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Fiorillo was born into a musical family, one of four children; her father, a classical pianist, studied with Vladimir Horowitz. She is of German, Italian, Irish and Cherokee descent. She is married to Michael Dease and has one daughter named Olivia. Her husband died in late May 2019.
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At the age of fifteen, Fiorillo won the 1985 Star Search talent show. In 1987, she was signed to Chrysalis Records. She first performed the song "Jackie" on the Summer School soundtrack and caught the eye of John "Jellybean" Benitez who asked her to be the lead vocalist on two songs on his 1987 album Just Visiting This Planet. One of the songs, "Who Found Who", was a hit worldwide reaching the Top 20 in many countries in addition to being a great club success. At the same time, Fiorillo released her self-titled debut album that she promoted with the help of the pop single "How Can I Forget You"; this did not achieve the same success.
She released her second album I Am in 1990 recorded at Prince's Paisley Park recording studio after she had contributed, as a backing vocalist, to the soundtracks of Graffiti Bridge and Batman. Several songs from the album were produced and written by Prince. The album included the single "On The Way Up", which was a Top 30 hit in the U.S. and Top 20 in Australia. Fiorillo also appeared on Prince's album Diamonds and Pearls being the backing vocalist on two songs.
Throughout the 1990s, Fiorillo mainly worked as a backing singer. Fiorillo sang back-up for Savage Garden on the Superstars and Cannonballs tour and for Billie Myers among others. As a lead singer, she has appeared on Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, singing "Don't Be Afraid". She also did a duet with Savage Garden frontman Darren Hayes titled "Right Dead Back On It". Prince performed for three consecutive nights, March 25–27, 2009 on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and Fiorillo performed as one of Prince's backing vocalists on two of those shows. Fiorillo became a member of Prince's band, The New Power Generation (NPG) in 2009, and in 2010 embarked on a world tour with Prince, playing in sold out shows across Europe. She continued to work with Prince until his death in 2016.
However, she has continued to release her own music. Fiorillo's 2007 album entitled Labour Of Love is available at her website. She turned to her musical direction towards jazz in the 2000s. Using her married name Dease, Fiorillo partnered with Nashville-based guitarist Tyler Reese in 2013 to form an independent musical duo called The Dease & Reese Project. Their debut album, Life in 20, was produced by Jeff Silverman, who had previously produced and performed with Rick Springfield. The album was released in June, 2014, on the REMU Records label. It is composed of 12 original songs inspired by Fiorillo’s life experiences, addressing subjects including faith, self-awareness, food addiction, domestic violence and motherhood. All Over the World is the first single from the album to be released to radio.
As well as singing, Fiorillo also directed a few TV series, such as the 2001 Mahô shôjo neko Taruto as well as the 2002 TV series Mao Dante. She voiced the (English) parts of Ayamo Nakamura in the 2003 TV series Stratos 4.
Fiorillo currently lives in Las Vegas and performs regularly with The Bruce Harper Big Band- A 19 piece Big Band that performs songs from the Great American Songbook.
- 1987 Elisa Fiorillo (U.S. #163)
- 1990 I Am
- 1996 Nursery Rhymes
- 2001 Undecided
- 2002 Teach Me Tonight
- 2006 Labor of Love
- 2007 Light That Shines
- 2010 Songs from the Fiorillo & Esposito Catalog
- 2014 Life in 20 (as The Dease & Reese Project)
|Year||Song||U.S. Hot 100||U.S. Dance||AUS
|UK Singles Chart||Album|
|1987||"Who Found Who"
(Jellybean feat. Elisa Fiorillo)
|16||3||70||10||Just Visiting This Planet|
|"Little Too Good to Me"
|–||–||–||–||Just Visiting This Planet|
and Elisa Fiorillo
|"How Can I Forget You"||60||47||–||50||Elisa Fiorillo|
|"You Don't Know"||–||50||–||–|
|1988||"Forgive Me for Dreaming"||49||–||–||83|
|"Do Something Foolish"||–||–||–||–|
|"High Bright Night" (Japan only)||–||–||–||–||–|
|1990||"On the Way Up"||27||31||19||83||I Am|
|1991||"Oooh This I Need"||90||–||–||–|
|2014||"All Over the World"||–||–||–||–||Life in 20|
- "Elisa Fiorillo is Back in the Footlights = December 27, 2009". Living Las Vegas. Retrieved December 27, 2009.
- "Prince Singer Elisa Fiorillo Dease Explores 'Life in 20' = June 3, 2014". Music News Nashville. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
- "Prince Singer Elisa Fiorillo Dease Releases Album 'Life in 20' = June 4, 2014". Broadway World. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 112. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
- Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010 (pdf ed.). Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 200. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.