Petruo in 2008.
|Birth name||Vanessa Anneliese Petruo|
|Also known as||Vany|
|Born||23 October 1979|
Vanessa Anneliese Petruo (born 23 October 1979), also known as Vany, is a German singer–songwriter and actress. She came to international prominence as a member of the all–female pop band No Angels, that was created during the talents show Popstars. The band enjoyed a great popularity throughout Central Europe, following their record–breaking debut single "Daylight in Your Eyes" and the album Elle'ments. From 2001 to 2003, No Angels sold more than 5 million units. After their disbandment in 2003, Petruo launched her solo career.
After the release of the moderately successful solo song "Drama Queen", Petruo took much more control over her image and music. Following a short hiatus from public performance, she introduced elements of blues, funk and jazz into her solo album debut Mama Lilla Would, which was critically acclaimed but a commercial failure. Her musical ambitions have since mainly focused on her training as a jazz singer and several new compositions, widely published through her own MySpace. In 2007 Petruo refused to rejoin No Angels.
While maintaining a recording career Petruo has also gained fame for both her work as a voice actress and starring in several film and television productions, including RTL series Wilde Engel (2005) and a supporting role in the 2006 film Where Is Fred?. In 2009, Petruo retired from performing.
1979–2000: Early life and career
She was born in 1979 as Vanessa Anneliese Petruo on 23 October 1979 in Berlin. Her mother Mercedes, a Spanish–Peruvian, owned a salsa nightclub in Berlin-Charlottenburg, and her father Thomas Petruo is a voice actor. Petruo has two younger siblings, Jon Alexander and Priszilla. Her grandfather, Heinz Petruo, was a famous radio show host for RIAS and a voice actor, and is probably best known as the German dub of Darth Vader in the Star Wars saga. Petruo attended catholic school in Berlin-Moabit, and catholic high school in Berlin-Westend.
Influenced by her father, Petruo herself began dubbing films as a child. Aged twelve, she started taking vocal lessons. In her teenage years she made several appearances on German television, while gaining experience in music with own bands and first professional song recordings. After her high school graduation, Petruo applied herself to her communication studies but quickly chose to leave university and for internships at both MTV Germany and news channel N24. She began her professional music career in 1998, forming an indie pop duo STiLL with songwriter Bernd Klanke. They released an extended play, STiLL, independently, as they failed to sign a record contract.
2000–2003: Popstars and No Angels
In 2000, Petruo auditioned for German reality television program Popstars. She entered the competition with thousands of other women, and the judges Simone Angel, Rainer Moslener and Mario M. Mendryzcki were impressed with her performance of Bill Withers' hit single "Ain't No Sunshine". She earned a position in the top thirty finalists and travelled to Mallorca, Spain, to join her competitors for a workshop there. In the end Petruo made it to the final ten on the show, and during a special episode in November 2000, jury member Moslener disclosed that Petruo was chosen to become part of the final girl group, later called No Angels, along with Nadja Benaissa, Lucy Diakovka, Sandy Mölling and Jessica Wahls. The five signed a record contract with the Polydor Records.
No Angels released their debut single "Daylight in Your Eyes" on 5 February 2001. The song topped the Austrian, German and Swiss Singles Charts, making it one of the most successful debuts of the year. The album Elle'ments mirrored the success of "Daylight in Your Eyes", selling one million units and earning triple platinum and septuplicate gold certifications. The second album Now ... Us! followed the success of Elle'ments, and included the single "Something About Us", written by Petruo. Incorporating autobiographical features, it was inspired by Petruo's experiences with the media the year before. "I recalled the past year, the good and the bad times, and I built my own personal résumé", she stated.
Altogether the albums spawned twelve singles - including four number 1 singles and ten Top 10 hits - making the No Angels the most successful European girl group of their era with more than 5 million singles and albums sold.
On 5 September 2003, the group announced that they would no longer be performing together after three years of continual touring and increasing cases of illness. The release of The Best of No Angels in November of the same year marked the end of the band, whose members each went their separate ways. While some decided to go for motherhood or musical and television careers, Vanessa Petruo planned to take a longer vacation.
No Angels announced a reunion on 31 January 2007 however Vanessa declined to join the other four due to focusing on her solo career.
2003–2009: Solo career
Petruo became the first member of the No Angels to launch a career as a solo artist. Following the extension of her recording contract with Polydor and Popstars imprint Cheyenne Records, she released the single "Drama Queen", a collaborator with Thorsten Brötzmann and Alexander Geringas. A moderate commercial success, the uptempo song peaked at number 11 on the German Singles Chart. A video for a second single called "Pop That Melody", produced by Mousse T, was filmed but the release of the track was soon cancelled. Instead, Petruo worked as a simple employee for her record company Polydor for a couple of months.
Thereupon Petruo also spent time on dubbing movies (including Lilo & Stitch and Back to Gaya) and acting, most noticeably as a member of the main cast of Wilde Engel, a TV action series affected by Charlie's Angels whose four episodes were broadcast in April 2005.
After a sudden label change to Universal Island Vanessa released her second single "Hot Blooded Woman", followed-up by her critically acclaimed but minor successful first solo album Mama Lilla Would in November 2005.
In fall 2006, she starred alongside Til Schweiger and Alexandra Maria Lara in the motion picture Where Is Fred?. Still in 2006 Petruo went also on tour with famous soul singer Solounge. In August 2007, Peturo announced that she had left Universal Island due to varying viewpoints in music and marketing. At the 2009 Echo Awards, Vanessa stated that her new album was scheduled for an August 2009 release. But stated in March 2010 that she wanted to wait before releasing an album, avoiding bad media reviews caused by No Angels last year (especially Nadja Benaissa's case). She said that she was wishing the girls all the best but that they did not remain friends. On 13 March 2010, Petruo posted on her Facebook page and YouTube account a brand new demo from her forthcoming album, "Happy", a fresh song aimed "for those who are in love". She thanked her fans for their patience, stating again that the album would be released very soon.
|Title||Album details||Peak positions|
|Mama Lilla Would||—||—||—|
|"Drama Queen"||2004||11||35||88||non-album release|
|"Hot Blooded Woman"||2005||59||—||—||Mama Lilla Would|
|"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.|
|Pet Sematary||1989||Ellie Creed||(Voice) Dubbed German version|
|Good Times, Bad Times||1998||Unknown||(TV) Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten|
|Behind Bars – The Women's Prison||2002||Astrid||(TV) Hinter Gittern – Der Frauenknast|
|The Little Polar Bear||2001||Manili||(Voice) Der kleine Eisbär|
|Dr. Dolittle 2||2001||Ava / Girl Bear||(Voice) Dubbed German version|
|Lilo & Stitch||2002||Nani||(Voice) Dubbed German version|
|Boo, Zino & the Snurks||2004||Alanta||(Voice) Back to Gaya|
|3 Wild Angels||2005||Rebecca||(TV) Wilde Engel|
|Where Is Fred?||2005||Julia||Wo ist Fred?|
- Schaertl, Marika (2001-02-19). "Holger, der Engel-Macher". Focus (in German). Retrieved 2009-04-26.
- "BLITZ Spezial über die No Angels". Presseportal (in German). Retrieved 5 April 2007.
- "Scooter erfolgreichste deutsche Band aller Zeiten". Kontor Records (in German). Presseportal. 2008-03-03. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
- "No Angels - Popband". NDR.de (in German). Retrieved 2007-04-20.
- Schulte am Hülse, Jessica (2007-07-29). "Popstar sein ist ein Pakt mit dem Teufel". Die Welt. Retrieved 2008-06-26.
- "Official Website of Vannessa Petruo – Projects". vanessa-petruo.de. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
- Fischer, Marc (1 February 2001). "Popstar ist auch nur ein Job". Der Spiegel (in German). Retrieved 22 June 2011.
- Lachnit, Katja (26 August 2000). "Diese Mädchen wollen Popstars werden". Hamburger Abendblatt (in German). Retrieved 22 June 2011.
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- "Austrian Charts > No Angels" (in German). austriancharts.at Hung Medien. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
- "Swiss Charts > No Angels" (in German). Retrieved 22 June 2011.
- dpa (21 April 2009). "Die Popband No Angels". Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
- "Work: Songs". VanessaPetruo.tv. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
- "Was macht eigentlich Ex-No Angel Vanessa Petruo?". Promiflash.de. Retrieved 2010-07-09.
- "Vanessa Petruo discography". germancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
- "Vanessa Petruo discography". austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
- "Vanessa Petruo discography". hitparade.ch. Hung Medien. Retrieved 10 May 2014.