British singer Natasha Bedingfield has gotten married in Malibu. People Magazine reports the pop songstress wed California businessman Matthew Robinson in a 30-minute outdoor ceremony overlooking the Pacific Ocean on Saturday. About 150 guests watched Bedingfield walk down the aisle in a Vera Wang dress beside the chateau at the Church Estates Vineyards. Bedingfield’s albums include “Unwritten,” “N.B.” and “Pocketful of Sunshine.”
Natasha took the US by storm last year with the first British chart topping hit by a female in almost twenty years. Vanity Fair singled her out as the spearhead of a new Britpop invasion; she became one of the faces of Gap (alongside Mia Farrow and Common); she was invited by her hero Prince to jam with him at a private party; Bono enlisted her for his (RED) campaign; and her song Unwritten proved to be the most played song on mainstream American radio in 2006.
She blasted her way up the British charts in 2004 with her typically outspoken take on the lifestyles of independent young women. So her return to action this year may come as something of a surprise…
“I want to make music that matches who I am. My first album was about independence and opportunism. I’m still very independent and I find it hard to let go of that freedom, but I’m in a different place now. Natasha Bedingfield’s sophomore album N.B. is very much reflective of this ‘different place’ that she is in now, proving that affairs of the heart, although difficult, make for excellent song-writing material. Each track on the album explores a varying stage of the ‘relationship’ story, and the issues, experiences, and processes that come with these stages: from the lonely place of never feeling like you will fit with anyone (Soulmate), through the flirting, dancing stage where you feel you might (How Do You Do?), to the moment at which the game playing ends and open honesty prevails (Say It Again). Never one to mouth empty platitudes or re-hash well-worn clichés, Natasha’s gift for creating pop music that does not sacrifice intelligence on the altar of universal appeal prevails throughout.
Recorded in Los Angeles, Natasha Bedingfield has co-written and co-produced N.B., working with a stellar team of talent including Mike Elizondo of Eminem/Dre/50 Cent fame, Adam Levine (Maroon 5), Greg Kurstin (Beck, Lily Allen), previous collaborators Steve Kipner, Andrew Frampton, Wayne Wilkins, Danielle Brisebois and Wayne Rodrigues and long time Madonna collaborator Pat Leonard.
The first cut to be taken from N.B. is forthcoming single I Wanna Have Your Babies, due to be accompanied by a colourful and entertaining video from Dave Meyers (Pink, Missy Elliot, Outkast). Lyrically I Wanna have Your Babies touches on a female’s fight to reign in their natural disposition to ‘rush into things’ in an effort to find that elusive ‘one’, that potential father to their children. Musically it is distinctly ‘Natasha Bedingfield’ – the voice to melt radios, the beats that drop either side of the Atlantic, the arrangements that are undeniably quirky, but still, somehow, work.
RONAN KEATING has revealed how difficult it was to record his new album. The former Boyzone star said he struggled with his emotions while recording Songs For My Mother as it constantly reminded him of his late mum. Keating, whose mother died from breast cancer ten years ago, said: “In the studio, with ‘Carrickfergus’ in particular, I had to re-take a few times as I had a lump in my throat. “‘Carrickfergus’ was played at my mother’s funeral so there was a real emotional attachment. Recording was tough as it brought up a lot of old ghosts. “There is a real story behind the whole album, messages from fans to their mums in the sleeve notes and my own words about each track.” Proceeds from the album will be divided between the Marie Keating Foundation and Cancer Research UK. And according to midweek sales figures, ‘Songs For My Mother’ is on course to top the album chart this Sunday.
More about Ronan Keating
Ronan Patrick John Keating was born in Dublin on the 3rd March 1977 to Gerry and Marie Keating. The last child of five and all gangly legs and messy blond hair, Ronan became known as ‘Little Ro’ by his three brothers, Ciaran, Gerard and Gary, and his sister Linda. Being the youngest in a large family had its advantages: his brothers and sisters would say he was spoilt; he was certainly always his “mam’s little baby” but being the youngest of five also meant vying for attention and trying hard to keep up with his older brothers and sister. Family Values Although his family had little money, Ronan never remembers wanting for anything. His father had many different jobs, including lorry driver and barman, and his mother worked as a hairdresser to supplement the family income but both had high hopes for the Keating family. His mam in particular was a very proud lady and the Keating household was always a beautiful home.
Ronan was one of 300 boys that turned up for the audition for Boyzone. He performed his party piece – the classic Cat Steven’s song ‘Father & Son’. He was then asked to dance. He felt clumsy at first but after a while he forgot about looking ridiculous and began to relax it as if he were prancing around his front room at home. It worked – he was called back for a second audition. This time he sung a song by one of Ronan’s idols – George Michael’s ‘Careless Whisper’ and got together his dance routine. Again he made it through, this time there were just 10 of them left. At the final audition he boasted “Oh, I can sing anything” but as the decision came close the bravado waned and tension took hold. The announcement was made – Ronan was in.
It was 1993 and Ronan and his new found friends were about to take their first step on the path to worldwide fame. Their first appearance was just one day after the audition. They were booked onto Ireland’s biggest TV chat show, The Late Late Show. They’d had no time to prepare let alone get to know each other. Needless to say, they were terrible. The critics had slated them, but they didn’t let this get them down. The band were excited about the future and were above all determined to succeed.
Little did they know that they were about to become one of the biggest boybands ever. Five lads: Ronan Keating, Stephen Gately, Mikey Graham, Keith Duffy and Shane Lynch – one band: Boyzone.Back then, they could never have known that six years down the line that they would have sixteen top three singles, six of which were number ones, four number one albums (selling more than 12 million copies worldwide), dozens of sell-out UK tours and millions of fans the world over.
A crucial time for the band. They had their first single out – the old disco classic by an American group called the Detroit Spinners called ‘Working My Way Back to You’ on the A-side and Ronan’s favourite party piece ‘Father & Son’ on the B-side. But they still had a lot of work to do – they had to make people like them. They travelled the length and breadth of Ireland to some of the most remote areas of the country, playing hundreds of shows. It was seriously hard and they often had to play to pretty hostile crowds but for Ronan, it was one of the most enjoyable times in his career – a time of excitement and togetherness for the band.
Eventually the hard work began to pay off. The fans were growing in numbers, the press were showing interest and a group of girls were to be found congregating outside Ronan’s house. Although he though it was strange at first, he began to start to like it – it helped him believe in himself. Boyzone – Making The Mark The first Boyzone single was a success. It had ‘Working My Way Back To You’ on the A-side and ‘Father & Son’ on the B-side. In March 1994 it entered the Irish charts at No. 3.
After the success in Ireland of ‘Working My Way Back To You’, Polygram signed the band up for an album. It was the break they were hoping for and they were determined not to let anybody down. They teamed up with producer Ray Hedges and recorded the song that was to be their next release, the Osmonds classic ‘Love Me For a Reason’. It was decided that Ronan should sing lead vocals – he was thrilled.
Boyzone’s first break into the UK market came when they were asked to tour with the Smash Hits Roadshow in the autumn of 1994. The band knew it was their big chance to get maximum exposure performing to crowds of 10,000 to 25,000 people every night. After winning Best New Comers at the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party in the summer the pop industry had to take notice. They were 16, they were Boyzone, they were pop stars.
‘Love Me For A Reason’ reached No. 2 in the UK Christmas charts and the band made their first appearance on Top of The Pops which for Ronan, was a dream come true. Boyzone – Said And Done The New Year of 1995 brought in continued hard work, the album Said and Done was put together with Ronan singing lead vocals on half of the tracks and a whole heap of song writing credits.
The summer of 1995 saw the band embark on the biggest nation-wide tour of Ireland there had ever been – they performed in over 32 counties, doing 36 shows in just 30 days. It was a demanding schedule and Ronan found it hard to deal with the separation from his family and friends but with constant phone calls home somehow he coped. Boyzone – Rollercoaster Times Boyzone had a string of hits in 1995/1996: ‘Key To My Life’ reached No. 3 in May; ‘So Good’ with Ronan singing lead vocal reached No. 4 in July; the album Said and Done picked the No. 1 slot in the UK and Irish album charts; ‘Father & Son got to No. 2 in November; and, ‘Coming Home Now’ peaked No. 3 in early 1996. For Boyzone, success had come by the bucket load.
Boyzone mania travelled the world: the band toured the far East; completed a massive UK tour in the summer of 1996 including 4 shows at Wembley Arena in July, each one attended by 15,000 fans; their second album A Different Beat was released in October 1996; more tours of South East Asia, the Middle East and India came in 1997; and, the Boyzone version of Tracey Chapman’s ‘Baby Can I hold You’ came out in November of that year.
During the dizzy heights of autumn 1996, with a sell-out Boyzone UK tour and a second album destined for No. 1 under their belts Ronan’s world came crashing down around him. It was September 26th 1996 when Ronan took the phone call from his brother Ciarran – his mam had breast cancer. It was difficult for Ronan to accept and being on tour with Boyzone helped him block the reality out.
The 3rd of March 1998 saw in Ronan’s 21st birthday. Boyzone had had a second Number One hit album with A Different Beat, five hit singles including two No. 1′s for ‘Words’ and the title track from the album.
A 3rd album Where We Belong was being put together and a new Boyzone single ‘All That I Need’ on which Ronan sung lead vocals was due for release on 20 April. Ronan and Steven Gately were due to head out to Tokyo to promote the Mr Bean movie – Boyzone had recorded ‘Picture Of You’ for the soundtrack, producing a No. 2 hit in the UK charts back in July 1997. The schedule for Boyzone was once again as hectic as it had ever been.
The problem was, Ronan had barely stopped to breath and the pain of the bereavement for the loss of his mother wouldn’t go away. It was the evening before an appearance on Top Of The Pops and Ronan had just had enough – he desparately needed a break. He could no longer face the constant press bombardments asking him about his mother’s death – he was tired of the gruelling schedule. He needed to take stock and ease his emotional state. He took a break from Boyzone. Amid much press speculation of breakdowns and illness, all completely unfounded, Ronan took a well-deserved holiday with his then girlfriend Yvonne to the tiny Caribbean island of Nevis.
It was on the April 30th 1998 Ronan and Yvonne were married. Their relationship been a whirlwhind romance and as he stood there during the ceremony on the paradise island of Nevis he felt there was no doubt that this was right.
In November 1998 the Boyzone schedule became one of the busiest periods the band had known. They were promoting their latest album that was in the shops Where We Belong as well as the know single ‘I Love The Way You Love Me’ and Ronan also presented Miss World.
On 15th March 1999 baby Jack was born. For Ronan this was “the ultimate gift” and though Jack can have anything he wants, Ronan is determined that he will never be spoilt. His mother taught him to have manners and treat people respectfully, values he intends to pass onto his son. And just as his mother did with him, Ronan will teach his son what matters more than anything – that if you give love, you will get it back in return.
Boyzone had become Ireland’s most successful pop export of all time paving the way for other Irish acts such as The Corrs and B*Witched. A week after his son Jack was born in March 1999, Ronan’s next baby was introduced to the world – Ireland’s newest boy band, Westlife. Boyzone had reached the pinnacle of success and Ronan wanted to experience the thrill of starting out again. Ronan’s experiences with Boyzone stood him in good stead to take on the role of co-manager with the Boyzone manager Louis Walsh. He’s been down that road before and can offer the band much in the way of advise and assistance. Westlife, have taken the UK charts by storm achieving a succession of No. 1 hits.
As an artist, Ronan had already received virtually every accolade known to man: from numerous Smash Hits Awards for ‘Most Fanciable Male’ and MTV Awards for “Best Pop Band” to a coveted Ivor Novello Award for ‘Picture Of You’ – the song he wrote for the Mr Bean movie – joining the ranks of pop superstars George Michael and Sir Elton John.
In the summer of 1999 Ronan Keating released his first solo single, ‘When You Say Nothing At All’, taken from the Brit Award winning ‘Notting Hill’ film soundtrack. Ronan’s first solo offering naturally crashed into the charts at No. 1 and ‘When You Say Nothing At All’ became one of the love songs of the year selling in excess of half a million copies.
By mid-1999 the band were struggling to be individuals, and it was no surprise when Boyzone announced that they were going to take a year out to work on solo projects, after the release of their The Greatest Hits album By Request. Hello LA Ronan flew out to Los Angeles in January, to write and record his debut solo album. Ronan’s reputation as an artist of the highest calibre has lead to him working with some of the world’s best songwriters and producers, from Steve Lipson, Pat Leonard (Madonna) and Barry Gibb (The Bee Gees) to Bryan Adams and Gregg Alexander (The New Radicals).
The first single from the album was the upbeat and summery ‘Life Is A Rollercoaster’, which was released to the world on 10th July. Needless to say, Ronan scored his second No. 1 hit as a solo artist.
Ronan himself describes the album as “?a real mix of pop, rock and traditional music. I’m proud of every single track. Each song sounds and feels very special. I was really nervous at first about going in to the studio on my own without the other lads, but it was exciting to create my own stuff and to write with new people. I’m really happy with the result.”
“With tracks such as the poppy ‘Life Is A Rollercoaster’, the rocky ‘If You Love Me’ and the Bryan Adams/Phil Thornalley penned ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’ the album has something for everyone. Add to that the Irish sounding ‘Only For You’ plus the beautiful ballads ‘Once Upon A Lifetime’ and ‘In This Life’ – and you’ve covered the whole spectrum! Simply entitled Ronan – the album was released on 31st July.”
Ronan’s autobiography Life Is a Rollercoaster was released. A heartfelt journal of Ronan’s life experiences to date, the book tells it just as it happened. Ronan’s success as a solo artist is on a roll, the rollercoaster keeps going. Just three months after the release of Ronan’s debut solo album Ronan, the album has already sold in excess of 500,000 copies worldwide and his presence in Europe has lead to his nomination for “Best Male” at the MTV Awards in Stockholm on the 6th November.
Following the massive acclaim of his debut solo album, and the number 1 success of “Life is a Rollercoaster”, Ronan Keating has now released the third single from the album, the heartfelt and passionate ballad “The Way You Make Me Feel”. Penned by Phil Thornalley and Bryan Adams, “The Way You Make Me Feel” is a very laid back and mellow song full of passion and drive.
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