About Vanessa Amorosi
A pop singer known for her passionate and agile vocal delivery, Vanessa Amorosi became the first Australian woman to reach number one on the ARIA chart with a debut when she released The Power in 2000. It was accompanied by invitations to perform at both the opening and closing ceremonies of that year's Summer Olympic Games in Sydney. She returned to the Australian Top Ten with 2008's Somewhere in the Real World as well as the next year's Hazardous. Following a decade-long gap between albums that included a scrapped LP and differences with her label, she returned with sets including 2020's stylistically rawer The Blacklisted Collection, her sixth album and first to be independently released.
Born in Melbourne to parents who were both professional singer/dancers on the Australasian cabaret circuit, Vanessa Joy Amorosi grew up surrounded by music and singing. By the age of four, she and her younger sisters were taking tap, jazz, and classical ballet classes at a school run by their uncle. The big turning point came when, at 14 years of age, Amorosi took a part-time job singing in a Russian restaurant. Her powerful voice was noticed by TV producer Jack Strom, who had at the time recently formed a management company with 1970s pop star Mark Holden. Amorosi signed a management contract with them in 1997 and set about recording her first album. After rejections from all the major record companies, a deal was found with BMG-distributed independent Transistor Recordings. Amorosi was their first Australian signee. In May 1999, she flew to London to record several tracks, including her debut single, with producer Steve Mac, known for his work with pop acts Boyzone and Five and, subsequently, Westlife.
The single, "Have a Look," became a Top 20 hit in 1999. The follow-up, dance-pop track "Absolutely Everybody," reached as high as number six and spent 27 weeks in the Top 40. Released in April 2000, The Power album went all the way to number one, a first for a debut by an Australian woman. In all, the record generated five major hits and international interest in her recordings. That September, Amorosi was the only artist to be featured in both the opening and the closing ceremonies of the Sydney Olympics.
After signing with CBK/Universal, Amorosi's second album, Change, arrived in Germany in late 2002. However, it never received an Australian release apart from lead-up singles including "Spin (Everybody's Doin' It)," which cracked Australia's Top 40. In 2003, the singer performed a blues set at the Melbourne International Music and Blues Festival and sang a track from Change for Germany's Wetten, Dass…? and the U.K.'s Top of the Pops, both from TV studios in Germany.
After changing management teams in 2006, Amorosi signed with Universal Music Australia. She supported Kiss on a tour of Australia in early 2008 before issuing her third long-player, Somewhere in the Real World, in May. It was embraced by fans, and both the album and single "Perfect" climbed to number four on their respective charts at home. In 2009, she had a Top 40 hit with "The Letter," a collaboration with Hoobastank, before debuting at the top of the singles chart with her own song, "This Is Who I Am." It was taken from her fourth studio LP, Hazardous, which also offered the Top Five hit "Mr. Mysterious." The album peaked at number seven on the Australia album chart.
In 2011, Amorosi returned with a pair of songs from an album teased with the title V; only one of them, "Amazing," landed in the Top 100, peaking at 83. That November, she announced that the album was delayed and she was parting ways with Universal. The following year, she toured with Eurythmics' Dave Stewart, including a show at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, and she was later featured on Stewart's 2013 album Lucky Numbers. Amorosi also appeared on the bill of a Beatles tribute concert organized by Stewart and held at the Hollywood Bowl in 2014. A duet she recorded with New Zealand singer Jon Stevens called "Something 'Bout You" (from 2017's Starlight) was produced and co-written by Dave Stewart. Finally, in April 2019, Amorosi released the solo single "Heavy Lies the Head" in a distribution arrangement between Universal Music Australia and independent label Angel Works. The song was included on that November's Back to Love, her first long-player in ten years.
Just seven months later, in June 2020, Amorosi returned with a more raw and intimate sound on The Blacklisted Collection. Her sixth studio album overall, it was her first to be self-released. She swiftly followed with another record in 2021, the soulful, gospel-influenced Volume 1. ~ Marcy Donelson & Ed Nimmervoll