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Gwen Stefani

© Georges Biard
Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 3.0 ]
Gwen Renée Stefani (born October 3, 1969) is an American singer, songwriter, and fashion designer. She is the co-founder and lead vocalist of the band No Doubt that experienced major success after their breakthrough studio album Tragic Kingdom (1995) along with several successful singles including; "Don't Speak", "Hey Baby" and "It's My Life". During the band's hiatus, Stefani embarked on a solo pop career in 2004 by releasing her debut studio album Love. Angel. Music. Baby. Inspired by pop music from the 1980s, the album was met with both critical and commercial success. It spawned three commercially successful singles: "What You Waiting For?", "Rich Girl", and "Hollaback Girl", the latter reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 while also becoming the first US download to sell one million copies. In 2006 Stefani released her second studio album The Sweet Escape. The album produced two successful singles: "Wind It Up" and the album's title track "The Sweet Escape". Her third solo album This Is What the Truth Feels Like was released in March 2016 and became her first solo number-one album on the Billboard 200. Stefani has won three Grammy Awards. As a solo artist she has received several accolades, including an American Music Award, Brit Award, World Music Award and two Billboard Music Awards. In 2003, she debuted her clothing line L.A.M.B. and expanded her collection with the 2005 Harajuku Lovers line, drawing inspiration from Japanese culture and fashion. Stefani performs and makes public appearances with four back-up dancers known as the Harajuku Girls. She was married to British musician Gavin Rossdale from 2002 to 2015 and they have three sons. Billboard magazine ranked Stefani the 54th most successful artist and 37th most successful Hot 100 artist of the 2000–09 decade. VH1 ranked her 13th on their "100 Greatest Women in Music" list in 2012. Including her work with No Doubt, Stefani has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide. Life and career 1969–1985: Early life Stefani was born on October 3, 1969, in Fullerton, California, and raised Roman Catholic in Anaheim, California. She was named after a stewardess in the 1968 novel Airport, and her middle name, Renée, comes from The Four Tops' 1968 cover of The Left Banke's 1966 song "Walk Away Renée". Her father, Dennis Stefani, is Italian American and worked as a Yamaha marketing executive. Her mother, Patti (née Flynn), worked as an accountant before becoming a housewife. Gwen's parents were fans of folk music and exposed her to music by artists like Bob Dylan and Emmylou Harris. She has two younger siblings, Jill and Todd, and an older brother named Eric. Eric was the keyboardist for No Doubt before leaving the band to pursue a career in animation on The Simpsons. 1986–2004: No Doubt Her brother Eric introduced Gwen to 2 Tone music by Madness and The Selecter, and in 1986, he invited her to provide vocals for No Doubt, a ska band he was forming. Finally, in 1991, the band was signed to Interscope Records. The band released its self-titled debut album in 1992, but its ska-pop sound was unsuccessful due to the popularity of grunge. Before the mainstream success of both No Doubt and Sublime, Stefani contributed guest vocals to "Saw Red" on Sublime's 1994 album Robbin' the Hood. Stefani rejected the aggressiveness of female grunge artists and cited Blondie singer Debbie Harry's combination of power and sex appeal as a major influence. No Doubt's third album, Tragic Kingdom (1995), which followed the self-released The Beacon Street Collection (1995), took more than three years to make. Five singles were released from Tragic Kingdom', including "Don't Speak", which led the Hot 100 Airplay year-end chart of 1997. Stefani left college for one semester to tour for Tragic Kingdom but did not return when touring lasted two and a half years. As of 2014, the album sold more than 16 million copies worldwide, In late 2000, Rolling Stone magazine named her "The Queen of Confessional Pop". During the time when No Doubt was receiving mainstream success, Stefani collaborated on the singles "You're the Boss" with the Brian Setzer Orchestra, "South Side" with Moby, and "Let Me Blow Ya Mind" with Eve. No Doubt released the less popular Return of Saturn in 2000, which expanded upon the new wave influences of Tragic Kingdom. Most of the lyrical content focused on Stefani's often rocky relationship with then-Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale and her overall insecurities, including indecision on settling down and having a child. The band's 2001 album, Rock Steady, explored more reggae and dancehall sounds, while maintaining the band's new wave influences, and generally received positive reviews. The album generated career-highest singles chart positions in the United States, and "Hey Baby" and "Underneath It All" received Grammy Awards. A greatest hits collection, The Singles 1992–2003, which includes a cover of Talk Talk's "It's My Life", was released in 2003 to moderate sales. In 2002, Eve and Stefani won a Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Let Me Blow Ya Mind". 2004–2006: Love. Angel. Music. Baby. and acting debut Stefani's debut solo album Love. Angel. Music. Baby. was released in November 2004. The album features a large number of collaborations with producers and other artists, including Tony Kanal, Tom Rothrock, Linda Perry, André 3000, Nellee Hooper, The Neptunes and New Order. Stefani created the album to modernize the music to which she listened when in high school, and L.A.M.B. takes influence from a variety of music styles of the 1980s and early 1990s such as new wave, synthpop, and electro. Stefani's decision to use her solo career as an opportunity to delve further into pop music instead of trying "to convince the world of [her] talent, depth and artistic worth" was considered unusual. As a result, reviews of the album were mixed, and it was described as "fun as hell but ... not exactly rife with subversive social commentary." The album debuted on the US Billboard 200 albums chart at number seven, selling 309,000 copies in its first week. L.A.M.B. was a commercial success reaching multi-platinum status in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada. The first single released from the album was "What You Waiting For?", which debuted atop the ARIA Singles Chart, charted at number 47 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and reached the top ten on most other charts. The song served to explain why Stefani produced a solo album and discusses her fears in leaving No Doubt for a solo career as well as her desire to have a baby. "Rich Girl" was released as the album's second single. A duet with rapper Eve, and produced by Dr. Dre, it is an adaptation of a 1990s pop song by British musicians Louchie Lou & Michie One, which itself is a very loose cover lyrically but closer melodically of "If I Were a Rich Man", from the musical Fiddler on the Roof. "Rich Girl" proved successful on several formats, and reached the US and UK top ten. The album's third single "Hollaback Girl" became Stefani's first US and second Australian number-one single; it reached top ten elsewhere. The song was the first US music download to sell more than one million copies, and its brass-driven composition remained popular throughout 2005. The fourth single "Cool" was released shortly following the popularity of its predecessor, reaching the top 20 in US and UK. The song's lyrics and its accompanying music video, filmed in Lake Como, Italy, depict Stefani's former relationship with Kanal. "Luxurious" was released as the album's fifth single, but did not perform as well as its predecessors. "Crash" was released in early 2006 as the album's sixth single in lieu of Love. Angel. Music. Baby.'s sequel, which Stefani postponed because of her pregnancy. In 2004, Stefani showed interest in making film appearances and began auditioning for films such as Mr. & Mrs. Smith. She made her acting debut playing Jean Harlow in Martin Scorsese's The Aviator in 2004. Scorsese, whose daughter was a No Doubt fan, showed reciprocal interest in casting Stefani after seeing her picture from a Marilyn Monroe-inspired photo shoot for Teen Vogue in 2003. To prepare for the role, Stefani read two biographies and watched 18 of Harlow's films. Shooting her part took four to five days, and Stefani had few lines. Stefani lent her voice to the title character of the 2004 video game Malice; before completion, however, the company opted not to use No Doubt band members' voices. Personal life Soon after Stefani joined No Doubt, she and bandmate Tony Kanal began dating, to which she stated that she was heavily invested in the relationship. Stefani commented that "...all I ever did was look at Tony and pray that God would let me have a baby with him." During this time, the band almost split up because of the failed romantic relationship between Stefani and Kanal. Kanal ended the relationship. Their break-up inspired Stefani lyrically, and many of the album's songs, such as "Don't Speak", "Sunday Morning", and "Hey You!", chronicle the ups and downs of their relationship. During mid-1995, No Doubt and rock band Goo Goo Dolls went on tour opening for alternative rock band Bush. Stefani met Bush guitarist and lead singer Gavin Rossdale. They married on September 14, 2002, with a wedding in St Paul's, Covent Garden, London. A second wedding was held in Los Angeles two weeks later. According to Stefani, it was held so that she could wear her custom-designed wedding dress by John Galliano twice. Stefani has three sons with Rossdale; Kingston James McGregor Rossdale born on May 26, 2006, Zuma Nesta Rock Rossdale born on August 21, 2008, and Apollo Bowie Flynn Rossdale born February 28, 2014. On August 3, 2015, Stefani filed for divorce from Rossdale, citing "irreconcilable differences". Their divorce was finalized on April 8, 2016, to which Rossdale agreed to the "unequal split" of their assets. On November 4, 2015, Stefani and her The Voice co-star, country music artist Blake Shelton, announced that they were dating. Artistry Stefani possesses a mezzo-soprano, which can span several octaves. Stefani's unusual and dynamic vocals have been noted for their "deep vibrato" and Stefani has been described as having a "unique vocal prowess". The Chicago Tribune stated that Stefani had a "brash alto." In the single "Cool", her vocal range covers around one and a half octaves. Kelefa Sanneh of The New York Times joked that as Stefani grew as a musician, she kicked her "addiction" to vibrato. Stefani's debut album Love. Angel. Music. Baby. took influence from a variety of 1980s genres Which included electropop, new wave, dance-rock, hip hop, R&B, soul, and disco music. Stefani cited early Madonna, Lisa Lisa, Club Nouveau, Depeche Mode, Prince, New Order and The Cure as major influences for the album. Several of the album's tracks were designed for clubs, and contained electro beats meant for dancing. Dealing with fashion and wealth, the singer name-drops several designers who she considered inspirations in her personal career, such as John Galliano and Vivienne Westwood. Her second studio album The Sweet Escape resembles musically its predecessor while exploring more modern pop sounds, dabbling heavily into genres such as dance-pop and rap. It carried on the same themes developed in Love. Angel. Music. Baby., and was criticized for doing so. This Is What the Truth Feels Like, the singer's third album, continued Stefani's endeavors with the pop genre. However, she incorporated music from a variety of other genres, including reggae, disco, and dancehall, in addition to the use of guitars. Stefani's lyrics shifted towards events that had recently occurred in her personal life, such as her divorce from husband Rossdale, and newfound relationship in Shelton. Additionally, the singer stated her album was not "about revenge" like others had interpreted it, and that it was actually "about forgiveness".

Wikipedia ]

Born
Gwen Renée Stefani
October 03, 1969 (age 54)
Spouse
Gavin Rossdale (m. 2002; div. 2016)
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