newcomer Jonathon Shorten deliver a range of styles and moods with chart-topping potential.

“When I first heard the music for the album, it spoke to me. It was like the melodies were telling me the story and all I had to do was translate it into words.”

The lead single ‘Sunshine’ is a spirited thank you to those friends you always have on hand to boost your confidence when you’re low. It debuted in the top ten when it was released in October last year. The title track – which samples Bob Dylan’s classic ‘Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door’ (and comes with his rare seal of approval) – is broad in its structure but precise in its effect. Other standouts include the two-step soul of ‘5 O’Clock’ that’s as sexy as it is funky.

Then there’s the beautiful late-nite jam ‘If You Love Me’, the sly but beseeching ‘Tell Me What You Dream’ and the inevitable smash hits ‘When A Woman’ (a real Thelma & Louise joint!), and ‘Falling’ which takes Gabrielle’s Motown-meets-90s-pop manifesto and literally runs away with it.

Hackney-born Gabrielle, 30, began her career singing for free in West End clubs whilst temping in offices during the day. The big break came when she recorded a demo called ‘Dreams’ based around Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car which subsequently fell into the hands of an A&R man at Go! Beat. The track was re-recorded without the sample and ended up in the Guinness Book Of Hit Singles as the highest chart entry for a debut female act, topping the charts for three weeks. As well as having a number one record, Gabrielle’s head-turning style complete with sequined eye patch and Josephine Baker kiss curls was the talk of the nation.

In three short years, nine singles [five of which were top ten] and two albums were released establishing Gabrielle as the UK’s premiere soul vocalist. Her debut CD ‘Find Your Way’ contained the brawny ‘Going Nowhere’ and Top 20 hits ‘I Wish’ and ‘Because Of You’. But it was the release of the Bacarach & David sounding ‘Give Me A Little More Time’ from 1997’s self titled sophomore album, that confirmed what ‘Dreams’ hinted at. A sound which was to become Gabrielle. One which showed her off as a timeless artist full of classic soul connotations but also influenced by early 80s British pop. Whose distinct, evocative, vocals married the two and took us down the aisle with her. Even the Top Three collaboration with boy band East 17 (‘If You Ever’) had a mature feel to it. It was little wonder that Gabrielle would go on to cover Dionne Warwick’s ‘Walk On By’. In retrospect the song was perfect for her.

“My niche,” she admits, “is pop music with a bit of classical soul in there. I’ve got a soulful element, even if it’s not always evident, but whether it’s pop, soul or rock, it’s accessible to me . Growing up, I was a pop kid: Michael Jackson’s ‘Off The Wall’, Wham!, Adam & The Ants, Diana Ross, Soul II Soul, Lisa Stansfield, Mantronix, Chaka Khan and then I’d go into my mum’s record collection – Marvin Gaye, Barry White, Bobby Womack, Dennis Brown… so wherever you want to place me, you can place me there because my influences are so diverse. What I like, I write and sing about and if someone likes it, them I’m happy.”

By and large optimism is the watchword of ‘Rise’. Although Gabrielle confronts self-doubt, self-pity and feelings of emotional redundancy, she keeps the balance right – melodrama has no place here. ‘Rise’ is confessional without being voyeuristic; self-explanatory without being self-absorbed. It’s full of soul because Gabrielle’s aware that music is the form of escapism we all need – whether we make it, listen to it or both. As a result ‘Rise’ is, quite simply, Gabrielle’s strongest and most complete work to date.