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She’s written a song on Madonna’s last album, found a fan in Dave Matthews, and had every single track from her debut album featured in commercials, TV shows, and even movies! The Record featured her as a fresh face to watch out for as far back as April 2005. Now that the rest of the world has caught on, we bring you 7 things you must know about the enchanting Jem and her sublime blend of hip hop, electronica, folk and classic pop that has everyone talking.

1. Jem hails from Wales, which is known as ‘the land of song’.
Jem was born Jemma Griffiths in Wales, the beautiful country that has brought us A-list stars like Sir Anthony Hopkins, Richard Burton, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Shirley Bassey and Tom Jones to name a few. Jem spent her early years growing up in idyllic Cardiff, where she began writing songs at the age of 13. Recording her tunes on extremely basic recording equipment she decided that one day she would be a singer.

2. She has found success not once but twice ~ in the UK and the tough-to-crack US market.
Her debut release Finally Woken is a certified hit in the UK where Jem is constantly seen on billboards, in top 10 lists and even nominated for major awards, like Q’s Best New Artist Award last year.
What sets her apart from other European successes is that she has managed to translate across the pond as well, at a slower, steadier pace. The arrangement works perfectly well for the songstress who has said in interviews that she likes the balance between the crazy fame in the UK and the quieter career growth in the US; although it won’t be quiet for much longer in the States if her recent performance is anything to go by. As of March 2006, Jem featured twice in the iTunes Top 10 Electronica charts ~ at #2 with her song 24 and #10 with her song They.

3. Music from her 11-track album Finally Woken is in demand everywhere.
Like electronica guru Moby before her, Jem’s music is so in demand that featuring it on music television is simply not enough. Every single song from her album has been licensed to TV shows, movies and commercials giving her wide-spread exposure in the best way possible. Cult-hit show The O.C. was the first to use her music when they invited her to perform live on the show. Since then, Jem’s songs have featured on an impressive list of shows and films including Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, Six Feet Under, Without A Trace, Ultraviolet, and soon even on the mega-acclaimed 24.

4. Her ‘overnight’ success was 15 years in the making!
Jem wrote her first song at age 13. Although she knew she wanted to make a career in music, she wasn’t too big on the fame and stardom that accompanied it. She instead opted for a more practical approach ~ working on music on her own time while simultaneously establishing a stable life by going to college and working on a law degree. Of her time at university she says, "If I'm completely honest, I enjoyed doing my degree in law, but only because I knew I’d never make a career out of it, so I didn’t feel the pressure. And I did love the social side of university. Being involved in music felt like my natural calling.”

You can read the rest of our feature on Jem in the April 2006 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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