“I think I’ve been able to fool a lot of people because I know I’m a dork. I’m a geek.” —Gwen Stefani, founding member and lead singer of the ska-pop group No Doubt.
Born in Fullerton, California, on October 3, 1969, Gwen Renée Stefani, Zodiac Sign: Libra,
Stefani first gained popularity in the 1990s as the lead singer of No Doubt. She went on to have a highly successful solo career and launch her own clothing line, L.A.M.B. After parting ways with her No Doubt bandmates in the early 2000s to begin a solo career that would ultimately gain little traction, Stefani reunited with band in 2012. Soon after, they began working on a new album, Push and Shove (2012). The pop icon made her debut as a new judge for the seventh season of NBC’s The Voice in September 2014.
Early Music Career
Singer, songwriter and designer Gwen Stefani was born on October 3, 1969, in Fullerton, California. Since rising to stardom as the lead singer of No Doubt, Stefani has become a popular and powerful figure in the world of music and fashion.
Taught to sew by her mother, Stefani developed an interest in fashion early on. Her love of music was influenced by her older brother Eric who played a lot of recordings by such ska revival bands as UK group Madness seen on the right.
With friend John Spence as the lead singer, Eric started the group No Doubt, and Gwen soon joined as their second vocalist. Stefani started dating fellow bandmate Tony Kanal around this time.
After Spence’s suicide in 1987, Stefani became No Doubt’s lead singer. The band toiled in clubs around their native Orange County for several years. Eventually signed to the Interscope record label, No Doubt released their self-titled debut album in 1992. Unfortunately, the album failed to attract much attention from critics or the music-buying public. Stefani’s relationship with Kanal also hit the skids, with the pair calling it quits in late 1993. Two years later, the band suffered another loss when Eric Stefani left the group.
Success on the Pop Charts
With Tragic Kingdom (1995), No Doubt emerged as a leading force in popular music. Their distinctive sound—with flavors of ska, punk, and pop—won over many new fans. Reaching the top of the album charts in late 1996, the recording’s success was driven in part by the hit single “Just a Girl,” which has been seen as an anti-sexism anthem by many. The video for the song helped make Stefani both a fashion icon and a star. Much like Madonna before her, Stefani wowed fans with her distinctive personal style. Her look borrowed from many different scenes and cultures, from punk-style bondage pants to a forehead decoration known as a bindi traditionally worn by some Indian women.
Known for her deeply personal lyrics, Stefani found a lot of material in her failed relationship with Kanal. It is said to be the inspiration for the popular ballad, “Don’t Speak,” which was one of the other hits off of Tragic Kingdom. “Excuse Me Mr.” and “Spiderwebs” also did well on the charts. Their follow-up album, Return of Saturn (2000), did well and again featured some very personal lyrics by Stefani. In the song “Ex-Girlfriend,” she expressed her frustration with a horrible break-up.
Around this time, Stefani had dyed her trademark white-blonde locks bright fuchsia. She told Marie Claire magazine that the vivid new color was in response to her break-up with Gavin Rossdale, the lead singer of the grunge band Bush. The couple later got back together.
Stefani started to emerge as an artist in her own right in 2001, singing on Eve’s smash hit “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” and Moby’s successful single “South Side.” She even netted her first Grammy Award for her work with Eve, bringing home the honor for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. That same year, No Doubt released the album, Rock Steady, which had strong hip-hop and reggae influences. The group won two Grammy Awards for songs on this album in two different years. “Hey Baby” received the Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 2002 and “Underneath It All” won that same award the following year.
After the release of Rock Steady, Stefani’s life went through some dramatic changes. She married Gavin Rossdale in a lavish ceremony in London on September 14, 2002, wearing a white-and-pink gown designed for her by John Galliano. Two other celebrations were held, including one in Los Angeles. The following year Stefani turned her love of fashion into the clothing line L.A.M.B. (which stands for Love Angel Music Baby).
In 2004, Stefani released her first solo album, Love.Angel.Music.Baby, which had more pop and club music sound than her work with No Doubt. The recording received a number of positive reviews. In making the album, Stefani worked with a number of well-known songwriters and producers, including Dr. Dre, Dallas Austin, and Linda Perry as well as her bandmate Tony Kanal. She reunited with Eve for the song “Rich Girl,” which was one of the album’s popular tracks. An even bigger hit was the infectious “Hollaback Girl,” which was one of the most popular songs of the summer of 2005. As if her successful record was not enough, Stefani made her film debut as sex symbol Jean Harlow in The Aviator (2004) starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
Her next solo effort, The Sweet Escape (2006), was also a smash hit. Stefani earned a Grammy Award nomination for her duet with Akon on the album’s title track .With a thriving solo career and a popular clothing line, Stefani maintains a busy schedule. This did not prevent her from reuniting with her No Doubt bandmates; the group headlined a national tour in 2009, after Stefani announced she would put her solo career on hold.
No Doubt Reunited
Stefani reunited with her No Doubt bandmates in 2012, performing together at the Teen Choice Awards that July, and announcing that they were working on a new album, Push and Shove (2012)—their first studio album together in nearly 11 years. This latest recording is filled with the ska-influenced sound that helped make Stefani and the band world famous. No Doubt seemed to be determined to regain their earlier success, undertaking a heavy promotional and tour schedule to make this album their next big hit.
In 2014, Stefani took her career in a new direction. She signed on to become a judge on the popular reality competition The Voice, filling in for singer Christina Aguilera. Aguilera is taking some time off from the show while expecting her second child – she gave birth to a daughter in August 2014. Stefani and fellow rookie judge Pharrell Williams joined longtime Voice judges Blake Shelton and Adam Levine on the show for the program’s seventh season.
The couple welcomed son Kingston James McGregor Rossdale on May 26, 2006. Their second son, Zuma Nesta Rock, was born August 21, 2008 and their third son, Apollo Bowie Flynn Rossdale, was born on February 28, 2014. Rossdale also has a daughter with fashion designer Pearl Lowe.
In August 2015, after more than a dozen years together, Stefani and Rossdale called it quits and announced they were divorcing.
Original article: Biography.com