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Margaret (singer)

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Margaret
Smiling blonde woman in a sleeveless black top
Margaret on Sommarkrysset at Gröna Lund in Stockholm in July 2016
Born Małgorzata Jamroży
(1991-06-30) 30 June 1991 (age 26)
Stargard Szczeciński, Poland
Residence Śródmieście, Warsaw, Poland
Citizenship Polish
Occupation
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Years active 2006–present
Musical career
Genres
Instruments
  • Vocals
Labels
Associated acts

Małgorzata Jamroży (Polish pronunciation: [mawɡɔˈʐata jamˈrɔʐɨ]), born 30 June 1991 and known professionally as Margaret, is a Polish singer-songwriter who has gained recognition in Poland and abroad with her singles "Thank You Very Much" and "Cool Me Down". Before her mainstream debut Margaret belonged to underground bands, recorded soundtracks for television commercials and produced a fashion blog. During this period she was discovered by her manager and signed by her record label, Extensive Music.

Margaret's 2013 debut single, "Thank You Very Much", was included on All I Need (her first EP). The song charted in the top fifty in Austria, Germany and Italy. Her debut studio album, Add the Blonde, was released in 2014. It peaked at number eight in Poland, and was certified platinum by the Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry (ZPAV). The album contained three singles ("Wasted", "Start a Fire" and "Heartbeat") which reached number six, ten and eleven, respectively, in Poland. Its 2016 re-release produced "Cool Me Down", the singer's first Polish top-five single. The song, which charted in the top thirty in Romania and the top forty in Sweden, was certified double platinum in Poland and gold in Sweden. In 2015 Margaret recorded Just the Two of Us, a jazz album with Matt Dusk which was certified platinum by ZPAV. Her third studio album, Monkey Business, was released in 2017. The album peaked at number eight in Poland, whilst its lead single "What You Do" charted in the top twenty.

The singer has received a number of awards, including five Eska Music Awards out of eleven nominations, a Kids' Choice Award and two MTV Europe Music Awards. Margaret was on a 2014 list of 100 most-valuable stars of Polish show business compiled by the Polish edition of Forbes. In 2015, Wprost named her one of the 50 most-influential Polish celebrities. In addition to her music career, Margaret has endorsed products and voiced a character in Smurfs: The Lost Village's Polish-language version.

Early life and background[edit]

Małgorzata Jamroży was born on 30 June 1991 in Stargard Szczeciński (in 2016 it was renamed Stargard), Poland, to teachers Ryszard Jamroży and Elżbieta Jamroży.[1] She has an older brother, Tomasz, with whom she grew up in Ińsko.[1] Margaret took Julita as her confirmation name.[2]

As a child, Margaret participated in many singing contests; as her father recalled, she usually lost.[3] She attended the Ińsko school complex (a primary school and a gimnazjum),[4] and concurrently studied saxophone (initially clarinet) at the Ignacy Jan Paderewski first degree State Music School in Choszczno.[5][6] Shortly after finishing music school, her nasal septum was damaged in a bicycle accident which temporarily prevented her from playing an instrument.[6] In addition to saxophone classes, Margaret studied singing at the Jazz Academy in Kraków[7][8] and took private singing lessons from renowned vocal coach Elżbieta Zapendowska.[3] At age sixteen she moved to Szczecin, where she graduated from Liceum ogólnokształcące 14.[3][9] At this time she adopted her stage name, Margaret, the English equivalent of Małgorzata.[3][10]

At age eighteen Margaret moved to Warsaw, where (as of June 2016) she lives in a Śródmieście apartment.[11][7] She began an English studies degree at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Warsaw, but left after three semesters.[12][6] Margaret earned a degree in fashion design from the International School of Costume and Fashion Design in Warsaw in 2015.[13]

Career[edit]

Beginnings[edit]

Margaret's professional music career began during her final school year as singer-songwriter in the band oNieboLepiej (Much Better, formed in early January 2009), with whom she performed sung poetry.[14][15] In 2009, she won the 254th episode of the Polish talent show Szansa na sukces (A Chance for Success), performing "Znam Cię na pamięć" ("I Know You by Heart", originally sung by Monika Brodka). After the win, she performed in the Szansa na sukces annual concert at Congress Hall in Warsaw.[16] Margaret had appeared before on one of show's episodes in 2006, singing Stenia Kozłowska's song "Będę czekać" ("I'll Be Waiting"), and earned distinction[17] In 2010, she appeared in Rent at the Szczecin Opera in the Castle.[18] That year she became a singer-songwriter for the Margaret J. Project (also known as the Gosia Jamroży Project), a six-piece electropop band with R&B and hip hop influences which she created with music producer and bassist Adam Kabaciński.[18][19] They performed in the semifinals of the 2010 Coke Live Fresh Noise competition.[18] Although the group disbanded in November 2012, when Margaret decided to focus on her solo career,[20] their studio album was released online in 2013.[20] In 2011, Margaret produced a fashion blog with music videos.[12][21] In a 2013 interview with Gala, Margaret said that her manager discovered her through the blog.[22] As her music career progressed, her blogging waned.[23] Margaret recorded soundtracks for Polish television commercials early in her career, including "Moments" and "It Will Be Lovely Day", which received radio airplay.[24][25] According to Polish music manager Maja Sablewska, nobody knew who she was but her voice was "ubiquitous".[3] Margaret provided vocals for the 2012 biopic Bokser (Boxer) and the 2012 documentary Beauty and the Breast.[26][27]

2012–2013: Breakthrough with "Thank You Very Much"[edit]

While blogging Margaret was approached by future manager, Sławomir Berdowski, who became interested in working with her after hearing her cover of Adele's "Right as Rain".[22][3] Berdowski arranged for her to work with music producers Thomas Karlsson, Joakim Buddee and Ant Whiting, who wrote her debut single "Thank You Very Much".[22] Shortly after recording it, Margaret was signed by the Swedish record label Extensive Music.[22] The label signed a licensing deal with the Universal Music Poland's Magic Records, which releases Margaret's music in Poland.[28] In May 2012 "Thank You Very Much" was sent to radio stations in Poland, and Margaret performed the song at the 2012 TOPtrendy Festival at Sopot's Forest Opera amphitheatre.[29][30] Shortly thereafter, her management decided to withdraw the song from radio stations and design a promotional plan before re-releasing it.[3] Margaret collaborated with award-winning director Chris Marrs Piliero (who worked with The Black Keys, Britney Spears and Kesha) on a controversial music video in which she was surrounded by thirty nude extras.[31][32] "Thank You Very Much" and its video were released for digital download in February 2013, becoming an immediate commercial success in Poland. It received an award as the third-bestselling digital single of 2013 in the country by a Polish artist.[33] Although the music video was banned by YouTube, since it violated their no-nudity-and-sexual-content policy, it was released on Margaret's channel with age restrictions.[34] She expressed her support for the right to nudity under the slogan, "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity",[35] and defended her position: "Even though YouTube, considered one of the leading defenders for freedom of speech of the 21st century, censored the video, I'm happy that my fans are able to understand it in another way."[35] The video's explicit content received substantial media coverage, contributing to the international success of "Thank You Very Much".[36][37] A year after its release, the music video appeared on the viral website 9GAG; this significantly increased the video's views on YouTube, amassing over 500,000 views in 24 hours.[38] In June 2013, Margaret travelled to Germany to promote "Thank You Very Much" with a live performance on ZDF Fernsehgarten (ZDF Television Garden).[39] After her appearance on the show, the single peaked at number thirty-eight in Austria and number forty-one in Germany.[40][41]

Margaret's second single ("Tell Me How Are Ya") was released in July 2013 with her first EP All I Need, which reached number fifty in Poland.[42][43] Both, single and EP, were released only in the singer's native country. She represented Poland at the July 2013 Baltic Song Contest in Sweden,[44] where she sang "Thank You Very Much" and "I Get Along" and finished second.[45] Margaret was nominated in several categories at the 2013 Eska Music Awards, including Best Female Artist, Best Hit (for "Thank You Very Much"), Best Music Video ("Thank You Very Much") and Best Debut, and won the Best Music Video award.[46][47] She was also nominated for Best Polish Act at the 2013 MTV Europe Music Awards.[48] In December she began a promotional tour of Italy, where "Thank You Very Much" peaked at number twenty-two.[49][50]

2014–2016: Add the Blonde, Just the Two of Us and "Cool Me Down"[edit]

Margaret at the 2014 Grupa Azoty Grand Festival in Tarnów, Poland in September 2014

In December 2013, Margaret premiered "Wasted" with a live performance of the song at the Sylwestrowa Moc Przebojów (New Year's Eve Power of Hits) concert in Gdynia.[51] The song, which samples Edita Piekha's "Our Neighbour" (1967; Russian: "Наш сосед" nash sosed), was released in January 2014 as the lead single from Margaret's debut studio album.[24] It was distributed only in Poland and Scandinavia.[52][53] The single reached number six in Poland and was the thirty-second most popular song on Polish radio stations in 2014.[54][55] The song's music video, directed by Julia Bui Ngoc, was inspired by Jean-Pierre Jeunet's 2001 film Amélie and Andy Warhol's work.[56]

In the summer, Margaret collaborated with Thomas Karlsson and Mats Tärnfors on "Start a Fire"—the official song of the 2014 FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship in Poland.[57][58] She performed it at the 2014 FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship Opening Ceremony in August in front of an audience of 62,000 in the National Stadium in Warsaw, before the Poland v. Serbia match broadcast in over 168 countries.[59][60] "Start a Fire" was released as the second single from Margaret's debut studio album. Distributed only in Poland, it peaked at number ten.[61] Around this time, the singer recorded a cover of Katarzyna Sobczyk's song "O mnie się nie martw" ("Don't You Worry About Me"), which was used as the theme song for the Polish TV series of the same name.[62]

Margaret's debut studio album Add the Blonde was released in August 2014 only in Poland. She co-wrote the album with Joakim Buddee, Thomas Karlsson and Martin Eriksson.[63] It was influenced by music genres such as retro-disco and ska.[64] She also cited Madonna's work as an influence for the album.[64] Some lyrics for "Heartbeat", the album's third single, were inspired by Michael Jackson's "Beat It".[65] Add the Blonde reached number eight in Poland,[66] and was certified platinum by the Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry (ZPAV).[67] "Heartbeat", like its predecessor, was released only in Poland and charted at number eleven, becoming Margaret's third consecutive top fifteen single.[68]

In April 2015, Margaret performed at the Top Music Wembley festival, held at the Wembley Arena in London.[69] In August, she won two Eska Music Awards for the Best Female Artist and Best Artist on the Internet.[70] She became the co-host of the musical TV show Retromania, which began airing on TVP1 in September.[71] At the 2015 MTV Europe Music Awards, the singer won the award for Best Polish Act, and was nominated for Worldwide Act: Europe.[72] In November, she released her second studio album, Just the Two of Us, a collaboration with Canadian jazz singer Matt Dusk.[73] It consists of their interpretations of jazz standards.[74] Margaret served as its co-producer.[75] In preparation for recording the album, Margaret listened to Ella Fitzgerald whom she has cited as an influence.[76] Just the Two of Us, released only in Poland, reached number twenty-eight and received a platinum certification from ZPAV.[77][67]

Margaret on Sommarkrysset at Gröna Lund in Stockholm in July 2016

In February 2016, Polish Broadcaster TVP announced that Margaret was one of the artists who would be competing in Krajowe Eliminacje 2016 (National Eliminations 2016), Poland's national final for the Eurovision Song Contest 2016, with the song "Cool Me Down".[78] The song incorporates pop music with a combination of reggae and electropop,[79] and Margaret has said that it is about "a very hot chick ... rhythm, moves and sexiness".[80] The singer quickly emerged as the bookmakers' and Eurovision fans' favourite to win both the national final and the Eurovision Song Contest,[81][82] but eventually finished in second place in Poland's Eurovision preselections in March.[83] "Cool Me Down" reached number four in Poland,[84] and was certified double platinum by ZPAV.[67] It later went on to become the forty-first most popular song on Polish radio stations in 2016.[85] In March, Margaret won Kids' Choice Award for Favourite Polish Star.[86] The following month, she signed a deal with Warner Music Group and released "Cool Me Down" worldwide.[87] It charted in a number of countries including Romania where it reached number twenty-two,[88] and Sweden where it peaked at number thirty-six[89] and received a gold certification from the Swedish Recording Industry Association (GLF).[90] To help promote the single in Sweden, Margaret made a few appearances throughout July and August, including televised performances on Sommarkrysset (Summercross), Lotta på Liseberg (Lotta at Liseberg) and during Rockbjörnen (The Rock Bear) Awards 2016 ceremony.[91][92][93] "Cool Me Down" was ranked fortieth on Popjustice' "Top 45 Singles of 2016" list.[94]

At the 2016 Eska Music Awards, Margaret premiered "Elephant" and won her second consecutive award for Best Artist on the Internet.[95][96] "Elephant", distributed only in Poland, was released as a single in August and charted at number twenty-one.[97][98] Mike Wass of Idolator called the song's chorus "catchy as hell" and wrote that even though its "sound isn't entirely original, there's something about Margaret's accent combined with the oddball lyrics that is utterly charming".[99] In October, Margaret joined the judging panel for Poland's national selection for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2016.[100] The singer won her second consecutive MTV Europe Music Award for Best Polish Act in November.[101] Both "Cool Me Down" and "Elephant" were included on the reissue of Add the Blonde released only in Poland in December.[102]

2017–present: Monkey Business[edit]

Whilst working on her third studio album Monkey Business, Margaret voiced Gradobitka (Smurf Storm) in the Polish-language version of the animated feature film, Smurfs: The Lost Village titled Smerfy: Poszukiwacze zaginionej wioski.[103] To promote the film, she recorded the song "Blue Vibes", which was released as a single in Poland in March 2017.[104][105] In March, the singer co-headlined the Night of the Proms concert, which took place at the Atlas Arena in Łódź, Poland. She performed songs from her own repertoire, as well as a cover of the Beatles' song "Hey Jude" performed with fellow co-headliners OMD, Anastacia, Ronan Keating, John Miles and Natalie Choquette.[106]

Monkey Business was released in Poland in June 2017. Margaret co-wrote ten songs on the album. She worked with her regular collaborators Joakim Buddee and Thomas Karlsson, as well as Dimitri Stassos, Wrethov, Robert Uhlmann and Arash.[107] The singer described the album as "versatile" and has said that she had more artistic control over its creative process than with her debut album.[108] Monkey Business peaked at number eight in Poland.[109] It was preceded by the single "What You Do" released in May. The single reached number fourteen in Poland.[110] Her collaboration with the Swedish group Vax, titled "6 in the Morning", was also released in May.[111] Margaret won her third consecutive Eska Music Award for Best Artist on the Internet in June.[112] Monkey Business's title track was released as the album's second single in September.[113] That month, Margaret received TVP1 Special Award at the 2017 National Polish Song Festival.[114][115]

Other work[edit]

Endorsements[edit]

In 2014, Margaret became one of the spokespersons for Play, a Polish cellular telecommunications provider.[116] In 2015, she appeared in two Polish Coca-Cola advertising campaigns, for which she recorded a Polish version of Robin Beck's "First Time" titled "Smak radości" ("The Taste of Happiness") and a Christmas song "Coraz bliżej święta" ("Christmas Is Getting Closer") which featured the finalists of the sixth season of The Voice of Poland.[117][118] In September 2015, a clothing line designed by her for Sinsay, a fashion retailer, was released under the name "Margaret for Sinsay".[119] In 2015–2017, she was featured in five Deichmann' Polish advertising campaigns.[120] In 2017, she became the face of the nail products brand Semilac in Poland.[121]

Philanthropy[edit]

Since 2014, Margaret has contributed annually to the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity (WOŚP).[122] The singer also took part in recording two charity albums in support of the Siemacha Association in 2014 and 2015.[123][124] In December 2014, she performed at the Brant Hotel in Warsaw, where her specially created painting was auctioned to aid local orphanages.[125] Margaret also appeared in Polsat Foundation' television promos, in which she encouraged viewers to send text messages. The profits were donated to the charity.[126]

Artistry and public image[edit]

Margaret during her performance at the 2016 RIX FM Festival at Kungsträdgården in Stockholm

Margaret has an alto vocal range.[127] The Polish music critic Robert Kozyra described her voice as "small" and added that her "weak" live performances reveal her limited vocal capabilities.[3] In contrast, Polish music manager Maja Sablewska stated that Margaret has a "beautiful" timbre and interprets her lyrics indicating that she knows what she is singing about.[3] In the single "Cool Me Down", Margaret's vocal range covers around one-and-a-half octaves from G4 to C6.[79] Her vocals were compared to Rihanna's, and some listeners went on to accuse the singer of trying to copy her to which she responded: "In lower registers my timbre is indeed similar to Rihanna's ... I will not apologise for that."[128][129]

Margaret has named the Polish singer Grażyna Łobaszewska as a role model and her biggest inspiration.[130] She has cited Miroslava Duma[131] and Gwen Stefani as her fashion inspirations.[132] Some of her other idols are: Rihanna[128] Jarle Bernhoft,[11] and Tom Odell of whom she has said: "I love Tom Odell, and it would be an honor to perform with him on stage."[133]

Margaret's fashion style—often described as unconventional and extravagant—and her musical endeavors, are the subject of wide media coverage in Poland.[134] The singer has created her own original style, which has been commended by several fashion experts, praising Margaret for her distinctness and versatility.[134][135] The stylist Basia Richard (who worked with Selena Gomez, Hilary Duff and Irina Shayk) is impressed by Margaret's ability to do "something completely different from everyone else" and has named her one of the best-dressed Polish stars.[136] Marcin Brzeziński of Viva! magazine expressed his admiration for Margaret's approach to fashion and the fact that she has no limits,[137] whilst Dorota Wróblewska, the Polish stylist and fashion show producer, noted that the singer is not afraid of criticism and likes to surprise with her fashion choices.[138] Margaret has won two Polish Glamour magazine Awards for Glamour Woman of the Year and Fashion Icon.[139][140]

In 2014, the singer was included on the list of 100 most-valuable stars of Polish show business compiled by the Polish edition of Forbes magazine. Her market value was estimated at 235,238 , ranking her sixty-seventh on the list.[141] In 2015, Wprost (Directly) placed her at number thirty-eight on their list of 50 most-influential Polish celebrities based on a number of criteria.[142]

Discography[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Films and television
Year Title Role Notes
2006 Szansa na sukces Herself Contestant
2009 Contestant
2015 Retromania Co-host
2017 Smurfs: The Lost Village Gradobitka Voice in Polish-language version

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Piotr Kupicha and Marcin Kindla
Poland in the Baltic Song Contest
2013
Succeeded by
Stashka
Preceded by
Dawid Kwiatkowski
MTV Europe Music Award for Best Polish Act winner
2015, 2016
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Preceded by
Italy Nek
OGAE Second Chance Contest winner
2016
Succeeded by
Incumbent