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Gwen Stefani
While speaking about Gwen Stefani, is “No Doubt” the only thing that comes to your mind? Does that famous video in which a pretty girl steals the limelight from her band members and her soulful ‘Hush, hush, darling’ revolve in your head? Well, shake it off! Cause guess what! Gwen Stefani’s got her first solo album out: Love. Angel. Music. Baby.

No Doubt? Wasn’t That The Same Band That...
Yes. No Doubt was the same band that came up with songs as beautiful as Don’t Speak and those as attitude-packed as Just A Girl. No doubt was also the band that won big time at the Grammy’s and came up with 4 platinum plus albums. Yes, it was also the band that featured three guys with Gwen and yes, Tony Kanal, the bassist was born in India, but raised in UK and US.

In fact, Tony joined the band a bit later. The original line-up comprised of John Spence, Gwen Stefani, and Eric, her sibling. The band formed in early ’87 and suffered a tragic loss in December that very year, when Spence took his own life. Since then Gwen became the band’s only voice. No Doubt grew in size when guitarist Tom Dumont and drummer Adrian Young joined in.

Post a few live acts, Interscope Records took interest in No Doubt, and out came a self-titled debut in ‘92, which went down pretty much unrecognised. Interscope backed off. The next album was a self-release, called as the Beacon Street Collection. Of course, you may not find many people who have heard about this one. It was pretty uncooked, yet more punk-inspired than the debut. And this time around, when the album went out, it took Gwen’s brother Eric away from the band.

Interscope showed some interest again in late 1994 in No Doubt and the recordings resumed. Tragic Kingdom was out in ’95. The album contained hits like Just A Girl, Spiderwebs and Don’t Speak and it entered the Top Ten in ’96. By the end of that year, Tragic Kingdom kissed the number one spot and Don’t Speak became the band’s biggest song till date. Oh by the way, it was during the release of this album that Gwen broke her seven-year-old relationship with Tony.

The albums that followed were The Return of Saturn and Rock Steady in 2000 and 2001. Amongst the hit songs from No Doubt in that era, you might find Simple Kind Of Life and Hey Baby. In between these, Gwen teamed with Eve for the single, Let Me Blow Your Mind, which earned a 2002 Grammy as the Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.
Okay, enough about No Doubt.

Love. Angel. Music. Baby. Gwen. Wow!
No, Gwen didn’t always look at herself as an iconic woman of considerable magnitude as she is today. By 17, she was pretty much doing those usual things, which a girl of her age will do. You know, falling in love with a cute boy in school, dreaming about a love-filled family with a few junior Gwens around. But then she kind of discovered herself. “I learned that I could write songs and that is when my life changed.” she quoted, recollecting the years, ”I went from being this really passive girl to ‘Oh my God, this makes me feel so powerful when I write these words.’ It was such a turning point to find that I had a talent and I had something to contribute, somewhere.” But this is Gwen’s, No Doubt lead singer’s, solo we’re talking about. And you are bound to ask that killer question: How will this album be different?

In Gwen’s words, the “real difference” is that with No Doubt everything is a full collaboration. “Everybody has their vote and their energy.” She said, “Working with new collaborators and letting people in to try new melodies and new lyrical ideas was very hard. The idea was to be open and let my ego shut up and sit over in the corner and make something great based on a concept.” Maybe that’s the reason why Gwen doesn’t really see this as a ‘solo’ record. “It’s an art project,“ she said, “it’s me collaborating with some different people to create something magical.” Note the tense: “No Doubt is a full collaboration.” So we haven’t seen the band’s last yet.

You can read the rest of our feature on Gwen Stefani in the February 2005 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.

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