Friday, December 13, 2013

The #78 Female Artist of the Rock Era: Gwen Stefani

The #78 Female Artist* is Gwen Stefani, the lead singer of No Doubt.  As stated in the ground rules at the outset, she doesn't get credit as a solo artist for her work with the group, but she's been successful enough to sneak into The Top 100* as a solo artist.

Stefani was born in Fullerton, California and she attended Loara High School in Anaheim.  Gwen's parents introduced her to music by artists such as Bob Dylan and Emmylou Harris.    She also liked musicals such as The Sound of Music.  Stefani made her singing debut in high school.  After graduating from Loara, Gwen attended Fullerton College before transferring to California State University, Fullerton.  Gwen's older brother Eric was a keyboardist and founder of No Doubt for a few years, and invited Gwen to sing vocals.

No Doubt signed with Interscope Records in 1991 and released their self-titled album in 1992.  The group broke through with their third album, Tragic Kingdom, in 1995, with the lead single, "Don't Speak" being the most-played song in the United States that year.  The album sold over 16 million copies worldwide and received several Grammy nominations.  

No Doubt released two more albums and Stefani collaborated with Moby on "South Side" in 2000, a #14 hit.

The following year, Gwen hooked up with Eve on the song "Let Me Blow Ya Mind", a #1 smash in Switzerland and Norway, #2 in the U.S. and the Netherlands, #4 in the U.K. and Australia, #5 in Germany, #6 in Austria and Sweden and #7 in New Zealand.  Stefani and Eve captured a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration in 2002.

Gwen released her debut solo release in 2004--Love.  Angel.  Music.  Baby., which sold over seven million copies.  The first single, "What Are You Waiting For?" was a hit across Europe, but the second single spread across the globe.  "Rich Girl" was a #2 hit in Australia and Norway, #3 in New Zealand and the Netherlands, #4 in the U.K. and Sweden, #6 in Switzerland and #7 in the United States. 

"Hollaback (sic) Girl" of course was the huge success on that album that helped Gwen win the World Music Award for World's Best-Selling New Female Artist.  It was a #1 smash in the U.S., #3 in Germany and New Zealand, #5 in Austria, #6 in Switzerland and Norway, #7 in Sweden and #8 in the U.K. and the Netherlands.    

The album debuted at #7, selling 309,000 copies its first week, and reached multi-platinum status in the Untied States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.  

Gwen won the American Music Award for Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist  and was nominated for Artist of the Year.  Stefani was nominated for Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance (for "What You Waiting For?”) at the Grammy Awards.   Stefani also captured New Artist of the Year at the Billboard Awards and "Hollaback (sic) Girl" was nominated for Hot 100 Song of the Year.

In 2006, Stefani released The Sweet Escape, which included "Wind It Up", a #1 New Zealand hit that also reached #3 in the U.K., #4 in the Netherlands, #5 in Australia, #6 in the U.S. and #7 in Norway.
The title track became another #1 in New Zealand, and hit #2 in the U.S., the U.K., Australia and Norway, #5 in the Netherlands and #6 in Germany and Austria.

Stefani promoted the album by going on a worldwide tour of North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America.  Gwen was nominated for a Grammy for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.  "4 In The Morning" was up next, which did well in some countries but was not a worldwide hit.   

In 2004, Stefani began pursuing acting roles and made her debut in The Aviator.

Stefani is noted for her deep vibrato.  Gwen's two solo albums have sold a combined 20 million copies.  She has enjoyed 13 hits, with five Top 10's and one #1.

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