Diana Vickers

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Diana Vickers
DianaVickersWiki.jpg
Vickers in 2010
Background information
Birth name Diana Vickers
Born (1991-07-30) 30 July 1991 (age 23)
Origin Blackburn, Lancashire, England
Genres Indie pop,[1] indie rock,[2] folktronica,[3] folk pop,[4] new wave,[5] synthpop[6]
Occupation(s) Musician, singer-songwriter, actress, fashion designer, model
Instruments Vocals, trumpet,[7] acoustic guitar
Years active 2008–present
Labels RCA, So Recordings
Website dianavickersmusic.com

Diana Vickers (born 30 July 1991) is a British singer-songwriter, actress, fashion designer and model who initially came to public attention as a semi-finalist on The X Factor in 2008. In 2009, Vickers signed a record deal with RCA Records and after touring with her fellow finalists from The X Factor, played the title role in a West End revival of The Rise and Fall of Little Voice.

Vickers' 2010 debut single, "Once", charted at number one on the UK Singles Chart and her debut album, Songs from the Tainted Cherry Tree, achieved number one status on the UK Albums Chart. Her follow-up singles, "The Boy Who Murdered Love" and "My Wicked Heart", reached the top 40 and top 20 respectively. Vickers' second album, Music to Make Boys Cry, followed in 2013, accompanied by the singles "Cinderella", "Music to Make Boys Cry", and "Mad at Me".

Vickers unveiled her debut fashion line in 2011, and her boho-chic approach to fashion has received praise from British fashion media. She made her film debut in The Perfect Wave and her television acting debut in the comedy series Give Out Girls, both of which premiered in 2014.

Early life[edit]

Vickers was born in Blackburn, Lancashire, England.[8] 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.[9] She studied for A Levels in Theatre Studies, Classics and Psychology at Westholme School in Blackburn.[10] Vickers has been singing since the age of 11,[11] taking singing lessons and participating in local competitions, but had never sung professionally.[12]

Music career[edit]

2008–09: The X Factor[edit]

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"[13] 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 attracted 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".[14]

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 praise from 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" and Blondie's "Call Me" which again received praise from the judges.

In week 5 of the live show stages Vickers missed the live show without performing following a bout of laryngitis.[15] 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 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 positive comments from 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.[11]

Vickers was the bookies' favourite to win the competition from the second live show for seven consecutive weeks.[16] She was eliminated in the semi final (week nine), achieving fourth place overall.[17] 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, she often performed with bare feet. Vickers additionally gained attention for her hand gestures on stage coining the nickname "The Claw".[18][19]

2009–10: Record deal and Song from the Tainted Cherry Tree[edit]

After The X Factor, it was initially announced that Vickers would be signed by Sony Music under the Syco label alongside JLS and Eoghan Quigg, but this plan for her to join Syco was later dropped.[20] Instead, she signed to Sony Music's RCA Records.[21] She began work on her debut album in January 2009,[22] 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,[23] Patrick Wolf, and Dev Hynes.[24]

In March 2010, Vickers' first leg of the Songs from the Tainted Cherry Tree Tour took place,[25] followed by a second leg in May 2010 to coincide with the release of her debut album, Songs from the Tainted Cherry Tree, which charted at number one on the UK Albums Chart.[26] Songs from the Tainted Cherry Tree has since been certified gold by the BPI for sales of 100,000 copies.[27] 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 in April 2010[28] and playlisted on Radio 1,[29][30] where Vickers performed an acoustic version of "Once" and a cover of Snow Patrol's "Just Say Yes" for the Live Lounge. "Once" entered the UK Singles Chart at number one.[31] "The Boy Who Murdered Love", written and produced by Chris Braide (with lyric contribution from Vickers),[32] was released as the second single and charted at number 36 in the UK. During mid 2010, Vickers performed at numerous music festivals such as the Freedom Festival, iTunes Festival, Oxygen Festival, Radio 1's Big Weekend, Summer Sundae, T in the Park, T4 on the Beach, and V Festival.[33][34][35] Vickers also supported Mika at the Eden Sessions in June 2010.[36]

Vickers' third single was a previously unheard track titled "My Wicked Heart", co-written by Vickers and producers Dee Adams and James Earp, which features Vickers playing the trumpet. The single was released in October 2010 and reached number 13 in the UK; the same month, 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 said 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.[37] In an interview to promote the single, Vickers announced the possibility of Songs from the Tainted Cherry Tree getting a solely digital download re-release, and 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."[38] The fourth leg of the Songs from the Tainted Cherry Tree Tour began in November 2010 and included dates in Ireland as well as the UK. At the end of 2010, Vickers became RCA's highest grossing domestic artist.[39]

2011–present: Music to Make Boys Cry[edit]

In June 2010, Vickers announced that she had started preparing songs for a second album.[40] In an interview with Orange Music, she 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 Björk.[2] Vickers co-wrote material with musicians such as Nerina Pallot, Eg White, Starsmith, Chris Braide, and Dee Adam.[41] In January 2011, Vickers travelled to Los Angeles, United States, to co-write material with John Shanks and Diane Warren, and played her debut USA gig at Cherry Pop in West Hollywood (promoted via Perez Hilton).[42] In March 2011, it was announced that she had also been collaborating with Starsailor front-man James Walsh, indicating a heavier and rockier direction for her second album.[43]

In June 2011, Vickers revealed on her official Tumblr account that she had parted company with RCA Records due to creative differences.[44] It was later reported that her departure was due to wanting to pursue a more indie, less-commercial route,[44] coupled with a breakdown in her professional relationship with Sony Music due to the departure from RCA Records of Craig Logan, who had originally signed Vickers to the label.[45] Vickers released two new tracks, "Music to Make Boys Cry" and "Kiss of a Bullet", for free download online in December 2011.[46] In February 2012, she showcased material from her second album in a mini-tour at The Ruby Lounge in Manchester and Cargo in Shoreditch, London.[47] She signed a worldwide record deal with So Recordings in early 2013.[48][45]

Vickers' second album, Music to Make Boys Cry,[49] was released in September 2013, later than anticipated due to Vickers starring in an independent film titled The Perfect Wave.[50][51] The album charted at number 37 on the UK Albums Chart and reached the top ten on the UK Indie Chart. The lead single, "Cinderella", was released in July 2013 and charted in the top 20 of the UK Indie Chart;[52][53] the second single, "Music to Make Boys Cry", coincided with the album's release in September.[54] Vickers promoted the album during the 2013 music festival season with appearances at Festival Too, Liverpool International Music Festival, T in the Park, and V Festival; for some of these performances she opened for fellow The X Factor alumnus Olly Murs. The third single from Music to Make Boys Cry, "Mad at Me", was released in December.[55]

Work with other artists[edit]

Vickers co-wrote the 2011 Enrique Iglesias and Jennifer Lopez single "Mouth 2 Mouth" for Iglesias's reissue album Euphoria Reloaded.[56]

In 2013, Vickers appeared as the lead in a music video for the single "Derail" by Leeds rock band Dinosaur Pile-Up. In the music video, Vickers plays the part of a kidnapped girl who subsequently kills a man in the shower after the kidnapping.[57] The same year, Vickers was featured singing on the One Direction television advertisement for the launch of their debut fragrance, Our Moment. Vickers sings a cover of "My Favourite Things", a song from the musical The Sound of Music.[58]

Artistry[edit]

Vickers' musical style includes simple folk-tinged, keyboard and guitar based ballads[59] to more up-tempo indie rock and synth-based songs with full band backing.[60] Her musical style has been compared to Kate Bush,[61] Ellie Goulding,[62] Dido,[63] and Dolores O'Riordan.[64] Vickers additionally showcases an idiosyncratic style of singing described as breathy, raspy and hiccupy.[65][66][67] Vickers has cited an array of influences including Florence + The Machine, Kate Bush, Regina Spektor, Kings of Leon, Frou Frou, Sinéad O'Connor and The Sundays.[9] 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.[68]

Other ventures[edit]

Acting career[edit]

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 in October 2009 at the Vaudeville Theatre, on The Strand, London.[70][71] She played Little Voice, who hides a talent as an impersonator of singers such as Shirley Bassey, Edith Piaf and Judy Garland.[69] Mark Owen of Take That wrote "Sunlight", the final song in the play for Vickers to sing.[72][73] "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.[74] Her performance received a positive review in The Guardian in which they said that "[Vickers'] singing is impressive, we were surprised at her vocal abilities."[75] Her stint was deemed "magical" in The Daily Telegraph.[76] Quentin Letts of the Daily Mail also gave a positive review of Vickers' performance.[77] 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.[78][79][80]

In 2012, it was announced that Vickers had landed her debut film role alongside Clint Eastwood’s son in the independent film The Perfect Wave.[81] Vickers stated, "It's a lot about surfing and it's to do with the power of life and death. It's quite interesting. I'm going to learn how to surf."[82] Vickers travelled to Cape Town, South Africa for the shoot, putting the release of her second album on hold.[83] The film was released in 2014.[84]

In 2013, Sky Living confirmed that Vickers had signed to appear in a six-part comedy series titled Give Out Girls, which marks Vickers' debut in television acting.[85] The series follows the endeavours and lives of a group of promotions girls.[86] Vickers plays Gemma, the youngest of the group, who is bright and enthusiastic with a naive view of the world. The series filmed in Manchester and is distributed internationally by BBC Worldwide.[87] It premiered on Comedy Central in October 2014.

From December 2013, Vickers played the role of Holly in the West End play The Duck House by Dan Patterson and Colin Swash,[88] starring alongside Ben Miller, Nancy Carroll and Simon Shepherd.[89] The show is a farcical political satire based on the 2009 UK parliamentary expenses scandal.[88]

Fashion[edit]

Vickers' fashion sense has been described as boho-chic and hippie-influenced.[90][91] Vickers' trademark style includes messy, back-combed "bird's nest" hair[92] and vintage inspired clothing. Vickers' fashion icons are Brigitte Bardot and Marilyn Monroe.[93] Vickers has encouraged fashion blogs documenting her latest attire and has been labelled a fashionista in the making by Grazia.[94] In October 2009, Vickers was awarded "Fashionista of the Week" in The Guardian[95] and in June 2010, Vickers was nominated for "Best Dressed Woman of The Year" at The Clothes Show Style Awards 2010.[96] Vickers' approach to fashion has received praise from Grazia,[97] Look,[98] and Harpers Bazaar.[99]

In May 2011, Vickers launched an eight-piece clothing collection for Very.co.uk titled "Dee V".[100] 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.[101] After a best-selling debut range, Vickers launched a second collection for Very.co.uk in July 2011. The second collection is inspired by the fashionable television series Mad Men and emphasises Vickers' uniquely iconic style.[102] A third collection for her "Dee V" for Very range went on sale from September 2011, exclusively for the Christmas period. A faux-fur knitted dress and a leather biker jacket were among Vickers' Christmas statement pieces.[103]

In September 2011, Vickers posted on her Tumblr blog that she would be the face of Collection 2000s autumn and winter capsule make-up line. Vickers helped select products for the range, which includes mascaras, smoky eyeshadows, false lashes and bright lipsticks. As part of the campaign, Vickers ran a competition on her blog to win a bag full of Collection 2000 products.[104]

Philanthropy[edit]

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.[105] 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.[106] For anti-bullying week 2010 in the UK, Vickers uploaded a video to her official website encouraging young people to stand up to bullies.[107] In September 2010, Vickers played an intimate gig as part of the month-long Oxjam Festival, which raised money in support of charity Oxfam.[108]

In 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 won 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. Proceeds from the winning bid raised money for Red Nose Day to help vulnerable, poor and disadvantaged people in the UK and Africa.[109]

Personal life[edit]

Vickers has been in a relationship with the English singer-songwriter George Craig since January 2011.[110]

Discography[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2014 The Perfect Wave Kim Film
2014 Give Out Girls Gemma TV series
2015 Awaiting Lauren Film

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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