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Gwen Stefani

Gwen Stefani is an American singer and the frontwoman of the band No Doubt who launched a successful solo career in late 2004.

Gwen Stefani was born in Fullerton, California. Her father, Denis, is Italian and her mother Patti is of English and Scottish descent. She has a sister, Jill, and two brothers, Eric and Todd. She attended Cal State Fullerton, and in high school she was on the swim team. Her first job was scrubbing floors at a Dairy Queen and she once worked at a department store. Her brother Eric founded No Doubt in 1986 with his friend John Spence, but eventually left the band to pursue a career in animation on The Simpsons. He was the keyboardist for No Doubt. Gwen became the group's lead singer after original frontman John Spence committed suicide in December 1987.

First success

The band's second album, Tragic Kingdom, took three years to make. During this time, the band almost split up. The album was released in 1995 and spawned several hits, beginning with Just a Girl. Following the success of Tragic Kingdom, Stefani became highly popular and recognizable; the tension this produced with the other members of the band was touched on by their video for the song Don't Speak. Many of the album's songs, including Don't Speak and Spiderwebs, were inspired by Stefani's relationship and breakup with fellow band member Tony Kanal. Gwen had dated Kanal for eight years until he ended the relationship because he needed more space. She slipped into depression after touring for Tragic Kingdom.

Stefani met Bush guitarist Gavin Rossdale in 1996 at a concert she was playing with No Doubt. On September 14, 2002, they were married.

Solo career

Stefani's solo efforts found early success in a pair of popular 2001 duets, the Southside remix with techno artist Moby and Let Me Blow Ya Mind with rapper Eve. In fact, Stefani became the first artist in history to win both Best Male Video and Best Female Video awards at the MTV VMAs, for Southside (credited as Moby featuring Gwen Stefani) and Let Me Blow Ya Mind (credited as Eve featuring Gwen Stefani) respectively, both in 2001.

Stefani's first solo album, Love, Angel, Music, Baby was released in the U.S. on November 23, 2004. It managed to sell more copies in its first week than any No Doubt album (350,000), debuting at number 7, impressive for a debut solo artist. Her album was certified platinum (1,000,000 sold) after only four weeks of sales.

The first single released was What You Waiting For? It debuted at #1 on the Australian ARIAnet singles chart and #4 on the UK chart, and peaked at #47 on the US chart, making it a relative American flop for Stefani.

The second single was Rich Girl, another duet with Eve, produced by Dr. Dre. It is partly a cover of the song If I Was A Rich Man by Louchie Lou and Michie One. It shot its way into the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #7, and #3 on the Pop 100. It was also featured on a Pepsi commercial, starting on Super Bowl sunday, 2005.

Her next single, Hollaback Girl, was released and became one of the fastest rising songs of the year. In its 6th week, it hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, making Stefani the first non-urban or non-American Idol artist to reach the top spot since Nickelback in 2001/2002 with their hit, How You Remind Me.

Harajuku

Stefani on the cover of Love, Angel, Music, BabyThe release of her solo album has also brought attention to Stefani's entourage of four harajuku girls. Named Love, Angel, Music, and Baby respectively by Stefani, the 'harajuku' girls are named for the area around the Harajuku Station of Tokyo, Japan, known as a popular shopping destination and fashion center for teenagers. Following their namesake area, Stefani's harajuku girls are usually flamboyantly dressed, and they have been featured in her music videos, press coverage, and even the album cover for Love, Angel, Music, Baby.

However, Stefani's adoption of this component of Japanese culture has drawn criticism from some quarters; for example, Mihi Ahn at Salon.com writes 'She's taken Tokyo hipsters, sucked them dry of all their street cred, and turned them into China dolls.' [1] (http://www.salon.com/ent/feature/2005/04/09/geisha/). As a result, some have taken to labelling them the Gwenihana Four, or G4 for short, and calling for a Free the Gwenihana Four movement [2] (http://gwenihana.blogspot.com/).

Trivia

Gwen has created a successful fashion line, named L.A.M.B, which showcases clothing which Gwen would wear herself. The line also includes handbags and purses. Celebrities such as Nicky Hilton, Paris Hilton, Pamela Anderson, Carmen Electra, Nicole Richie, Jenny McCarthy, Alicia Keys and Halle Berry have been seen sporting her fashion line and LeSportsac bags.

Stefani's nicknames are Sunshine and G-loc. Her height is 1.68m. She is dyslexic. Stefani's visual trademarks are her red lipstick and her blond hair (the natural color of which hasn't seen since she was in the 9th or 10th grade). She likes to listen to bands like 311, Blur, Radiohead and Jamiroquai. She lent her voice to the title character of Malice, a PS2 and Xbox video game.

Girls and young women who imitate Stefani's distinctive style of dress are sometimes referred to as Gwennabes or Gwenabees.

She made her acting debut in a small role playing Jean Harlow in the 2004 Martin Scorsese movie The Aviator.

When not touring, or working on her other projects, she shares two homes with her husband, Gavin Rossdale, in Los Feliz, California (a suburb in Los Angeles), and London.

Gwen is also famous for her Harajuku girls. These are young Japanese girls from the Harajuku Station that follow her and appear in her music videos. They also have a song dedicated to them on her album Love, Angel, Music, Baby. The title of the album also happens to be her English names for each of the Harajuku Girls.


Note: This profile was written in or before 2005.

Gwen Stefani Facts

Birth NameGwendolyn Renee Stefani
OccupationMusician
BandNo Doubt
BirthdayOctober 3, 1969 (48)
SignLibra
BirthplaceAnaheim, California, USA
Height5' 6" (1m68)  How tall is Gwen Stefani compared to you?

Selected Filmography

Not available.