Margaret (singer)

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Margaret
Smiling Margaret with her hair tied up. She wears a black top.
Margaret during the Melodifestivalen 2018 semi-final 2 press conference at Scandinavium in Gothenburg, Sweden in February 2018
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), known professionally as Margaret, is a Polish singer-songwriter. Before her mainstream debut, she performed in underground bands, recorded soundtracks for television commercials and produced a fashion blog. While blogging, she was discovered by manager Sławomir Berdowski and signed by her record label, Extensive Music. The singer gained international recognition with her singles "Thank You Very Much" (2013) and "Cool Me Down" (2016).

Margaret's 2013 debut single, "Thank You Very Much", was included on her first extended play (EP) All I Need. The song charted in the top thirty in Italy, the top forty in Austria and the top fifty in Germany. Her debut studio album, Add the Blonde, was released in 2014 and peaked at number eight in Poland. It contained three singles, "Wasted", "Start a Fire" and "Heartbeat", which reached numbers six, ten and eleven respectively on Poland's singles chart. The album's 2016 re-release produced "Cool Me Down", the singer's first Polish top five single. The song also charted in the top thirty in Romania and the top forty in Sweden. In 2015, Margaret recorded Just the Two of Us, a jazz album with Matt Dusk, which was followed by her third full-length release, Monkey Business, in 2017. The latter peaked at number eight in Poland and spawned the singles "What You Do" and "Byle jak".

The singer has received numerous awards, including five Eska Music Awards, a Kids' Choice Award and two MTV Europe Music Awards. She was included on a 2014 list of the one hundred most-valuable stars of Polish show business compiled by the Polish edition of Forbes. In 2015, the Polish magazine Wprost named her one of the fifty most influential Polish celebrities. Alongside her music career, Margaret has endorsed numerous products, designed a clothing line for fashion retailer Sinsay and voiced Smurfstorm in the Polish-language version of Smurfs: The Lost Village.

Early life and education[edit]

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

As a child, Jamroży participated in many singing contests.[3] She attended the Ińsko school complex (a primary school and gymnasium),[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] She also studied singing at the Jazz Academy in Katowice,[7][8] and took private singing lessons from the 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 eighteen, Margaret moved to Warsaw, where as of June 2016, she lived 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] She 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 an 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).[16] After winning, she took part in the show's 2009 final at the Congress Hall in Warsaw.[17] Margaret had previously appeared on the show in 2006, singing Stenia Kozłowska's song "Będę czekać" ("I'll Be Waiting").[18] In 2010, she appeared in the musical Rent at the Szczecin Opera in the Castle.[19] That year, she became a singer-songwriter for the Margaret J. Project, a six-piece electropop band with R&B and hip hop influences that she formed with music producer and bassist Adam Kabaciński.[19][20] They qualified for the semi-finals of the 2010 Coke Live Fresh Noise competition.[19] The group disbanded in November 2012;[21] their studio album This Is Margaret was released online in 2013.[21] In 2011, Margaret produced a fashion blog with music videos.[12][22] As her music career progressed, her blogging waned.[16] Margaret recorded soundtracks for Polish television commercials early in her career, including "Moments" and "It Will Be Lovely Day", which received radio airplay.[23][24] According to Polish music manager Maja Sablewska, nobody knew who Margaret was but her voice was "ubiquitous".[3] The singer also provided vocals for the 2012 biopic Bokser ("Boxer") and the 2012 documentary film Beauty and the Breast.[25][26]

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

While blogging, Margaret was approached by her future manager, Sławomir Berdowski, who became interested in working with her after hearing her recording of Adele's "Right as Rain".[27][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".[27] Shortly after recording the song, Margaret was signed by the Swedish record label Extensive Music.[27][28] The label signed a licensing deal with Universal Music Poland's Magic Records, which releases Margaret's music in Poland.[29] In May 2012, "Thank You Very Much" was released to radio stations in Poland, and Margaret performed it at the 2012 TOPtrendy Festival at Sopot's Forest Opera amphitheatre.[30][31] Shortly thereafter, her management decided to withdraw the song from radio stations and design a promotional plan before re-releasing it.[3]

"Thank You Very Much" and its music video were released for digital download in February 2013, and immediately sold well in Poland. It won an award as the third-best selling digital single of 2013 in the country by a Polish artist.[32] Margaret worked with the director Chris Piliero on the song's music video in which she appeared surrounded by thirty nude extras.[33] The video was removed by YouTube for violating the website's policy against nudity and sexual content; it was later restored with age restrictions.[34] Following this, Margaret expressed her support for the right to nudity under the slogan, "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity", and criticised YouTube for censorship.[33] The video received substantial media coverage, contributing to the international success of "Thank You Very Much".[35][36] A year after its release, the music video appeared on the viral website 9GAG; this increased its YouTube traffic to more than 500,000 views in 24 hours.[37] In June 2013, Margaret travelled to Germany to promote "Thank You Very Much" with a live performance on ZDF Fernsehgarten ("ZDF Television Garden").[38] After her appearance on the show, the single peaked at number thirty-eight in Austria and number forty-one in Germany.[39][40]

Margaret's second single, "Tell Me How Are Ya", was released in July 2013 with her first extended play (EP) All I Need, which reached number fifty on the Polish albums chart.[41][42] She represented Poland at the July 2013 Baltic Song Contest in Sweden, where she sang "Thank You Very Much" and "I Get Along" against nine other competitors and finished second.[43][44] She was nominated in several categories at the 2013 Eska Music Awards, including Best Female Artist, Best Hit ("Thank You Very Much"), Best Music Video ("Thank You Very Much") and Best Debut, and won the Best Music Video award.[45][46] She was also nominated for Best Polish Act at the 2013 MTV Europe Music Awards.[47] In December, she embarked on a promotional tour in Italy, where "Thank You Very Much" peaked at number twenty-two on the official singles chart.[48][49]

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

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, Poland.[50] The song was released in January 2014 as the lead single from her first studio album Add the Blonde,[23] and reached number six in Poland.[51] It later became the thirty-second most popular song on Polish radio stations in 2014.[52] In February, Margaret became a spokesperson for Play, a Polish telecoms provider.[53]

Margaret on stage speaking into a microphone. She wears a green dress.
Margaret at the 2014 Grupa Azoty Grand Festival in Tarnów, Poland in September 2014

Add the Blonde was released in August 2014. A pop record, it was influenced by retro-disco and ska and by the work of Madonna.[54] The album reached number eight in Poland,[55] and was certified platinum by the Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry (ZPAV).[56] Also in August, Margaret released "Start a Fire"—the official song of the 2014 FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship in Poland.[57] She performed it at the tournament's opening ceremony.[58] The song became the second single from Add the Blonde and peaked at number ten in Poland.[59] Around this time, she 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 television series of the same name.[60] The singer was featured on a 2014 Christmas charity album Siemacha po kolędzie ("Siemacha After Carolling"), recorded in support of the Siemacha Association; its follow-up, Gwiazdy po kolędzie ("Stars After Carolling"), which contained two songs recorded by Margaret, was released in 2015.[61][62] The third Add the Blonde single, "Heartbeat", was released in February 2015 and charted at number eleven in Poland, becoming Margaret's third consecutive Polish top fifteen single.[63]

In April 2015, Margaret co-headlined the Top Music Wembley festival at the Wembley Arena in London.[64] In August, she won two Eska Music Awards for the Best Female Artist and Best Artist on the Internet.[65] She became the co-host of the musical television show Retromania, which began airing on TVP1 in September.[66] The show was cancelled after two months.[16] Also in September, a clothing line designed by her for fashion retailer Sinsay was released under the name "Margaret for Sinsay".[67] At the 2015 MTV Europe Music Awards, the singer won the award for Best Polish Act, and was nominated for Worldwide Act: Europe.[68] In November, she released her second studio album, Just the Two of Us, a collaboration with Canadian jazz singer Matt Dusk,[69] composed of their interpretations of jazz standards.[70] In preparation for its recording, she listened to Ella Fitzgerald whom she has cited as an influence.[71] Margaret stated that the reason she made a jazz record was to fulfil her dream and that she has no plans to give up her pop career.[72] Just the Two of Us was promoted by two singles, the title track and the song "'Deed I Do".[73] The album reached number twenty-eight in Poland and received a platinum certification from ZPAV.[74][56]

In 2015, Margaret appeared in two Polish Coca-Cola advertising campaigns, performing covers of two songs.[75][76] She was also featured in Deichmann's Polish advertising campaign and by March 2018 had appeared in five more.[77]

Smiling Margaret wearing a black sleeveless top pictured in a sitting position.
Margaret on Sommarkrysset at Gröna Lund in Stockholm, Sweden in July 2016

In February 2016, Polish broadcaster Telewizja Polska (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] The singer quickly emerged as the bookmakers' and Eurovision fans' favourite to win both the national final and the Eurovision Song Contest,[80][81] but eventually finished in second place in Poland's Eurovision preselections in March.[82] "Cool Me Down" reached number four in Poland, becoming Margaret's first Polish top five single,[83] and was certified double platinum by ZPAV.[56] It later placed forty-first on the list of most popular songs on Polish radio stations in 2016.[84] In March, Margaret won the Kids' Choice Award for Favourite Polish Star.[85] The following month, she signed a deal with Warner Music Group and released "Cool Me Down" worldwide.[86] It charted in numerous countries including Romania where it reached number twenty-two,[87] and Sweden where it peaked at number thirty-six[88] and received a gold certification from the Swedish Recording Industry Association (GLF).[89] To help promote the single in Sweden, Margaret played shows during July and August, including televised performances on Sommarkrysset ("Summercross"), Lotta på Liseberg ("Lotta at Liseberg") and during Rockbjörnen ("The Rock Bear") Awards 2016 ceremony.[90][91][92] "Cool Me Down" was ranked fortieth on Popjustice' "The Top 45 Singles of 2016" list.[93]

At the 2016 Eska Music Awards, Margaret premiered "Elephant" and won her second consecutive award for Best Artist on the Internet.[94][95] "Elephant" was released as a single in August and charted at number twenty-one in Poland.[96][97] 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".[98] Margaret won her second consecutive MTV Europe Music Award for Best Polish Act in November.[99] Both "Cool Me Down" and "Elephant" were included on the reissue of Add the Blonde released in December.[100]

2017–present: Monkey Business and Melodifestivalen 2018[edit]

Whilst working on her third studio album Monkey Business, Margaret voiced Smurfstorm in the Polish-language version of the animated feature film, Smurfs: The Lost Village.[101] To promote the film, she recorded the song "Blue Vibes", which was released in March 2017.[102][103] In April, the singer signed an advertising deal with the nail products brand Semilac in Poland.[104]

Close-up shot of a smiling Margaret with her hair tied up. She wears white hoop earings and an orange top.
Margaret after her semi-final performance at Melodifestivalen 2018

Monkey Business was released in June 2017 and peaked at number eight in Poland.[105] Margaret described the album as "versatile" and has said that she had more artistic control over its creative process than with her debut album.[106] She recalled that this time she was in charge whereas with Add the Blonde she listened to and took advice from her producers.[106] Monkey Business was preceded by the single "What You Do" released in May, which reached number fourteen on Poland's singles chart and was the ninety-first most popular song on Polish radio stations in 2017.[107][108] Margaret's collaboration with the Swedish group Vax, titled "6 in the Morning", was also released in May.[109] The singer won her third consecutive Eska Music Award for Best Artist on the Internet in June.[110] In August, it was announced that she would be appearing in Maybelline Poland's web series Make Up in the City.[111] The following month, she received the TVP1 Special Award at the 2017 National Polish Song Festival.[112] Monkey Business's cuts, "Nie chce" ("I Don't Want To") and "Byle jak" ("Anyhow"), were an inspiration for a short film "Nie chce / Byle jak" starring Margaret, which was released in November and served as a music video for the songs.[a][115] "Byle jak" was released as a single the following month and reached number six in Poland.[116][117]

In November 2017, Swedish broadcaster Sveriges Television (SVT) announced that Margaret would take part in Melodifestivalen 2018, a competition which aims to select Sweden's entry for Eurovision Song Contest 2018, with the song "In My Cabana".[118] The singer, who became the first Polish artist to compete in Melodifestivalen, revealed that she was invited to take part in the contest by the show's producer Christer Björkman who spotted her on Swedish television.[119][120] Björkman later referred to her as "incredibly starlike".[121] Margaret performed in the second semi-final of the competition on 10 February 2018, and advanced to the Second Chance round known as Andra chansen.[118][122] She subsequently qualified for the final, after winning her Andra chansen duel against Moncho, and finished in seventh place with 103 points.[123][124] "In My Cabana" was released on the day of her semi-final performance. The song charted at number three in Poland and number eight in Sweden.[125][88] In April, Margaret signed an advertising deal to promote new line of a non-alcoholic beer Warka Radler.[126]

She will co-headline a nine-date concert tour in Sweden called Stjärnklart ("Starlight"), which will run from November to December 2018.[127]

Artistry and public image[edit]

Margaret performing onstage wearing two piece floral bodysuit and fringed red jacket. She also wears sunglasses.
Margaret during her performance at the 2016 RIX FM Festival at Kungsträdgården in Stockholm, Sweden

Margaret has an alto vocal range.[128] The Polish music critic Robert Kozyra described her voice as "small" and added that her "weak" live performances reveal her limited vocal capabilities.[3] Polish music manager Maja Sablewska stated that Margaret has a "beautiful" timbre and interprets her lyrics as 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 copying her. She responded: "In lower registers my timbre is indeed similar to Rihanna's [...]. I will not apologise for that."[129][130]

Margaret has named the Polish singer Grażyna Łobaszewska as a role model and her biggest inspiration.[131] She has cited Miroslava Duma[132] and Gwen Stefani as her fashion inspirations.[133] Some other figures she admires are Rihanna,[129] Jarle Bernhoft[11] and Tom Odell.[134]

Margaret's fashion style and music are covered widely by the Polish media.[135] Her style has been commended by several fashion experts for its distinctness and versatility.[135][136] The stylist Basia Richard has been impressed by Margaret's individualism and has named her one of the best-dressed Polish stars.[137] Marcin Brzeziński of Viva! magazine expressed his admiration for Margaret's approach to fashion and the fact that she has no limits when it comes to it;[138] Dorota Wróblewska, the Polish stylist and fashion show producer, said that the singer is not afraid of criticism and likes to surprise with her fashion choices.[139] Margaret has won two Polish Glamour magazine Awards for Glamour Woman of the Year and Fashion Icon.[140][141]

In 2014, the singer was included on the list of one hundred most-valuable stars of Polish show business compiled by the Polish edition of Forbes magazine. Her market value was estimated at 235,238 ($68,892.18), ranking her sixty-seventh on the list.[142] In 2015, the Polish magazine Wprost ("Directly") placed her at number thirty-eight on their list of fifty most-influential Polish celebrities.[143]

Discography[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Film and television
Year Title Role Notes
2006 Szansa na sukces Contestant Talent competition
2009 Contestant Talent competition
2015 Retromania Co-host Television show
2016 Krajowe Eliminacje 2016 Contestant Poland's national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest 2016
2017 Smurfs: The Lost Village Smurfstorm Voice in Polish-language version
2018 Melodifestivalen 2018 Contestant Sweden's national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest 2018

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In addition to acting in "Nie chce / Byle jak", Margaret co-wrote the screenplay with its director Konrad Aksinowicz. The film premiered exclusively in Multikino theater in Złote Tarasy, Warsaw, Poland on 22 November 2017, few days before being officially released on YouTube.[113][114]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]