Cappella (band)

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OriginBrescia, Italy
Years active1987–1998, 2004, 2013–present
LabelsDo It Yourself, Media, Zyx, Radikal, Universal
Associated actsAnticappella
MembersMarcus Birks
Lis Birks
Gianfranco Bortolotti
Past membersRodney Bishop
Massimo Castrezzati
Eileina Dennis
Allison Jordan
Diego Leoni
Zeeteah Massiah
Patrick Osbourne
Kelly Overett
Ricardo Overman
Ettore Foresti
Tiziano Pagani
Jackie Rawe
Pieradis Rossini
Stefano Lanzini
Mauro Picotto
Alessandro Pasinelli
Anna Ross
Beverley Skeete

Cappella is an Italian techno music group formed in 1987 by producer Gianfranco Bortolotti. The act went through a number of line-up changes over the years but was most successful in the early 1990s when it was fronted by British performers Kelly Overett and Rodney Bishop. Their biggest hit was "U Got 2 Let the Music", which reached No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart in 1993.


The name Cappella was first used in the year 1987. In the beginning, they were a Hi-NRG influenced house act with producer Gianfranco Bortolotti of Media Records leading the group, with significant contributions from fellow producers Stefano Lanzini, Diego Leoni and Pieradis Rossini. In 1988, the act debuted on the British charts with the song "Bauhaus (Push the Beat)", and the following year with "Helyom Halib" which peaked at number 11. At the time, the act was fronted by model Ettore Foresti.

Three years later, Cappella scored another UK top 30 hit with "Take Me Away", which sampled Loleatta Holloway's "Love Sensation" – the same track that had been sampled on the number 1 hit "Ride On Time" by fellow Italian house act Black Box in 1989.

It was not until 1993 when Cappella really began to gain momentum. After "U Got 2 Know" (which was based on the distinctive riff of Siouxsie and the Banshees' "Happy House"; Cappella was later sued by Siouxsie and the Banshees for failure to pay publishing royalties and lost.[1] Vocalist Anna Ross and rapper MC Fixx It (Ricardo Overman) were chosen by Gianfranco for live performances. The song reached number 6 in the UK. Afterwards, two permanent members were drafted in to front the act: rapper Rodney Bishop from London and ex-SL2 dancer Kelly Overett from Ipswich. "U Got 2 Let the Music" (which sampled Alphaville's "Sounds Like a Melody") was released in October 1993 and climbed to number 2 on the UK Singles Chart, held off from the top spot only by Meat Loaf's "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)". "U Got 2 Know" would later be remade and updated by Tomcraft in 2013.

Further hits followed: "Move On Baby" reached number 7 in February 1994, "U & Me" peaked at number 10 in June, and "Move It Up" ended the U Got 2 Know album project with a number 16 hit in October. Shortly after this, Overett was fired from the group. It later emerged that she had not actually performed on any of the records – though this should have been obvious to anyone who had seen her performing "Move On Baby" live on Top of the Pops[2] and during a telecast of M6's Dance Machine concert in 1994 in which she did perform "U & Me" live despite a playback in the background.[3][4]

As for the real voices that were actually used, "U Got 2 Know" included Xaviera Gold's vocals from "You Used To Hold Me", "U Got 2 Let the Music" sampled a vocal from JM Silk's track "Let The Music Take Control", and the vocals for "U & Me" were sampled from a song by Vicki Shepard. "Move On Baby" and "Don't Be Proud" were sung by a session singer Eileina Dennis. The hit "Move It Up" was also sung by a session singer now known to be Jackie Rawe. Rap vocals were later confirmed to be performed by former member MC Fixx It. Overett later established a singing career by releasing a single called "Follow Your Heart" in 1995 under the name "Kelly O". Although she did prove to critics that she was more than a face on a production-type group, "Follow Your Heart" would be her only single.

In May 1995, Cappella returned with new vocalist Allison Jordan, who had previously scored a club hit with "Boy From New York City". Rodney Bishop was also replaced by Patrick Osborne, but returned to the group before long. Before Rodney returned to Cappella, he released two solo singles under the name 'Bishop' titled "Addicted" and "Lift Me Up".

The comeback single "Tell Me the Way" reached number 17 in the UK in September 1995 and was followed by the album War In Heaven, which featured contributions from Mauro Picotto. According to rumors, War in Heaven was almost completely recorded before Kelly and Rodney were fired. The rumors were later confirmed to be true, as most of the lead vocals on the album were done by Zeeteah Massiah, however Allison did provide lead vocals on a few tracks on the album.

On February 25th 1998, Cappella released their fourth eponymously titled album. The album was supported by three singles, titled "Be My Baby", "U Tore My World Apart", and "Throwin' Away". It is now known that the lead vocals on the album were performed by British vocalist Beverley Skeete, who had also worked with Anticappella, another one of Bortolotti's projects. The rap vocals were performed by Italian producer and remixer Tiziano Pagani. After the singles charted less than expected, the band decided to go on tour and promote the new album in Japan later in the same year. Once their Japanese tour was finished, Rodney left the group, and Cappella continued as a solo act with just Allison for a brief time. Cappella released the single "U R the Power of Love" in September 1998, and shortly afterwards, Allison left the group, leaving Cappella in the void, and resorting to releasing remixes of previous hits.

In 2004, the act – now once again faceless, released a brand new track called "Angel" which failed to spark the German or Italian charts. A greatest hits CD/DVD was released in August 2005.

In 2013, they came back with the original producer Gianfranco Bortolotti and new members, a married couple: Lis Birks as a vocalist and Marcus Birks as a rapper.[5][6] The couple used to perform under the name of The Cameleonz.[7] In 2015, plans for a new single were to be made, however nothing has materialized since their announcement.


Stage Performers:

  • Singer: Lis Birks (2013–present)
  • Singer: Ettore Foresti (1989-1991)
  • Singer: Anna Ross (1992-1993)
  • Singer: Kelly Overett (1993-1995)
  • Singer: Allison Jordan (1995-1998)
  • Rapper: Marcus Birks (2013-present)
  • Rapper: MC Fixx It (Ricardo Overman) (1992-1993)
  • Rapper: Rodney Bishop (1993-1995, 1995-1998)
  • Rapper: Patrick Osbourne (1995)

Recording artists:

  • Singer: Lis Birks (2013-present)
  • Singer: Eileina Dennis (1994-1995) (Lead vocals on "Move On Baby", "U & Me" (Album Version), "Don't Be Proud")
  • Singer: Jackie Rawe (1994) (Lead vocals on "Move It Up")
  • Singer: Zeeteah Massiah (1995-1997) (Lead vocals on War In Heaven Album)
  • Singer: Allison Jordan (1995-1998) (Occasional Lead vocals and Backing Vocals on War In Heaven Album)
  • Singer: Beverley Skeete (1997-1998) (Lead vocals on "Cappella" album)
  • Rapper: Marcus Birks (2013-present)
  • Rapper: MC Fixx It (Ricardo Overman) (1994-1996) (Rap performance on "Move On Baby, "U & Me", "Move It Up", and War In Heaven Album)
  • Rapper: Tiziano Pagani (1997-1998) (Rap performance on "Cappella" album)

Most of the vocals on the U Got 2 Know Album and the earlier Cappella tracks are direct samples from other songs. They are not directly from the studio vocalists.



Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
Helyom Halib
  • Released: 1989
  • Label: Media Records
U Got 2 Know 8 1 10 11 9 12 1 10
Move On Baby 49
War in Heaven
  • Released: 1996
  • Label: Media Records
12 66 64 25
  • Released: 1998
  • Label: Cutting Edge
Best of Cappella 77
"—" denotes items that did not chart or were not released in that territory.


Year Title Peak chart positions Certifications Album
1988 "Push the Beat/Bauhaus" 60 Helyom Halib
1989 "Helyom Halib" 29 11
"House Energy Revenge" 73
1990 "Get Out of My Case"
"Everybody Listen to It" Non-album single
1991 "Everybody" 66 U Got 2 Know
1992 "Take Me Away" (featuring Loleatta Holloway) 12 25 Non-album single
1993 "U Got 2 Know" 30 21 7 26 29 6 U Got 2 Know
"U Got 2 Know" (Revisited) 43
"U Got 2 Let the Music" 8 1 6 1 3 6 9 14 1 2
1994 "Move on Baby" 3 3 7 1 4 9 1 9 1 7
"U & Me" 5 15 14 1 14 25 4 15 13 10
"Move It Up" 8 17 6 33 26 8 19 16
1995 "Don't Be Proud" 27 26
"Tell Me the Way" 6 27 15 29 24 35 17 War in Heaven
1996 "I Need Your Love" 20 34 6 30
"Turn It Up and Down" 7 54
1997 "Do You Run Away Now" 10
"Be My Baby" 11 53 Cappella
"U Tore My World Apart"
1998 "Throwin' Away"
"U R the Power of Love" Non-album single
2002 "U Got 2 Know 2002" 97
2004 "Angel"
"—" denotes items that did not chart or were not released in that territory.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Price, Simon. "Kisses in the Dreamhouse". Melody Maker. 8 August 1993. P.41. "Happy House built on a naggingly eerie synth riff (recently stolen by Cappella's "U Got 2 Know)"
  2. ^ From YouTube
  3. ^ from Dance Machine tribute page
  4. ^ Dance Machine 4 concert telecast from YouTube
  5. ^ "Insanity Artists Agency". Archived from the original on 2014-10-06. Retrieved 2014-03-03.
  6. ^ The Eurodance Encyclopaedia
  7. ^ Profile page from YouTube
  8. ^ "Austrian Albums". Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  9. ^ a b "Sisältää hitin: Levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1961" (in Finnish). Sisältää Hitin - Suomen listalevyt (Timo Pennanen). Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  10. ^ German Albums:
  11. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  12. ^ "Dutch Albums". Retrieved 2016-07-10.
  13. ^ Scottish Albums:
  14. ^ "Swedish Albums". Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  15. ^ "Swiss Albums". Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  16. ^ "UK Albums". Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  17. ^ "Swiss Certification". IFPI. Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  18. ^ a b "BPI Certification". British Phonographic Industry. Archived from the original on 2013-02-06. Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  19. ^ "Italian Singles". Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  20. ^ "Austrian Singles". Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  21. ^ "Belgian (Flanders) Singles". Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  22. ^ German Singles:
  23. ^ "Irish Singles". Archived from the original on 2009-06-03. Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  24. ^ "Netherlands Singles". Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  25. ^ "Swedish Singles". Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  26. ^ "Swiss Singles". Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  27. ^ "UK Singles". Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  28. ^ "Austrian single certifications – Cappella – U Got 2 Let The Music" (in German). IFPI Austria.
  29. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Cappella; 'U Got 2 Let The Music')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  30. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Cappella; 'Move On Baby')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 2016-07-15.