Jamelia Niela Davis (born on 11
January 1981), best known mononymously as Jamelia, is a British
singer-songwriter and model, most famous for her use of a capella and
prolific work in the R&B genre. She has released three studio albums, each
of which has reached the Top 40 in her native UK, which collectively have
spawned eight UK top ten singles. In addition, Jamelia has won four MOBO
Awards, a Q award and has received nine BRIT Award nominations.
Jamelia was born in Smethwick in the county of the West Midlands of the
United Kingdom, to a Zimbabwean father and a Jamaican mother and raised in
the Winson Green area of Birmingham. She was signed to Parlophone at the
age of fifteen, after impressing record executives with self-written a
cappella songs. She attended the The City Technology College in
Kingshurst, Solihull. She gave birth to her first daughter Teja on 18
March 2001 and her second daughter Tiani on 21 October 2005. On 9 October
2007 she announced her engagement to footballer Darren Byfield, the father
of Tiani. However, in late 2009 they announced that they are to separate.
Jamelia was signed to Capitol Records at the age of fifteen after record
producers were informed of her talents via her self-written a cappella
music she recorded on a karaoke machine. Impressed music executives
offered her a record deal and she was hot footed for success. In late
1999, Jamelia debuted on the music scene with the single "So High", a
collaboration with fellow R&B vocalist Rosita Lynch. The single failed to
chart in both the UK and mainland Europe, and did not appear on any of
Jamelia's subsequent albums. Following the poor sales of the single,
Jamelia left Capitol Records, but was quickly signed up with record
company Parlophone, a branch of the EMI company.
Taking some time to record her debut album, Drama, Jamelia returned the
music scene in early 2000 with the single "I Do", which became her first
commercially successful single in the UK and mainland Europe, making the
UK top forty and holding top twenty positions in France and Sweden. The
single's mediocre chart success, however, led to the delay of the release
of Drama. Jamelia's third single, "Money" (featuring rapper Beenie Man and
co-written by UK The X Factor finalist Daniel De Bourg), was released in
February 2000. The single was the singer's breakthrough in the UK, peaking
at number five and spending nine weeks inside the UK top seventy-five; it
later won a MOBO Award for "Best Video" in 2000. Despite the success of
"Money", Drama did not make a major chart impression in the UK, where it
peaked at number thirty-nine. The third single from the album, "Call Me",
reached number eleven, and the fourth single, "Boy Next Door", peaked at
Recognition for the singer's early success came in late 2000 and 2001 at
the BRIT Awards. Jamelia was nominated for Best British Newcomer, Best
British Video and Best British Female. This would prove to be the first of
many nominations for the singer.
Jamelia recorded her second studio album, Thank You, in 2002 and early
2003 following the birth of her daughter Teja in 2001. The first single
lifted from Thank You was the R&B-influenced "Bout", on which she
collaborated with American rap star Rah Digga; it debuted at number
thirty-seven in the UK. The second single, the much poppier "Superstar",
became Jamelia's highest peaking at the time when it peaked at number
three, and earned the spot of the twenty-sixth best-selling of 2003 in the
UK. It remains Jamelia's only single to receive a BPI certification.
Parent album Thank You, released shortly after "Superstar", was widely
expected to duplicate the single's success, but entered the UK chart at
number sixty-five. Subsequently, a number of record producers worked with
Jamelia on a re-release of the album that features new artwork and track
listing, including two new songs: her collaboration with Coldplay's Chris
Martin, "See It in a Boy's Eyes", and "DJ".
Promoting the re-release, title track "Thank You" was released shortly
before. Known to be Jamelia's favourite of all her releases, the song
became her highest charting single to date in the UK, where it peaked at
number two and received the 2004 MOBO Award for "Best Single" and a BRIT
Award nomination in the same category. Fourth single "See it in a Boy's
Eyes" was released in mid 2004 and became Jamelia's third consecutive top
five hit, winning a MOBO Award for "Best Video" and a Q Award for "Best
Single". The success of Thank You resulted in five BRIT Award nominations
for Jamelia in 2004 and 2005 for Best British Female, Best British Single,
Best Female Solo Act, and Best British Urban Act. The album became the
thirty-sixth best-selling of 2004 and has been certified double platinum
by the BPI in recognition of 600,000 copies shipped to retailers.
Jamelia also contributed a cover version of Kool and the Gang's "Straight
Ahead for their Remix/Covers album The Hits: Reloaded .
In mid 2004, she collaborated with Italian singer Tiziano Ferro on
"Universal Prayer" for the 2004 Olympic Games soundtrack. It became her
first number-one single in Italy and Spain and was added to non-UK
editions of Thank You. In late 2004, Jamelia was asked to contribute to
the Band Aid 20 charity single "Do They Know It's Christmas?", on which
she sang with Will Young. The single topped the UK Singles Chart and was
certified platinum. Around the same time, Jamelia released the lead single
from the soundtrack of the film Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, a cover
of Sam Brown's 1988 single "Stop!"; it was released as double A-side in
the UK with the aforementioned "DJ", and peaked at number nine.
Following the birth of her second daughter, Tiani, in 2005, Jamelia began
recording her third album, Walk With Me. Its lead single, "Something About
You", was released in late 2006 and described as "less R&B, more
experimental", with Popjustice hailing it as "an incredible pop single".
The single became Jamelia's first to enter the charts solely on download
sales alone, debuting at number 28, rising to number 9 almost a month
later following the physical release. Walk with Me was released shortly
after and drew critical praise, with many critics claiming that it marked
a significant turn in the singer's career as she moved from R&B to
The album did not emulate the chart success of Thank You, managing to
debut only at number twenty on the UK Albums Chart. The second single,
"Beware of the Dog", features a sample from Depeche Mode's 1989 song
"Personal Jesus" and was heavily praised as being Jamelia's best single to
date, with BBC Radio 1's "Chart Blog" stating that it "might just be one
of the best pop songs ever made" and "the best pop song of the year",
receiving a five-star rating. The single became the second consecutive top
ten effort from the singer's third album, reaching number ten in the UK.
Later, it was nominated for Popjustice's 2007 £20 Music Prize, coming in
second place behind Amy Winehouse. The final single to be released from
the album was "No More", which samples The Stranglers' 1981 single "Golden
Brown". It made the A-list on BBC Radio 2, but failed to garner much sales
success, debuting at #43.
Walk With Me became the singer's second album to receive a BPI
certification. After four months of release, it sold over
one-hundred-thousand copies and was awarded with a Gold certification.
However, despite producing two top-ten singles and garnering mostly
positive reviews, Walk With Me had disappointing sales success compared to
her second album, Thank You, which went on to become certified double
In an interview with Digital Spy in December 2009, Jamelia commented that
she wasn't surprised that the album didn't sell well. "I probably wasn't
in the right frame of mind with Walk With Me...I love all the songs
individually, but I don't feel it flows very well as an album, which makes
it harder to relate to. It sold well over 100,000 copies - but I want
In late 2007 the singer released a singles collection entitled Superstar -
The Hits. The compilation album features eleven of her fourteen releases,
omitting the 1999 single "So High", Drama singles "I Do" and "Boy Next
Door" and the non-UK 2004 release "Universal Prayer". The collection,
which only managed to debut at #55 on the UK Album Charts, was criticized
for its hastiness, brevity and lack of new tracks or artwork. This proved
to be her final album for Parlophone, which she left weeks after the
collection's release amid rumors that the sales performance of Walk With
Me had been a factor in the decision of the artist and label to part ways,
and the decision to release the singles collection.
Jamelia is scheduled to release a new album, currently untitled, in 2010.
The album will be the first to be released by the singer since parting
ways with former record label Parlophone. On 7 April 2008, she confirmed
that she had been in the studio with producers Shea Taylor (Rihanna,
Beyoncé, Janet Jackson) and Syience (Jay-Z, John Legend, Mary J Blige). On
8 July 2008, it was reported that hip hop producer Pharrell Williams wants
to work with Jamelia on her upcoming album. Rhian Prosser Burns has been
quoted as saying she is interested in writing for the singer.
In an interview with Digital Spy in December 2009 the singer commented on
being a rumoured replacement for Keisha Buchanan, within the Sugababes and
spoke about work with her ongoing album, which was going "absolutely
amazing." She stated that she was working with producers who have
previously worked with Lady Gaga and Beyonce, and that the album returned
her sound to 2004's Thank You. She also vowed to come back with a "really
exciting" album. The single is slated for release to radio in March 2010.
Jamelia has also appeared on the Disney channel show Under Cover Coach and
coached a girl called Amy in singing.
In August 2007 Jamelia split from boyfriend Darren Byfield. The couple are
parents to daughter Tiani. Jamelia also has another child, Teja, from a
previous relationship. The couple were reconciled a couple of months
later. and in October 2007 they announced their engagement. On 15 June
2008 it was reported the couple wed on the previous day in West Sussex. On
3 November 2009 it was announced that the couple were filing for divorce.
She participated at the Peta's campaign "Would Rather Go Naked Than Wear
Jamelia was good friends with the late Jade Goody and attended her wedding
to Jack Tweed in February 2009 and her funeral in April 2009 alongside her
husband and Davina McCall.
Jamelia revealed on the January 8th 2010 episode of 8 Out Of 10 Cats that
she homeschools her children.