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Gwen Stefani Bio
Gwen Stefani (born October 3, 1969) is an American Singer-songwriter, fashion designer, and Actress. She is the co-founder and lead vocalist of the band No Doubt. During the band’s hiatus, Stefani embarked on a solo career in 2004 by releasing her debut studio album Love. Angel. Music. Baby. Inspired by pop Music of the 1980s, the album was met with both critical and commercial success. It spawned three major worldwide hit singles: “What You Waiting For?,” “Rich Girl,” and “Hollaback Girl,” the latter becoming the first US digital 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.” Including her work with No Doubt, Stefani has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide.
As a solo artist, Stefani has won several Music awards, including one Grammy Award from eight nominations, one World Music Award, one American Music Award , one Brit 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 2002-2015 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.
1986–2004: No Doubt
Main article: No DoubtHer 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. The album sold more than 16 million copies worldwide, and received several Grammy Award nominations in 1997 and 1998. 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”.
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 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. At the 2005 Grammy Awards, Stefani was nominated for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “What You Waiting For?”, and at the next year’s awards, Stefani received five nominations for Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Best Pop Vocal Album, and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.
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 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.
L.A.M.B.’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 digital download to sell more than one million copies legally, 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.
2006–08: The Sweet Escape
Stefani’s second studio album, The Sweet Escape, was recorded by Guy Charbonneau’s Le Mobile Remote Recording Studio and released in December 2006. Stefani recollaborated with Kanal, Perry, and The Neptunes, along with Akon and Tim Rice-Oxley from English rock band Keane. The album focuses more heavily on electronic and dance Music for clubs than its predecessor. Stefani commented that it differed from L.A.M.B. because “I just wasn’t inspired to do another album and…I was a lot more relaxed making it.” Its release coincided with the DVD release of Stefani’s first tour, entitled Harajuku Lovers Live. The album received mixed reviews by critics, who found that it “has a surprisingly moody, lightly autobiographical feel… [but] Stefani isn’t convincing as a dissatisfied diva” and called the album a “hasty return” that repeats Love. Angel. Music. Baby. with less energy.
“Wind It Up”, the album’s lead single, received mixed reviews by critics for its use of yodeling and an interpolation of The Sound of Music, but was moderately successful, peaking inside the top 10 in the US and the UK. The title track was well received and was a major hit, reaching the top 10 in over 15 nations, including number two peaks in the US, Australia and the UK. To promote The Sweet Escape, Stefani was a mentor on the sixth season of American Idol and performed the song with Akon. The song earned her a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals. Three more singles were released from the album; “4 in the Morning”, “Now That You Got It” which featured Damian Marley and “Early Winter”. To promote the album, Stefani embarked a worldwide tour, The Sweet Escape Tour, which covered North America, Europe, Asia and the Pacific and part of Latin America. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly on June 6, 2011, Stefani stated that she had no plans to continue work as a solo artist, adding, “That was a moment in time […] It went on a little longer than we all thought it would, because it was inspired and you have to go with wherever you’re at in that time in your life… [But] everything works out how it should.”
2008–13: Return to No Doubt
With Stefani promoting The Sweet Escape, No Doubt began work on a new album without her and planned to complete it after Stefani’s The Sweet Escape Tour was finished. In March 2008, the band started making posts concerning the progression of the album on their official fan forum. Stefani made a post on March 28, 2008 stating that songwriting had commenced but was slow on her end because she was, at the time, pregnant with her second child. The Singles 1992–2003 became available on December 9, 2008 for the video game Rock Band 2. Adrian Young played drums on Scott Weiland’s album “Happy” in Galoshes. No Doubt announced on their official website they wanted to tour in 2009 while finishing their upcoming album, which was set for release in 2010. On November 24, 2008, it was announced that No Doubt would be headlining the Bamboozle 2009 festival in May, along with Fall Out Boy. The band completed a national tour in the summer of 2009. In 2010, they resumed writing their record, which was later recorded in 2011.
On June 11, 2012, the band announced on their official website that the new album will be out on September 25, preceded by the first single in July 16. The album was titled Push and Shove and the first single was a song called “Settle Down”. The Music video for “Settle Down” was directed by Sophie Muller (who has previously directed numerous Music videos for No Doubt). Also around this time No Doubt were guest mentors for the UK version of the X Factor. “Settle Down” peaked at 34 on the Billboard Hot 100 with the album peaking at number three on the US Billboard 200. On November 3, 2012, the band pulled its Music video “Looking Hot” from the Internet after receiving complaints that it was insensitive towards Native Americans. In October 2013, Tom revealed on social networking site Twitter that the band were once again on hiatus, also hinting that the band will regroup in 2014.
2014–present: The Voice and upcoming third studio album
On April 12, 2014, Stefani made a surprise appearance at the Coachella festival, where she joined Pharrell Williams onstage during his set to perform “Hollaback Girl”. She and Williams were coaches for season 7 of The Voice. After nine years since the last time, she attended the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards, and during an interview on the red carpet she said, “I didn’t know I was gonna have a baby, I didn’t know I was gonna be on The Voice, I didn’t know I was gonna be writing new Music, so I’m just like, what’s gonna be next?”. Stefani appears as a featured artist on “My Heart Is Open”, co-written by Sia Furler, from Maroon 5’s V page’>V, which was performed for the first time with Adam Levine and an orchestra at the 2015 Grammy Awards. Gwen also appeared on “Together”, from Calvin Harris’ Motion. Both albums were released in 2014. A collaboration with Snoop Dogg, entitled “Run Away”, was released on his 2015 studio album, Bush.
On September 8, 2014, Stefani told MTV News during New York Fashion Week that she is working on both a No Doubt album and a solo album. She also revealed that she is working with Williams. Stefani released her comeback single “Baby Don’t Lie” on October 20, 2014, co-written with producers Ryan Tedder, Benny Blanco, and Noel Zancanella. Billboard magazine revealed that her third studio album is set to be released in December and Benny Blanco is set to executive produce it. In late October, a sneak peek of a new track from Stefani’s third album, named “Spark the Fire”, was premiered. The song was produced by Pharrell Williams. On November 23, the full song was uploaded online and was made available for digital download on December 1. On January 13, 2015, Stefani and Williams also recorded a song titled “Shine”, for the Paddington soundtrack. Stefani and Sia Furler worked together on a ballad, called “Start a War” that is expected to be released on Stefani’s third studio album as well. On July 10, 2015, American rapper Eminem featured Stefani on his single “Kings Never Die”, from the Southpaw soundtrack. This song ranked #80 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
On October 17, 2015, Stefani performed a one-night concert at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, where she performed a new song, reportedly about her breakup with ex-husband Gavin Rossdale, titled “Used to Love You”. It was released as a digital download on October 20, 2015. The video was released later that same day. The song will officially impact Mainstream radio in the U.S. on October 27, 2015. The track is the first official single off her upcoming third solo album, which she has been working on since June. It is unknown if any of the material written in 2014 through early 2015 will be included on this album. Stefani said much of the previous material felt forced and inauthentic, while the songs written since she returned to the studio are more natural and better describe where she is in her life.
Stefani made most of the clothing that she wore on stage with No Doubt, resulting in increasingly eclectic combinations. Stylist Andrea Lieberman introduced her to haute couture clothing, which led to Stefani launching a fashion line named L.A.M.B. in 2004. The line takes influence from a variety of fashions, including Guatemalan, Japanese, and Jamaican styles. The line achieved popularity among celebrities and is worn by stars such as Teri Hatcher, Nicole Kidman, and Stefani herself. In June 2005, she expanded her collection with the less expensive Harajuku Lovers line, which she referred to as “a glorified merchandise line”, with varied products including a camera, mobile phone charms, and undergarments. In late 2006, Stefani released a limited edition line of dolls called “Love. Angel. Music. Baby. Fashion dolls”. The dolls are inspired by the various costumes that Stefani and the Harajuku Girls wore while touring for the album.
In 2014, Stefani announced she is producing an animated series about her and the Harajuku Girls. Along with Vision Animation and Moody Street Kids, Stefani has helped create the show which features her, Love, Angel, Music, and Baby as the band, HJ5, who fight evil whilst trying to pursue their Music career. Mattel have signed on as the global toy licensee. Kuukuu Harajuku will be distributed worldwide by DHX Media.
In late summer 2007, Stefani launched a perfume, L, as a part of her L.A.M.B. collection of clothing and accessories. The perfume has high notes of sweet pea and rose. In September 2008, Stefani released a fragrance line as a part of her Harajuku Lovers product line. There are five different fragrances based on the four Harajuku Girls and Stefani herself called Love, Lil’ Angel, Music, Baby and G (Gwen). As of January 2011, Stefani has become the spokesperson for L’Oréal Paris.
Gwen Stefani (age: 49) is an American singer, songwriter, fashion designer, and actress known as the co-founder and lead vocalist of No Doubt.