Diana Vickers

Diana Vickers
Diana Vickers
Background information
Birth name Diana Vickers
Born 30 July 1991 (1991-07-30) (age 20)
Origin Blackburn, Lancashire, England
Genres Indie pop,[1] indie rock,[2] folktronica,[3] folk pop,[4] new wave,[5] synthpop[6]
Occupations Musician, singer-songwriter, stage actress, fashion designer
Instruments Vocals, trumpet[7], acoustic guitar
Years active 2008-present
Labels RCA (2009–2011)
Associated acts Enrique Iglesias, Jennifer Lopez
Website dianavickersmusic.com

Diana Vickers (born 30 July 1991) is an English singer-songwriter, stage actress and fashion designer who initially came to public attention as a semi-finalist on the fifth series of British talent show The X Factor in 2008. In January 2009 Vickers signed a record deal with RCA Records and after touring with her fellow finalists from The X Factor until March 2009, began work on her debut album, Songs from the Tainted Cherry Tree, until September 2009.

From October 2009 to January 2010 Vickers played the title role in a West End revival of The Rise and Fall of Little Voice for which she won the award for "London Newcomer of the Year" at the Theatregoers' Choice Awards. Vickers' debut single, "Once", charted at number one on the UK Singles Chart after its release on 19 April 2010 and has sold over 210,000 copies in the United Kingdom. Vickers' debut album was released on 3 May 2010 in the United Kingdom achieving number one status on the UK Albums Chart, number seven on the Irish Albums Chart and number four on the European Top 100 Albums, and has been certified Gold by the BPI.[8] Songs from the Tainted Cherry Tree went on to sell over 200,000 copies in the United Kingdom.

Her second single, "The Boy Who Murdered Love", charted at number 36 on the UK Singles Chart. This was followed by her third single, "My Wicked Heart", which was released on 17 October 2010 digitally and on 1 November 2010 physically. "My Wicked Heart" peaked at number 13 on the UK Singles Chart, making it Vickers' third consecutive Top 40 single. Vickers performed the track live on The X Factor results show on 17 October 2010.

Vickers' musical career has been commercially successful thus far, with total sales of over 500,000 records in the UK alone for her three singles and debut album. Vickers is currently co-writing material for a second album, which is planned for release in 2012.[5] In May 2011 Vickers unveiled her debut fashion line for Very.co.uk titled "Dee V" reinforcing her signature quirky fashion sense.[9] Vickers' distinctive and unique boho-chic approach to fashion has achieved industry praise from prestigious fashion magazines including Grazia,[10] Look,[11] and Harpers Bazaar.[12] In September 2011 it was publicised that Vickers would be going into partnership with make-up and cosmetic range, Collection 2000 to be the face for their autumn and winter 2011 capsule line to be sold in Boots and Superdrug stores from 28 September 2011.[13]

On 30 June 2011 Vickers announced via her official Tumblr blog that she had parted company with her label, RCA Records, by mutual consent for purely creative reasons.[14] On 28 July 2011 Vickers announced on a Ustream web chat that she would be releasing a downloadable EP before the end of 2011 to showcase a sample of her second era of music.[15] On 5 September 2011 Vickers' manager Annecka Griffiths at Modest! Management confirmed that Vickers was still unsigned and that a new record deal would be sought upon completion of her second album.[16]

Contents

Early life

Vickers was born in Blackburn, Lancashire, England and grew up in the village of Huncoat near Accrington.[17] When Vickers reached the age of 16 she originally planned to study hard for her A Levels and either attend drama school or travel to Thailand to find herself.[18] She studied for A Levels in Theatre Studies, Classics and Psychology at Westholme School in Blackburn.[19] Vickers has been singing since the age of 11,[20] taking singing lessons and participating in local competitions, but had never sung professionally.[21]

Music career

2008–2009: The X Factor and record deal

In 2008 Vickers auditioned for the fifth series of The X Factor, singing "The Blower's Daughter" by Damien Rice where Louis Walsh commented that she resembled a "little hippie"[22] eventually making it to the live shows. Vickers was selected for the live shows and was mentored by Cheryl Cole along with fellow competitors, Alexandra Burke and Laura White.

Vickers' live show performances were often unconventional, attracting both praise and criticism. Judge Simon Cowell likened her to Marmite, saying fans would either love or hate her unusual singing style, stating that he "loved it".[23]

On her first live show Vickers sang U2's "With or Without You". Vickers then covered Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror", for which she received nothing but praise with Dannii Minogue describing it as "box fresh" and Simon Cowell remarking she was "the one to beat". The following week Vickers performed Charlie Chaplin's "Smile" which again received much praise and the judges were even more impressed with her version of Blondie's "Call Me".

In week 5 of the live show stages Vickers missed the live show without performing following a bout of laryngitis.[24] She had wanted to perform the Mariah Carey song "Always Be My Baby" up until a few hours before the show, but her doctor advised her not to, saying Vickers could do permanent damage to her vocal cords. This is the first time the producers have ever excused any act from performing.

In week six Vickers returned to the programme performing Coldplay's "Yellow", which received a negative reaction from the judges; Dannii Minogue commented that she did not "love the song choice", while Cowell suggested Vickers was still not well enough to perform. In week seven Vickers performed Take That's "Patience" commenting that she felt one hundred percent once again and hoped to deliver her best performance to date. During the show, guest Gary Barlow offered to sign her if Cowell did not, to which Cowell responded, "We will not be accepting Gary Barlow's kind offer for a recording contract. Leona [Lewis] has done fine with me, thank you Gary."

In the week nine semi finals of the competition, Vickers performed Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend" as her first song and received excellent comments from all the judges, including Cheryl Cole's comment that "she had got that sparkle back". Vickers followed this with Dido's "White Flag" but was subsequently voted out of the competition[20], resulting in one of the most emotional eliminations in X-Factor history; towards the end of her final performance, Quigg, Burke & JLS all rushed onto the stage for one last tearful hug.

Vickers was the bookies' favourite to win the competition from the second live show for seven consecutive weeks.[25] She was eliminated in the semi-final (week nine), achieving fourth place overall.[26] Following the end of the series, she went on tour with the rest of the final eight contestants on The X Factor Live tour between February and March 2009. While on the show, her trademark was to perform in her bare feet. Vickers additionally gained national attention for her hand gestures on stage coining the nickname "The Claw".[27][28]

After The X Factor it was initially announced that Vickers would be signed by Sony Music under the Syco label along with JLS and Eoghan Quigg but this plan for her to join Syco was later dropped.[29] Instead, she signed to Sony Music's RCA Records.[30] She began work on her debut album, Songs from the Tainted Cherry Tree, in January 2009,[31] commenting that it would not be rushed and that it would be "Diana style". She worked with Cathy Dennis, Eg White, Nerina Pallot, Ellie Goulding, Cass Lowe, Guy Sigsworth, Chris Braide, Savan Kotecha, Starsmith, Alexis Strum,[32] Patrick Wolf and Dev Hynes aka Lightspeed Champion.[33]

2009–2010: Songs from the Tainted Cherry Tree

Vickers' debut single "Once" was written by Cathy Dennis and Eg White and produced by Mike Spencer. The track was released in the United Kingdom on 19 April 2010,[34] after it was playlisted on Radio 1 and the music video premiered via Channel 4's Freshly Squeezed music programme.[35][36] On 22 April 2010 Vickers performed an acoustic version of "Once" and a cover of Snow Patrol's "Just Say Yes" on Radio 1's Live Lounge. On 25 April 2010 "Once" entered the UK Singles Chart at number one selling approximately 70,000 copies in its first week of release.[37] In March 2010 Vickers' first leg of the Songs from the Tainted Cherry Tree Tour took place, during which she showcased material from the album.[38]

On 15 April 2010 plans for Vickers' second single were confirmed.[39] "The Boy Who Murdered Love" was written and produced by Chris Braide at his studio in London, with lyric contribution from Vickers.[40] The video for the second single was shot in the week commencing 26 April 2010 in London.[41] Vickers embarked on the second leg of her UK Tour in May 2010 promoting her newly released album, Songs From The Tainted Cherry Tree, which on 9 May 2010 charted at number one on the UK Albums Chart selling approximately 36,000 copies in its first week of release. On 25 July 2010 the album returned to the upper reaches of the UK Albums Chart, rising 29 places from number 42 to number 13.[42]

On 23 May 2010 Vickers performed an acoustic version of "The Boy Who Murdered Love" and Biffy Clyro's "Many of Horror" at Radio 1's Big Weekend. Vickers released her second single, "The Boy Who Murdered Love", on 18 July 2010 and it peaked at number 36 on the UK Singles Chart.[43] Vickers' performed "Once", "The Boy Who Murdered Love" and debut album tracks "N.U.M.B" and "Notice" for a live session for MTV. On 28 July 2010 iTunes released an exclusive EP of Vickers performing at the 2010 iTunes Festival. It included singles "Once", "The Boy Who Murdered Love", album tracks "Notice", "My Hip", a cover of Snow Patrol's "Just Say Yes", but did not include album track "Put It Back Together" nor "You'll Never Get to Heaven", which she also performed.

Vickers appeared at many festivals throughout Summer 2010, including the 2010 V Festival, The Live Lounge Stage at Radio 1's Big Weekend 2010, Stoke Festival, T4 on the Beach, T in the Park, 2010 Oxygen Festival, iTunes Festival, 2010 Sundae Festival and 2010 Freedom Festival, promoting her debut album.[44][45][46] Vickers also supported Mika at the Eden Sessions in 2010.

On 31 August 2010 Vickers participated in a live Ustream video chat in which she confirmed that her third single would be a brand new track titled "My Wicked Heart" co-written by Vickers and songwriters Dee Adams and James Earp and also produced by them. The track features Vickers playing the trumpet. The single received its first radio play on 12 September 2010 by Tom Deacon on The 5:19 Show. "My Wicked Heart" was digitally released on 17 October 2010 and physically released on 7 November 2010. The video for "My Wicked Heart" premiered on ITV2 at 6.55 pm on 2 October 2010; it features Vickers in a circus tent with gymnasts and drummer boys.

On 16 October 2010 it was reported that Red Hot Chili Peppers was considering legal action over similarities between the chorus of the band's well known song "Under The Bridge" and "My Wicked Heart". Vickers admitted in an interview that she had been listening to "Under The Bridge" shortly before working on "My Wicked Heart" and had noticed but decided to ignore the similarities.[47] On 17 October 2010 Vickers returned to The X Factor stage, two years after she was last there, to perform "My Wicked Heart".

In an interview with Digital Spy she announced the possibility of "Songs from the Tainted Cherry Tree" getting a solely digital download re-release. She also stated "I've been writing so much and got so many tracks under my belt. I think I'm very close to ready for the second album actually."[48] Vickers embarked on a UK radio tour to promote "My Wicked Heart", which started on 18 October 2010 and ended on 24 October 2010. On 24 October "My Wicked Heart" charted at number 13 on the UK Singles Chart, number 12 on the Scottish Singles Chart and number 22 on the Irish Singles Chart selling 50,000 copies to date. Vickers' fourth leg of the Songs from the Tainted Cherry Tree Tour began on 8 November 2010, touring the UK and for the first time, Ireland where Vickers showcased "More Than This", a previously unheard track, to promote her second album.

2010–present: Untitled upcoming second album and extended play

On 3 June 2010, Vickers announced that she had started preparing songs for a second album.[49] In an interview with Orange Music, Vickers revealed that the new direction would be "sexy", "adventurous" and inspired and influenced by indie and rock music, citing the works of The xx, The Doors, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Bjork.[2] Vickers has co-written material with Nerina Pallot (who penned "Put It Back Together" for Vickers' debut album), Eg White (who co-wrote "Once"), Starsmith, Chris Braide and Dee Adam (who co-wrote "My Wicked Heart" with Vickers).[50] On 6 January 2011 Vickers travelled to Los Angeles, United States, to co-write material with John Shanks and Diane Warren. On 15 January 2011 Vickers played her debut gig in the United States at Cherry Pop in West Hollywood promoted via Perez Hilton.[51]

On 11 March 2011, it was announced that Vickers has been collaborating with Starsailor front-man James Walsh indicating a heavier and rockier direction for her second album.[52] Vickers made a second visit to Los Angeles on 14 March 2011, to do further studio work with John Shanks.

On 30 June 2011, Vickers revealed on her official Tumblr account that she had parted company with RCA Records due to creative differences. She went on further to assure her fans that the second album is still proceeding and that she is proud of it. It was uncertain whether Vickers would be signed to a new record label or would release her album independently. It was later confirmed on 5 September 2011 by Vickers' manager Annecka Griffiths at Modest! Management that a new record deal would be sought upon completion of her second album.[53]

On 1 July 2011, it was uncovered that the mutual separation between Vickers and her management was due to musical direction where Vickers wants to pursue a more indie, less-commercial route.[54]

On 13 July 2011, Popjustice reviewed three tracks from Vickers' second album titled, "Boy In Paris", "Cinderella" and "Music To Make The Boys Cry" commenting that the songwriting standard was extremely high and that, "the tunes – the melodies – are huge". The article presented how the three tracks were a result of studio sessions with Donkeyboy and Miranda Cooper. Popjustice confirmed that the new material would be released in 2012.[55]

On 28 July 2011, Vickers announced via a Ustream web chat that she would be releasing a downloadable EP before the end of 2011 to showcase a sample of her second era of music. Vickers confirmed that she has recorded over thirty tracks for her new album to be released early next year. As they cannot all feature on the album, a taster EP will be available to download over the coming months. A release date is yet to be confirmed for the EP.[15] On 12 August 2011 it was unveiled that Vickers had collaborated with MNEK where the British record producer tweeted that "pop gems" had been made as a result of their studio sessions.[56]

Work with other artists

Vickers co-wrote the Enrique Iglesias and Jennifer Lopez single "Mouth 2 Mouth" for Iglesias's reissue album Euphoria Reloaded.[57]

Acting career

This young girl is a natural actress. The moment she read the part, it was magic. A frisson ran through the room. Diana Vickers is the real deal. She is Little Voice.

Jim Cartwright on Vickers[58]

Vickers made her professional acting debut in the title role of a new revived West End production of Jim Cartwright's The Rise and Fall of Little Voice on 8 October 2009 at the Vaudeville Theatre, on The Strand, London.[59][60] She played Little Voice, who hides a talent as an impersonator of singers such as Shirley Bassey, Edith Piaf and Judy Garland.[58][61]

Mark Owen of Take That wrote "Sunlight", the final song in the play for Vickers to sing.[62][63] "Sunlight" was featured as a B-Side for her debut single, "Once". Vickers took a break from recording her debut album to star in the production.[64] Vickers' performance received more positive reviews than any other show of that year.

Vickers' performance received a good review in The Guardian in which they said that "[Vickers'] singing is impressive, we were surprised at her vocal abilities."[65] Her stint was deemed "magical" in The Daily Telegraph.[66] Quentin Letts of the Daily Mail also gave a positive review of Vickers' performance.[67] She won the Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers' Choice Award "London Newcomer of the Year" in February 2010 for her performance, with 34.5% of the vote out of 7 other competitors.[68][69][70]

Artistry

Musical style and influences

Vickers' musical style scopes from simple folk-tinged, keyboard and guitar based ballads[4] to more up-tempo indie rock and synth-based songs with full band backing.[71] Her musical style has been compared to Kate Bush,[72] Ellie Goulding,[73] Dido,[74] and Dolores O'Riordan.[75] Vickers additionally showcases a quirky and idiosyncratic style of singing often described as breathy, raspy and hiccupy.[76][77][78] Vickers has cited an array of influences including Florence + The Machine, Kate Bush, Regina Spektor, Mariah Carey, Kings of Leon, Frou Frou, Sinéad O'Connor and The Sundays.[18] Vickers commented on her musical style and career saying:

Right from the start they [RCA Records] were interested in the fact that I wrote lyrics, I could play more than one instrument and that I wanted to make a record that could have only been made by me. It was important with me to be completely open with co-writers.[79]

Discussing the musical style of her forthcoming second album, Vickers declared that she had been inspired by indie and rock music to experiment with different sounds. Vickers has stated that the music of The xx, The Doors, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Björk has influenced her latest work.[2]

Public image

Apart from Vickers' musical style, she is well known for her unique and kooky boho-chic and hippie-influenced appearance.[80][81] Vickers' trademark style includes messy, back-combed "bird's nest" hair[82] and vintage inspired clothing where she is often seen wearing outfits from London's Brick Lane, Camden and Beyond Retro. Vickers' fashion icons are Brigitte Bardot and Marilyn Monroe.[83] Vickers has encouraged dedicated fashion blogs documenting her latest attire and has been labelled a fashionista in the making by Grazia.[84] On 29 October 2009 Vickers was awarded "Fashionista of the Week" in The Guardian[85] and on 3 June 2010, Vickers was nominated for "Best Dressed Woman of The Year" at The Clothes Show Style Awards 2010.[86]

Dee V for Very fashion line

On 20 May 2011 Vickers launched an eight-piece clothing collection for Very.co.uk titled "Dee V". The debut collection ranged from £20 to £99 for items including sequin dresses adorned with blossom, bird and dog prints, cotton tees and wide leg jeans.[87] On 24 August 2011 Vickers announced that she would be launching a competition to celebrate her weekly "Vickers Wicked Wednesday" event. The winner would receive the mini sequin dress from her collection, worth £99. On 26 August she announced the winner via her Tumblr blog.[88] After a best-selling debut range, Vickers launched a second collection for Very.co.uk on 13 July 2011. The second collection is inspired by the fashionable television series Mad Men and emphasises Vickers' uniquely iconic style.[89] On 1 September 2011 Vickers tweeted that a further collection was designed for her "Dee V" for Very range exclusively for the Christmas period which went on sale from September 2011. A faux-fur knitted dress and a leather biker jacket were among Vickers' Christmas statement pieces.[90]

Make-up line

In September 2011 Vickers posted on her Tumblr blog that she would be the face of Collection 2000's autumn and winter capsule make-up line. Vickers helped select products for the range, which includes mascaras, smoky eyeshadows, false lashes and bright lipsticks. It goes on sale in Boots and Superdrug stores in the United Kingdom from 28 September 2011. As part of the campaign, Vickers ran a competition on her blog to win a bag full of Collection 2000 products.[91]

Personal life

Vickers has been dating One Night Only frontman, George Craig.[92] In July 2011 Vickers gave an interview in which she revealed how they got together: "We chatted at a party, then he tried to woo me. He was very persistent for about three months, sending me lovely texts. Then we were at another party, he picked up a guitar, we got talking and that was it."[93]

Philanthropy

In March 2010 Vickers supported JLS for a charity performance in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust at the Royal Albert Hall in London to raise money for teenagers who are suffering from cancer.[94] In July 2010 Vickers performed at a charity event "Give Tilly a Hand", helping to raise funds in a charity evening for meningitis victim Tilly Lockley.[95] For anti-bullying week 2010 in the UK, Vickers uploaded a video to her official website encouraging young people to stand up to bullies.[96] In August 2010 Vickers wrote a column in The Sun newspaper opposing the use of drugs and legal highs after witnessing disturbing effects of people "out of control" at the UK summer festival circuit warning that, "just because a drug is legal, you cannot assume it is safe."[97] In an interview with Now Magazine Vickers announced that since rising to fame she has been offered drugs but will always say no to them concluding, "I've never tried them [drugs] and I'm very proud of that."[98] On 28 September 2010 Vickers played an intimate gig as part of the month long "Oxjam Festival" which raised money in support of charity Oxfam.[99]

On 10 March 2011 Vickers launched an eBay competition accredited on behalf of Comic Relief which encouraged people to place bids where the highest bidder at the end of the charity auction wins Vickers as a Twitter "best friend". The winning bidder gets followed and regularly mentioned on the social networking website by Vickers over a 90-day period where proceeds from the winning bid raises money for Red Nose Day to help vulnerable, poor and disadvantaged people in the UK and Africa.[100]

Discography

  • Songs from the Tainted Cherry Tree (2010)

Tours

  • The X Factor Live Tour (2009)
  • Songs from the Tainted Cherry Tree Tour (2010)
  • Support act for JLS' Summer Tour (2010)

See also

References

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