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Jamelia
She was just 15 when she wowed record executives with an a capella performance of her own songs, and in the 10 years since she earned her record deal, British singer Jamelia has accomplished more than most people do in a lifetime. Deftly combining a successful career with motherhood, Jameliaís become a respected musician who achieves her goals on her own terms, dismissing the notion that sheís just another pretty face who thinks she can sing.

After signing with Parlophone Records at 15, Jamelia released her first album Drama in 2000, which landed her her first hit single Money. She released two more singles and won a Mobo Award before giving birth to her first child, Teja, in 2001. Jamelia took a two-year hiatus to take care of her daughter, making an impressive comeback with 2003ís Thank You. With the release of the song Superstar, Jamelia topped charts worldwide. The song became a fixture at nightclubs worldwide and became her biggest international hit.

In October 2005, Jamelia gave birth to her second daughter, Tiani, with fiancť footballer Darren Byfield. Less than a year later, sheís back with her third album Walk With Me. With a slightly edgier sound, the album gives us an honest look into Jamelia ~ the singer, the mother and the all around superstar.

Youíve called the album Walk With Me, but thereís no track with that title. So why choose that for the album?
Jamelia:
When I first played the album to my mom the first thing she said was, ĎOh, you can always tell whatís going on in your life when you listen to one of your songs,í and it was only then that I realized how autobiographical writing an album can become. I always draw upon some sort of personal experience and so I just thought that the only way to describe it is as if you are taking someone on a journey and itís like, Ďwalk with me and see how it is to be in my shoes for a little bit.í and Iíd like people to listen to the album and feel that theyíre getting an insight into how my life is.

Were there any challenges while making this album?
Jamelia:
I must say that when I first started to write this album I struggled hugely. It wasnít an easy process because I was just so happy. There was no other emotion for me to draw upon. It gets quite boring and so I really had to dig deeper inside myself. I wrote a portion of the album before I had my second daughter, and as I said, all of that time it was absolute elation. Not to say that happiness is a bad thing to write about, but there just needs to be different elements.

Youíve got a lot of new influences on the album on tracks like Something About You and Beware Of The Dog. Are we seeing a new rock star Jamelia?
Jamelia:
For Something About You we had to do something different. I really did not want it to be a carbon copy of the last album or the biggest single off the last album. I really wanted it to be something new, something fresh and making a statement and I think that is what Something About You is. It totally demands your attention when you listen to it. Soulshock and Biker are primarily R&B producers, so I took them out of their comfort zone and I was out of my comfort zone as well, and we just came up with something and we were just like, ĎGosh, we did that.í I really think it was a great mixture of like R&B and rock and pop and I just think it was the ideal first single. I thought it was the best representation for the album as a whole because there are a lot of tracks on that album that go too far one way or too far the other. This song brings everything together and makes everything on the album all relative and Iím so happy with it.

Do you have one wish for the album and its success? One thing that people can look forward to taking from it?
Jamelia:
The one thing I hope anyone listening to my album as a whole can take from it is me. Now I know that might sound a bit strange but I really want them to feel that they know me a little bit better. They know more about me now that theyíve experienced something that youíd never experience anywhere else because itís not mine and I really want them to just feel as if theyíve read a couple of pages of my diary. Thatís how Iíd love them to feel ~ I know something you donít know.

You want people to know you but you also like your privacy. How do you balance that?
Jamelia: I love being an artist. I love writing. I love performing. Iím not aiming to be a celebrity. I just want my children to be comfortable and happy, which is part of the reason I donít like them to be photographed and I donít want them to be thrust into the limelight unless itís their choice. Weíre in a time where anyone can be a celebrity for anything and Iíd rather be known for doing something. I donít care whether or not Iím seen as a celebrity, I do care about being taken seriously as an artist and being taken seriously as a songwriter.

I know that if I did attain a certain level of celebrity then it would become probably unbearable for me because I do love my privacy. I do love being able to do things with my children. More than anything itís just Iíd like to be able to relax from being Jamelia the singer and be just Mommy sometimes and go to kidsí places and just play with the children without them feeling uncomfortable. I never feel uncomfortable because this is a situation that I made and Iím 100 per cent following my dream and doing something that I absolutely love to do, but the moment it affects my children that is going to be something hard for me to deal with. If the album is as successful as we all hope it will be then thatís all going to change and I donít know how Iím going to cope with that, I really donít.


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

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Scissor Sisters
Dream Theater
Raeth
John Densmore
Lionel Richie
Then And Now: Rod Stewart
Getting Started: Get Going!
DJ Suketu
Jesse Singh
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