|Born||24 May 1979|
|Genres||R&B, soul, rock|
|Labels||Sony BMG, Metamorphis Music, Universal|
|Associated acts||Leona Lewis, Shayne Ward|
- 1 Early life
- 2 Music career
- 3 Personal life
- 4 Discography
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Lawson was born and raised in London. She is the youngest in a family of five, with three brothers and one sister.
Lawson is of Jamaican, Chinese and Cuban descent, her mother being Jamaican and her father part-Cuban. Her grandfather is Chinese from the family descending from the name Chang.
Before finding fame on The X Factor, Lawson was discovered by Active Music Management, who obtained her first record deal with President Records and her first publishing deal. Her first single was "A Night to Remember", which was used by the Gala Bingo advertisement after the producers of the advert thought that her version was better than the original.
Lawson was signed to Peer Music Publishing from 2002 to 2005 and started her career as a published singer-songwriter. During that time, she worked with established producer David Brant, who produced three tracks for her – "Rush", "I Wanna Say Yes" and "Inferno". During her time as a singer-songwriter, she worked with recording artist Gabrielle and performed on Gabrielle's hit singles "Out of Reach" (as featured in the Bridget Jones' Diary soundtrack), "Don't Need the Sun to Shine (to Make Me Smile)" and the live version of "Rise". She has also provided backing vocals for many other artists, including Kelly Clarkson, Anita Baker and British soul singer Lemar.
1997–1999: Singer for Italian group Ti.Pi.Cal
In 1997 Maria, known as Kimara Lawson in Italy, achieved chart success with several singles in collaboration with Italian dance group Ti.Pi.Cal (Daniele Tignino, Riccardo Piparo and Vincenzo Callea). With Ti.Pi.Cal, Maria recorded "Hidden Passion" (1997),"Live For Today (1997), "Follow Your Heart" (1998), "Music Is My Life" (1999) and What I Like (2006), and two singles as Kimara Lawson - Stand up (2000) & Heaven (2000).
2004–05: The X Factor
In 2004, Lawson auditioned for the first series of The X Factor, but she was rejected by judge Simon Cowell after reaching the "bootcamp" rounds. In 2005 she auditioned for the second series of the show.
According to Lawson's 2008 autobiography "Life Starts Now", in her audition for the second series, Cowell immediately remembered her from the previous year and told her he had "made a mistake" in not putting her through to the live shows. Her rendition of "Stop" by Sam Brown stormed Lawson through to bootcamp with Sharon Osbourne emerging as her new mentor. After successful performances at bootcamp and at the Osbourne household in Los Angeles, Lawson was given a chance to sing in the live stages of the show as part of Osbourne's final four.
In the early stages of the live shows, Lawson was hotly tipped with performances of "Piece of My Heart" and "You're Beautiful" Her vocals, image and earthy charisma made her one of the outstanding favourites alongside eventual winner Shayne Ward. Lawson was many of the bookmakers' favourite to win prior to the week she was eliminated from the show. In Lawson's 2008 autobiography, she mentions she received the highest number of public votes on week four when she covered the James Blunt hit "You're Beautiful".
Performances on The X Factor
|Audition (first song)||"Stop!"||Through to Bootcamp|
|Audition (second song)||"Open Arms"||Through to Bootcamp|
|Bootcamp (stage 1)||"All the Man That I Need"||Through to next stage|
|Bootcamp (stage 2)||"I'm Gonna Make You Love Me"||Through to next stage|
|Judges' Houses (top 24)||"Since U Been Gone"||Through to live shows|
|Top 11||"The Way You Make Me Feel"||Safe|
|Top 10||"Piece of My Heart"||Safe|
|Top 9||"You're Beautiful"||Safe (highest votes)|
|Top 8||"Brown Sugar"||Eliminated (Bottom 2)|
In Lawson's 2008 autobiography, Life Starts Now, she revealed she had topped the vote the week before her elimination.
In the fifth round of the live shows, Lawson gave a performance of "Brown Sugar", a song that was widely regarded as unsuitable for her. After the public vote, Lawson found herself in the bottom two for the first time with Irish girl group The Conway Sisters. According to voting figures published in the Sunday Mirror, Lawson turned out to have received twice as many public votes as the Conway Sisters, but was nevertheless eliminated by the judges after a sing-off in the final showdown. Her mentor, Sharon Osbourne, claimed that she was a victim of the "Irish Mafia", referring to Irish judge Louis Walsh's decision to vote in favour of the Irish act at Lawson's expense. This caused a media uproar and Walsh threatened to quit the show after days of negative press.
Lawson's elimination was also a shock for bookmakers who had her as a 66–1 outsider to leave the programme.
Post-X Factor: Maria Lawson
After Lawson was eliminated from the show, she was approached by at least three major record labels. On 6 March 2006 Lawson announced that she had signed to the Phonogenic branch of the Sony BMG record label. Her debut single, "Sleepwalking", was released on 14 August. BBC Radio 2 "A-listed" the track (putting it on heavy rotation), and it achieved a position of number 20 in the UK Singles Chart. It was later revealed had the UK singles charts recent inclusion of 'downloads' been deducted, based on physical first week sales, "Sleepwalking" would've charted inside the UK top ten. As of 2010, The track has sold over 50,000 copies in the UK alone.
Her self-titled debut album was recorded in Los Angeles where she worked with multi grammy winning songwriter Diane Warren, Steve Kipner, Lester Mendez and the Heavy Weights. The album was released on 28 August 2006 and charted at number 41 on the UK Albums Chart. As of 2010, the album has sold over 20,000 copies in the UK. Lawson also went on to sign a lingerie deal with Bravissimo to become the new face and body for the lingerie and clothing line.
On 3 July 2007, Lawson announced in her latest diary entry that she would not be releasing her exclusive second single "Lover's Kiss" (a song not included on her debut album), but would instead be working on her second album. In Maria's 2008 autobiography, Life Starts Now, she revealed that her then record company, Sony BMG, decided (after much delay) to part ways and not continue with the release of the single.
2008–2010: West End production of Thriller – Live
On 27 June 2008, Lawson stated in a MySpace blog that her forthcoming album would be entitled Emotional Rollercoaster and confirmed "Breaking Me Down" as the first single to be released from the album. An interview with Lawson appeared in the June issue of Pride Magazine and a clip of the official video for "Breaking Me Down" was made available on her website. Her website also announced a radio and TV tour across the UK from 18 to 29 August 2008. Lawson performed "Breaking Me Down", along with a rendition of Janis Joplin's classic hit "Piece of My Heart" (a song which she had performed during her run on The X Factor), at Party in the Park, Temple Newsham, Leeds on Sunday 27 July. She performed the single again at the Freedom Festival on 30 August 2008. The single was released on 8 September 2008.
Lawson was interviewed on GMTV on Friday 24 October 2008, promoting "Breaking Me Down" and her new book Life Starts Now.
Lawson's self-help/autobiography entitled Life Starts Now was released to stores on 28 November 2008. It follows Lawson's journey from hopeful unknown, through the audition process and beyond to her appearance on a major national television show.
On 11 April 2009, it was announced on Lawson's Myspace page that she would be performing the female lead role in the West End production of Thriller – Live at The Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London. The show features the hit songs of Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5. Lawson's run lasted through from 14 April 2009 – March 2010.
2010–present: Emotional Rollercoaster
Maria's second studio album, Emotional Rollercoaster, was produced by Brian Rawling. In a Myspace blog in 2011, Lawson revealed she had returned to the recording studio to re-record and remix some of the tracks. Emotional Rollercoaster is due out some time in 2014 through Right Track Music/Universal Music Operations.
Maria Lawson has been signed to Wilhelmina in the US, one of the most prominent model and celebrity agencies in the fashion industry with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Miami. Wilhelmina's Artist Management team will explore and develop endorsement, editorial and licensing opportunities for Maria. 
Lawson gave birth to her first son Brandon on 6 February 2008. She currently lives with her husband Lawrence and son in Canary Wharf, London.
Lawson gave birth to her second child, baby daughter Sienna Rose, on 28 January 2012. She wrote on her official Facebook page: "Thanks for so many best wishes following the birth of my beautiful baby girl at 3.25pm on Saturday 28 January. We've named her Sienna Rose. Its funny how quick you forget about the pain. Thank you God for blessing me. She's a dream come true."
|Year||Album details||Chart peak positions||Sales|
|2008||"Breaking Me Down"||110||—||98||—||N/A|
|2003||"Whatcha Gonna Do"
(Michael Gray Presents. Hi Fashion featuring Maria Lawson)
(Yomanda featuring Maria Lawson)
- "Ti.Pi.Cal feat. Kimara – Hidden Passion- h.quality". YouTube. 17 June 2011. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
- TV – News – 'X Factor' voting details leaked?
- Wood, Beci (25 May 2007). "Was X Factor fixed". The Sun (London).
- Nathan, Sara (25 May 2007). "X Factor Louis walks". The Sun (London).
- "Westlife tipped to beat X Factor". BBC News. 14 November 2005. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
- Bravissimo news… Bravissimo.com
- ooOoo WELCOME TO MARIA LAWSON ONLINE – The Official Site ooOoo
- Apex Publishing Ltd.
- IndieLondon: Thriller Live extends and Maria Lawson joins cast
- Thriller Live
- X-Factor's Maria Lawson – The New Face and Bust of Brastop.com
- "Willkommen bei srf.ch – Home – Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen" (in German). Eurovisionplattform.sf.tv. 29 November 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2014.