British house/R&B vocalist Gabrielle began her career singing for free in London West End clubs whilst temping in offices during the day.
Her big break came when she recorded a demo, called "Dreams," based around Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car," which subsequently fell into the hands of an A&R man at London's Go! Beat records. The track was re-recorded without the Chapman sample and ended up in the Guinness Book of Hit Singles as the highest U.K. chart entry for a debut female act, topping the charts for three weeks.
With the hit came a head-turning image, complete with kiss curls and sequined eye patch as Gabrielle's right eye has a drooped lid. Ignoring cosmetic surgery, she turned what might have been seen an image setback into a virtue that set her apart from the pack.
Her debut album, Find Your Way, sold over a million copies worldwide, and paved the way for her sophomore, self-titled album, released in 1996 and produced by the Boilerhouse Boys. In three short years, those two albums and nine singles -- five of which were Top Ten -- established Gabrielle as the U.K.'s premiere soul vocalist, full of classic soul connotations (Marvin Gaye, Barry White, Bobby Womack) but also influenced by early-'80s British pop (Soul II Soul, Lisa Stansfield, Mantronix).
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