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Gabriella Cilmi

Gabriella Cilmi at the 2009 BestFest Festival
Background information
Born 10 October 1991 (1991-10-10) (age 18)
Origin Melbourne, Australia
Genres Pop, funk rock, crossover jazz, vocal jazz, R&B
Occupations Singer
Years active 2005–present
Labels Warner Music, Island Records, Xenomania and Universal Republic (USA)

Gabriella Lucia Cilmi[1] (pronounced /ˌɡæbriˈɛlə ˈtʃɪlmi/, gab-ri-EL CHIL-mee[2]) (born 10 October 1991) is an Australian singer and songwriter. She is best known for her debut single "Sweet About Me", released in Australia in April 2008. In 2008, Cilmi won six ARIA awards including Single of the Year and Best Female Artist.


Early life

Cilmi was born in the Melbourne suburb of Dandenong. Of Italian heritage[1], she lives in Melbourne Australia with her parents Paula and Joe (whose origins are in Crotone, Calabria, Italy) and her brother Joseph.

At an early age, Cilmi developed an interest in a wide range of musical styles, including Nina Simone, Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, The Sweet, T.Rex and Cat Stevens.[3] Despite her natural aptitude and vocal talent, she was told that she lacked the discipline necessary to pursue a singing career. Idolising Janis Joplin, during this time she sang with a band (Foucault) performing cover songs by Led Zeppelin, Jet, Silverchair and others.[4] Cilmi recorded original songs with writer/producers Barbara and Adrian Hannan of The SongStore.[5]

In 2004, Cilmi captured the attention of Warner Music executive Michael Parisi while giving an impromptu rendition of the Rolling Stones' song "Jumping Jack Flash" at the Lygon Street Festa, a community festival in Melbourne. At the age of 13, Cilmi travelled to the US and UK with Adrian Hannan and was offered four major US deals. She eventually signed a contract with Island Records UK.

Musical career

2005–2009: Lessons to be Learned

Gabriella Cilmi at the 2008 Godiva Festival

The tracks "Don't Tell Me" and "Sorry", co-written with Barbara and Adrian Hannan, appeared on the soundtrack of 2005 Australian film Hating Alison Ashley.[5]

Cilmi shares a manager (Cassandra Gracey), writer/producers (Xenomania) and UK record label (Island) with the Sugababes, and supported former Sugababe Mutya Buena at the Jazz Café in London in 2007. She made her UK TV debut on 14 December 2007 when she sang her new single "Sweet About Me" on Later... with Jools Holland. In December 2007 Cilmi's song "Sanctuary" featured in the film St Trinian's and on its soundtrack.

Cilmi has also sung on the theme to UK TV Series Echo Beach which aired in early 2008 on ITV1. It is a cover of "Echo Beach" by Martha and the Muffins.

In February 2008 she supported the Parisian band Nouvelle Vague on their UK tour.

Cilmi's first album Lessons To Be Learned was written and recorded with hit production team Xenomania and was released on 31 March 2008 in the UK. She has been compared to Amy Winehouse[6], Anastacia and also Macy Gray, because of the occasional fracture in her voice[citation needed].

The single "Sweet About Me" debuted on the UK Singles Chart at number sixty-eight (9 March 2008) and rose to number fifty the following week. The single rose again to number twenty several weeks after the physical CD was made available. Despite then falling back to number twenty-three, it re-entered the top twenty at number nineteen on 18 May, the single reached its highest position of number six, on the chart dated 15 June 2008, and it reached number seventeen in the Irish Singles Chart. It debuted at number thirteen in Australia on downloads alone, and peaked at number one. She won six Aria awards in Australia, taking out Best Female Artist, Breakthrough Artist: Single (Sweet About Me), Breakthrough Artist: Album (Lessons to be Learned), Best Pop Release (Lessons to be Learned), Highest Selling Single (Sweet About Me), and Single of the Year (Sweet About Me). Perhaps part of her success has been linked to her song, “Sweet About Me”, being used to sell the deodorant Sure/Rexona around the world this year. The song also got to number 6 in the Dutch top 40, in September 2008.[7]

She performed "Sweet About Me" on the Australian breakfast news program Sunrise on the Seven Network on 1 April 2008 and again on the talk show Rove five days later. She also performed this single on Ireland's chat show The Late Late Show on 23 May 2008.

From March to May 2008 she supported the Sugababes on their UK Change Tour, as well as supporting Nouvelle Vague. She opened for James Blunt on his June 2008 Australian tour, and participated at the MTV Greece concert in Greece on 4 October 2008 alongside R.E.M. and Kaiser Chiefs.

After "Sweet About Me" dropped to number two for several weeks on the Australian ARIA Charts, she reclaimed the number one spot on 19 May 2008. On 9 July, Cilmi's second UK single, "Save The Lies", was exclusively premiered on The Sun's website. On the 13th, the "Out Of Office Remix" was premiered on the Fresh40 chart show. Cilmi's second UK single did not show as much success as "Sweet About Me", peaking at 33 in the UK. During the release of "Save the Lies (Good To Me)" in the UK, there was a subsequent release in Australia. "Don't Wanna Go to Bed Now" did not show as much success as "Sweet About Me", peaking at 28 on the charts.

On 1 October she announced that "Sanctuary" was the fourth single.[8] It was released on 10 November 2008 but failed to chart.

Gabriella Cilmi in concert (2008)

Her 2008 Christmas song was a cover of a Connie Francis song Warm This Winter, which is featured on the Co-operative's Christmas adverts[9], and has so far peaked at 22 in the official UK Singles Chart.

On 20 January 2009, it was announced that Cilmi was nominated in the International Female category at the BRIT Awards[10].

On 31 January 2009, Cilmi sang in the Rod Laver Arena before the 2009 Australian Open Men's Final; she sang two songs, one of which was her top hit, Sweet About Me.

Cilmi performed at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on 14 March 2009 for Sound Relief, which was a multi-venue rock music concert in support of relief for the Victorian Bushfire Crisis.[11][12] The event was held simultaneously with a concert at the Sydney Cricket Ground.[11] All the proceeds from the Melbourne Concert will go to the Red Cross Victorian Bushfire relief.[11][12] Appearing with Cilmi in Melbourne were, Bliss N Eso with Paris Wells, Augie March, Hunters & Collectors, Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson with Troy Cassar-Daley, Jack Johnson, Jet, Kings Of Leon, Liam Finn, Midnight Oil, Paul Kelly, Split Enz and Wolfmother.[13]. She performed on a Dutch tv show called Life & Cooking a duet with Enrique Iglesias. They performed a duet version of his song Takin' Back My Love.

Cilmi made her US television debut on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on 24 March 2009. She performed "Sweet About Me."

Cilmi appeared second on the Pyramid (main) stage on Friday 26 June 2009 at the Glastonbury Festival, Worthy Farm, Somerset, England. She took to the stage as the heavy rain from overnight was just clearing and included a short excerpt from "Billie Jean" in her single "Sweet About Me" in tribute to Michael Jackson, as news of his death was just being absorbed around the site.

On 22 August 2009 she sang "Sweet About Me" and won Grand Prix at Sopot International Song Festival, an international song contest in Poland.

2010–Present: Ten

Since February 2009 Gabriella is currently writing material for her forthcoming second studio album called Ten and is to be released on 22 March 2010. Gabriella has stated that she wants this album to have more of an R&B influence. Gnarls Barkley member and producer Danger Mouse has already been named as one of the producers Gabriella is looking to work with. When speaking about her new album she revealed that she had been listening to Blondie a lot and that it had inspired some of her new material. Girls Aloud producer and songwriter Brian Higgins from Xenomania Production Group is helping and the new album is expected to be released in early 2010.[14]

In January 2010 Popjustice made the lead single 'On A Mission' their Song of the Day, saying "It sounds like a chart-friendly mix of Blondie, Joan Jett, Van Halen and Lil' Chris"[15]. The track was released in January 2010 with a space-themed music video[16].


Studio albums

Awards and nominations

Year Type Award Result
2008 ARIA Awards Breakthrough Single Won
Breakthrough Album Won
Highest Selling Single Won
Best Pop release Won
Best Female Artist Won
Single Of The Year Won
Q Awards Breakthrough Artist Nominated
MTV European Music Awards Breakthrough Artist Shortlisted
2009 BRIT Awards Best International Female Artist Nominated
Echo Awards Best International Newcomer Nominated
Sopot International Song Festival 2009 Best performer (Amber Nightingdale) Won

Television appearances

GMTV 11 March 2010     Performer



External links

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