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Background information
Born Jamelia Niela Davis
11 January 1981 (1981-01-11) (age 29)
Smethwick, West Midlands, England
Origin Smethwick, United Kingdom
Genres R&B, pop, hip hop, soul
Occupations Singer, songwriter, entertainer
Years active 1999- Present
Labels Capitol Records (1999)
Parlophone (2000–2007)

Jamelia Niela Davis (born on 11 January 1981), best known mononymously as Jamelia, is a British singer-songwriter and model, most famous for her use of a capella and prolific work in the R&B genre. She has released three studio albums, each of which has reached the Top 40 in her native UK, which collectively have spawned eight UK top ten singles. [1] In addition, Jamelia has won four MOBO Awards, a Q Award and has received nine BRIT Award nominations.[2]



Jamelia was born in Smethwick in the county of the West Midlands of the United Kingdom, to a Zimbabwean father and a Jamaican mother and raised in the Winson Green area of Birmingham. She was signed to Parlophone at the age of fifteen, after impressing record executives with self-written a cappella songs. She attended the The City Technology College in Kingshurst, Solihull. She gave birth to her first daughter Teja on 18 March 2001 and her second daughter Tiani on 21 October 2005. On 9 October 2007 she announced her engagement to footballer Darren Byfield, the father of Tiani. However, in late 2009 they announced that they are to separate.

Music career

1997-2001: Early recordings

Jamelia was signed to Capitol Records at the age of fifteen after record producers were informed of her talents via her self-written a cappella music she recorded on a karaoke machine. Impressed music executives offered her a record deal and she was hot footed for success. In late 1999, Jamelia debuted on the music scene with the single "So High", a collaboration with fellow R&B vocalist Rosita Lynch. The single failed to chart in both the UK and mainland Europe, and did not appear on any of Jamelia's subsequent albums. Following the poor sales of the single, Jamelia left Capitol Records, but was quickly signed up with record company Parlophone, a branch of the EMI company.

Taking some time to record her debut album, Drama, Jamelia returned the music scene in early 2000 with the single "I Do", which became her first commercially successful single in the UK and mainland Europe, making the UK top forty and holding top twenty positions in France and Sweden. The single's mediocre chart success, however, led to the delay of the release of Drama. Jamelia's third single, "Money" (featuring rapper Beenie Man and co-written by UK The X Factor finalist Daniel De Bourg), was released in February 2000. The single was the singer's breakthrough in the UK, peaking at number five and spending nine weeks inside the UK top seventy-five; it later won a MOBO Award for "Best Video" in 2000. Despite the success of "Money", Drama did not make a major chart impression in the UK, where it peaked at number thirty-nine. The third single from the album, "Call Me", reached number eleven, and the fourth single, "Boy Next Door", peaked at number forty-two.

Recognition for the singer's early success came in late 2000 and 2001 at the BRIT Awards. Jamelia was nominated for Best British Newcomer, Best British Video and Best British Female.[2] This would prove to be the first of many nominations for the singer.

2003-2005: Mainstream breakthrough

Jamelia performing in September 2004

Jamelia recorded her second studio album, Thank You, in 2002 and early 2003 following the birth of her daughter Teja in 2001. The first single lifted from Thank You was the R&B-influenced "Bout", on which she collaborated with American rap star Rah Digga; it debuted at number thirty-seven in the UK. The second single, the much poppier "Superstar", became Jamelia's highest peaking at the time when it peaked at number three, and earned the spot of the twenty-sixth best-selling of 2003 in the UK. It remains Jamelia's only single to receive a BPI certification.[3] Parent album Thank You, released shortly after "Superstar", was widely expected to duplicate the single's success, but entered the UK chart at number sixty-five. Subsequently, a number of record producers worked with Jamelia on a re-release of the album that features new artwork and track listing, including two new songs: her collaboration with Coldplay's Chris Martin, "See It in a Boy's Eyes", and "DJ".

Promoting the re-release, title track "Thank You" was released shortly before. Known to be Jamelia's favourite of all her releases, the song became her highest charting single to date in the UK, where it peaked at number two and received the 2004 MOBO Award for "Best Single" and a BRIT Award nomination in the same category. Fourth single "See it in a Boy's Eyes" was released in mid 2004 and became Jamelia's third consecutive top five hit, winning a MOBO Award for "Best Video" and a Q Award for "Best Single". The success of Thank You resulted in five BRIT Award nominations for Jamelia in 2004 and 2005 for Best British Female, Best British Single, Best Female Solo Act, and Best British Urban Act.[2] The album became the thirty-sixth best-selling of 2004[4] and has been certified double platinum by the BPI in recognition of 600,000 copies shipped to retailers.[3]

Jamelia also contributed a cover version of Kool and the Gang's "Straight Ahead for their Remix/Covers album The Hits: Reloaded .

In mid 2004, she collaborated with Italian singer Tiziano Ferro on "Universal Prayer" for the 2004 Olympic Games soundtrack. It became her first number-one single in Italy and Spain and was added to non-UK editions of Thank You. In late 2004, Jamelia was asked to contribute to the Band Aid 20 charity single "Do They Know It's Christmas?", on which she sang with Will Young. The single topped the UK Singles Chart and was certified platinum. Around the same time, Jamelia released the lead single from the soundtrack of the film Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, a cover of Sam Brown's 1988 single "Stop!"; it was released as double A-side in the UK with the aforementioned "DJ", and peaked at number nine.

2006-2007: Third album, Departure from Parlophone

Jamelia performing in the Royal Albert Hall, London in November 2009

Following the birth of her second daughter, Tiani, in 2005, Jamelia began recording her third album, Walk With Me. Its lead single, "Something About You", was released in late 2006 and described as "less R&B, more experimental", with Popjustice hailing it as "an incredible pop single".[5] The single became Jamelia's first to enter the charts solely on download sales alone, debuting at number 28, rising to number 9 almost a month later following the physical release. Walk with Me was released shortly after and drew critical praise, with many critics claiming that it marked a significant turn in the singer's career as she moved from R&B to pop/rock.

The album did not emulate the chart success of Thank You, managing to debut only at number twenty on the UK Albums Chart. The second single, "Beware of the Dog", features a sample from Depeche Mode's 1989 song "Personal Jesus" and was heavily praised as being Jamelia's best single to date, with BBC Radio 1's "Chart Blog" stating that it "might just be one of the best pop songs ever made" and "the best pop song of the year", receiving a five-star rating.[1] The single became the second consecutive top ten effort from the singer's third album, reaching number ten in the UK. Later, it was nominated for Popjustice's 2007 £20 Music Prize, coming in second place behind Amy Winehouse. The final single to be released from the album was "No More", which samples The Stranglers' 1981 single "Golden Brown". It made the A-list on BBC Radio 2, but failed to garner much sales success, debuting at Number 43.

Walk With Me became the singer's second album to receive a BPI certification. After four months of release, it sold over one-hundred-thousand copies and was awarded with a Gold certification.[3] However, despite producing two top-ten singles and garnering mostly positive reviews, Walk With Me had disappointing sales success compared to her second album, Thank You, which went on to become certified double platinum.

In an interview with Digital Spy in December 2009, Jamelia commented that she wasn't surprised that the album didn't sell well. "I probably wasn't in the right frame of mind with Walk With Me...I love all the songs individually, but I don't feel it flows very well as an album, which makes it harder to relate to. It sold well over 100,000 copies - but I want double-platinum everytime!" [6]

In late 2007 the singer released a singles collection entitled Superstar - The Hits. The compilation album features eleven of her fourteen releases, omitting the 1999 single "So High", Drama singles "I Do" and "Boy Next Door" and the non-UK 2004 release "Universal Prayer". The collection, which only managed to debut at Number 55 on the UK Album Charts, was criticized for its hastiness, brevity and lack of new tracks or artwork. [7] This proved to be her final album for Parlophone, which she left weeks after the collection's release amid rumors that the sales performance of Walk With Me had been a factor in the decision of the artist and label to part ways, and the decision to release the singles collection.[8]

2008-Present: New recordings

Jamelia is scheduled to release a new album, currently untitled, in 2010. The album will be the first to be released by the singer since parting ways with former record label Parlophone. On 7 April 2008, she confirmed that she had been in the studio with producers Shea Taylor (Rihanna, Beyoncé, Janet Jackson) and Syience (Jay-Z, John Legend, Mary J Blige). On 8 July 2008, it was reported that hip hop producer Pharrell Williams wants to work with Jamelia on her upcoming album. Rhian Prosser Burns has been quoted as saying she is interested in writing for the singer.

In an interview with Digital Spy in December 2009 the singer commented on being a rumoured replacement for Keisha Buchanan, in the girl-group Sugababes and spoke about work with her ongoing album, which was going "absolutely amazing." She stated that she was working with producers who have previously worked with Lady Gaga and Beyonce, and that the album returned her sound to 2004's Thank You. She also vowed to come back with a "really exciting" album. The single is slated for release to radio in March 2010.[6]

Other projects

In Spring 2004, Jamelia was signed by the prestigious model agency, ICM. Just a week later she was signed as the face and legs of Pretty Polly in a high profile advertising campaign and shortly afterwards was featured in a poster campaign for Reebok. Since pursuing work in modelling, Jamelia has also endorsed Listerine Softmint Sensation, Jaguar Cars and BMW, was the brand ambassador for the maternity wear line Seraphine, has appeared in print advertising for Oxfam and on the front cover of magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Company, Elle and Harpers & Queen.

On 9 November 2006, Jamelia joined Feeder on stage for the encore of Feeder's WAR Child gig at 'The Coronet' in London. They performed a cover of R.E.M.'s "Everybody Hurts" as well as "Beware Of The Dog".

In January 2007, Jamelia launched a new fragrance as part of a campaign to increase awareness of HIV and AIDS. Proceeds from the sale of every bottle of The Body Shop's Rougeberry will be donated to MTV's Staying Alive Foundation. In 2007 she appeared in a high profile poster campaign shot by Mary McCartney for the animals right charity PETA, she appeared naked under the headline "Be comfortable in your own skin and let animals keep theirs". The campaign group released her image to coincide with the start of London Fashion Week.

Jamelia appeared on the 4 March 2007 episode of Top Gear, where Richard Hammond drove her to Earl's Court Exhibition Centre for a Brit Awards show in his homemade stretch limousine.

On 27 May 2007, it was announced that Jamelia signed a £100,000 contract to launch a new range of products for Boots. On 31 July 2007, it was announced that Jamelia, along with Erin O'Connor and Helena Christensen, had teamed up with famous hairdressers Toni & Guy to promote Model.Me - a hair product created for women with ethnic hair. Jamelia comments: "I think it's about time that there was a haircare range specifically designed for ethnic hair available on every high street."

On 18 September 2007, Jamelia co-hosted the MOBO Awards in 2007 with Shaggy and on 20 September she walked the catwalk in Naomi Campbell's Fashion for Relief event at the Natural History Museum in London.

Jamelia appeared on ITV's "Saturday Night Divas" to mark the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. She shared the stage with Jennifer Lopez, Girls Aloud, Celine Dion and Alicia Keys, amongst others and performed a cover version of Outkast's hit single Hey Ya.

On 1 December 2007, Jamelia was invited to perform on stage for Nelson Mandela's World Aids Day concert. She performed the hit singles "Something About You", "See It In A Boy's Eyes" and "Superstar".

Currently, Jamelia is deciding which new record label to sign with, and has begun work on her fourth studio album. Talking about the album, Jamelia commented that she is working with producers she'd have never had the chance to previously, and is eager to work with Timbaland and John Legend. When asked about the album's release in 2009, she said "next year at the earliest".

On 19 December 2007, Jamelia played Cinderella in Channel 4's The Paul O'Grady Show's Christmas Pantomime appearing opposite Joan Collins, Louis Walsh, Liz Smith, Jo Brand, Christopher Biggins, Cilla Black, Kate Thornton, Patrick McGuinness and Paul O'Grady himself.

In late January 2008, it was announced that Jamelia had signed a book publishing deal with Orion. She will be releasing her autobiography, currently titled 'Stronger',[9] in September 2009. It tells about the singer's struggle in both her personal & professional life amongst other things.

In February 2008, Jamelia announced in a podcast on her personal website that she had "completed her first official acting role".[10] It was also mentioned that she had landed a TV presenting job.

In July 2008 she appeared in a documentary about the international Hair extensions trade Jamelia: Whose Hair is it Anyway? for BBC Three & guest presented a week of episodes of Big Brother's Big Mouth for E4. On 7 September 2008, she guest presented an episode of Something for the Weekend with Tim Lovejoy.

A more recent project is The Really Good School Dinner. Jamelia is supporting the initiative which will see children and young people in England pledging to have a school meal and make a donation to provide some of the world’s poorest children with a nutritious meal.[11]

Jamelia starred in an episode of Gordon Ramsay's The F Word, where she and Gordon took part in a cook off competition. Also, she was a guest judge for BBC's, Let's Dance for Comic Relief.

Jamelia has also appeared on the Disney channel show Under Cover Coach and coached a girl called Amy in singing.

Jamelia presents the The National Lottery some Wednesday evenings, which she has been doing since April 2008.


It has been announced that Jamelia would star in two upcoming movies. Jericho's Walls Are Falling is a film based on a true story about a young man who contracts HIV/AIDS and how it effects not only him, but the people closest to him. Jamelia will play the character of Nicca, and will star alongside Gideon Turner, Bernard Hill and Jason Flemyng. The film is set for an early 2010 release. Magic Boys, to be directed by Róbert Koltai is a comedy feature which will star Michael Madsen who plays 'an American bad boy who gets entangled in a big scheme business fraud. Just by pure chance, two Hungarian factory workers get mixed in and before they know it they find themselves in a London Chippendale show'. Jamelia will play the character of Cherry Valentine, which is likely the stripper character that she has mentioned in the past. The film is set for a 2010 release.

Personal life

In August 2007 Jamelia split from boyfriend Darren Byfield. The couple are parents to daughter Tiani. Jamelia also has another child, Teja, from a previous relationship. The couple were reconciled a couple of months later, and in October 2007 they announced their engagement. On 15 June 2008 it was reported the couple wed on the previous day in West Sussex. On 3 November 2009 it was announced that the couple were filing for divorce.[12]

She participated at the Peta's campaign "Would Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur".[13][14]

Jamelia was good friends with the late Jade Goody and attended her wedding to Jack Tweed in February 2009 and her funeral in April 2009 alongside her husband and Davina McCall. Jamelia revealed on the 8 January 2010 episode of 8 Out Of 10 Cats that she homeschools her children.

Jamelia has expressed admiration for Margaret Thatcher, saying she appealed to the working class.[15]


Studio albums

Compilation albums

DVD Releases


  • Jericho's Walls Are Falling (2009; In production) - Nicca[16]
  • Magic Boys (2010; Post-production) - Cherry Valentine[16]

Awards and nominations

Year Institution Award
2000 MOBO Awards Best Video - "Money"
2004 TMF Awards (Belgium) Meest Belovend
2004 Q Awards Best Single - "See It In a Boy's Eyes"
2004 MOBO Awards Best British Female
2004 MOBO Awards Best Single - "Thank You"
2004 MOBO Awards Best Video - "See It In a Boy's Eyes"
2004 Q Awards Best Single - "See It In a Boy's Eyes"
2005 Urban Music Awards Best R&B Act
2007 Eska Awards Best Foreign Singer
2007 Urban Music Awards Best R&B Act
2001 Brit Awards Best British Video - "Money"
2001 Brit Awards Best British Female
2004 Brit Awards Best British Female
2004 Brit Awards Best British Single - "Superstar"
2004 Mercury Music Prize Thank You
2005 Brit Awards Best British Female
2005 Brit Awards Best British Urban Act
2005 Brit Awards Best British Single - "Thank You"
2007 Brit Awards Best British Female
2007 Popjustice £20 Music Prize "Beware of the Dog"
2007 MOBO Awards Best British Female

Tour history

  • 2004 Thank You Tour


External links

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