Gabrielle was born in Hackney, London. Her unconventional image includes short tight curls and an eye patch or sunglasses—she has ptosis, the drooping of one eyelid.
Her debut single "Dreams" topped the UK Singles Chart in June 1993. Other singles include "Going Nowhere", "Give Me a Little More Time", "Walk On By" and "If You Ever" – a duet with East 17. After a few quiescent years Gabrielle made a comeback with "Rise", which became Gabrielle's second UK number one in 2000. The album of the same name also reached the top spot in the UK Albums Chart, where it stayed for three weeks. "Out of Reach" from the soundtrack to the film Bridget Jones's Diary reached number four in the UK Singles Chart. Gabrielle's greatest hits collection, Dreams Can Come True, Greatest Hits Vol. 1 was released in 2001.
Gabrielle has won two BRIT Awards, the first in 1994 for British Breakthrough Act, and the second in 1997 for Best British Female.
Gabrielle is currently recording a brand new album (2017) which will be her first studio album in 10 years.
In June 1993, Gabrielle released her debut single entitled "Dreams". "Dreams" was co-written by Gabrielle and Tim Laws and Rachel and produced by Richie Fermie. The single reached number one on the UK singles chart for three weeks in June 1993 having entered the British charts at number 2 which was the highest chart entry a solo female debut act had ever scored in the UK at that time. The song also peaked at number 26 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the US and at number-one on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart. In Australia, the song made number two on the ARIA Chart. The second single "Going Nowhere" from the same album was written by Gabrielle and George McFarlane and produced by Pete Cragie. "Going Nowhere" reached number nine on the UK singles chart and number 18 ranking in Ireland. It was the second biggest hit from the album Find Your Way. In December 1993 Gabrielle released her third single from her debut album. "I Wish", written by Gabrielle and Jon Douglas, it was not as successful as its predecessors, which both reached the UK top ten. "I Wish" charted at number 26 on the UK singles chart and remains one of Gabrielle's lowest peaking singles to date. "Because of You" was the fourth and final single from Gabrielle's debut album Find Your Way. Written by Gabrielle, George McFarlane and Ray Saint John, "Because of You" peaked at number 24 on the UK Singles Chart. "Find Your Way" peaked at number nine on the UK Albums Chart.
Gabrielle released her self-titled second studio album in 1996, reaching number 11 in the UK Album Chart eventually going to platinum in the country. "Gabrielle" also reached number 80 on the MegaCharts in the Netherlands. The album's lead single "Give Me a Little More Time", returned Gabrielle to the UK top ten, peaking at five, spending ten weeks inside the UK top 20. The song also peaked at nine in Ireland. It is her fourth biggest selling single in the UK and has been certified silver. "Forget About the World" was released as the second single from the album. Written by Gabrielle, Wolff, Dean, Barson, who wrote previous single, "Give Me a Little More Time", "Forget About the World" did not perform as well as its predecessor, peaking at 23 in UK. It was the lowest charting single from the album and the only single to miss the top 15. The third single "If You Really Cared" was written by Gabrielle, Wolff, Dean, Barson, who wrote previous single, "Give Me a Little More Time" and "Forget About the World", "If You Really Cared" returned Gabrielle to the UK top 20 after the last single missed out. "If You Really Cared" peaked at 15 in the UK Singles Chart. "If I Ever Fall in Love" was covered in 1996 as a duet by East 17 and Gabrielle, and renamed If You Ever. It reached number two in the UK and four in Latvia. It was also one of only three songs by Gabrielle to reach the Top 20 in Australia, peaking at 16. It was the highest charting single from both aforementioned albums. The song was also the 11th biggest selling boyband single of the 1990s in the UK selling 510,000 copies and has received a Gold sales status certification. In 1997, UK singer Gabrielle released her version of "Walk On By" as the fifth and final single from her album. It reached number seven in the UK.
Gabrielle began recording her third studio album Rise in 1998 through 1999. Rise was released on 18 October 1999 in the United Kingdom, and 15 August 2000 in the United States. The album became Gabrielle's biggest selling album to date with it becoming her only number one album. The album became a huge commercial success, spending three weeks at number one in the UK Albums Chart, and achieving 4x Platinum status. "Sunshine" was the album's first single. The album peaked at number nine in the UK giving her her sixth UK top ten hit. "Rise" was released as the album's second single. It was her second number one single in the UK (and thus far, last). Written by Gabrielle, Ollie Dagois, Ferdy Unger-Hamilton and Bob Dylan, and produced by Johnny Dollar, the song used a sample from Bob Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door". The song reached number one on the UK singles chart for two weeks in January 2000. The song has sold 460,000 copies in the UK as stated by the Official UK Charts Company making the song one of the 14th best selling of 2000 in the UK. The album of the same name also reached the top spot in the UK Albums Chart, where it stayed for three weeks. It spent 87 weeks in the charts. "When a Woman" was released as the third single from Rise in June 2000. The song reached number six on the UK Singles Chart and was the second-highest charting single from the album. It became Gabrielle's eighth top ten hit. "Should I Stay" was released as a single in 2000 and was the fourth and final single released from the Rise album. The song charted at 13 in the UK Singles Chart, the fourth top 15 hit from the album. The video for the single is very moody and depicts the atmosphere of the song more so than having a linear storyline. The song samples part of the BBC News theme. In 2004, it was used in the second episode of the BBC drama serial Blackpool.
Gabrielle released her first greatest hits collection on 12 November 2001, entitled Dreams Can Come True, Greatest Hits Vol. 1. The album achieved success in the UK where it was certified as a four times platinum seller and became the fifth best selling album of 2001. It was also the 76th biggest selling album of that Decade in the UK. The lead single from the greatest hits album was "Out of Reach" which was also from the soundtrack to the film Bridget Jones's Diary. The song reached number four in the UK and nine in Australia, making it her second biggest hit in the country and also the 37th highest selling single of 2001. It remained on the chart there for more than 20 weeks. In New Zealand, the song was the tenth most successful single of 2001. The song has sold 320,000 copies in the UK as stated by the Official UK Charts Company. The second and final single from the album was "Don't Need the Sun to Shine (To Make Me Smile)". The single managed to peak at number nine in the UK Singles Chart, the song was also her eighth consecutive top 15 hit in the UK and her tenth top ten hit.
An arena tour of the United Kingdom followed in June 2002.
On 17 May 2004, Gabrielle released her fourth studio album Play to Win. It reached number ten in the UK and was the 191st best-selling album of 2004. "Stay the Same" was the first single the album. The single reached number 20 in the UK Singles Chart, helping the album peak inside the UK top ten. "Stay the Same" was, however, her lowest charting single in eight years, albeit her tenth consecutive top twenty hit. The second single "Ten Years Time" was the second and final commercial single from Play to Win. The song is Gabrielle's lowest peaking single to date and her first to miss the UK top 40, peaking at 43 and only spending a week inside the top 75. One further single ("You Used to Love Me") was released to promote Play to Win but no video or commercial release was given to the song. A supporting UK tour followed. The track "Sometimes" from this album features on the Love Actually film soundtrack.
In 2007 she released a new single, "Why", which she performed on The National Lottery show on 19 September, as well as many other TV slots. "Why" did not reach the UK Top 40. On 1 October 2007, fifth studio album Always was released. The album received positive reviews from music critics and was released on 1 October 2007 in the UK, being preceded by the single "Why" on 24 September 2007. Always entered the UK Albums Chart at number 11 (just 12 copies from entering at number ten). Always entered the UK R&B Album Chart at number 4. It included a version of the song "Why" that featured Paul Weller. The final single from the album "Every Little Teardrop" was released; however, it failed to chart.
Gabrielle set off on a sell out UK tour of 14 dates through February 2007. Critics gave positive reviews on her performances. Following the relative disappointment regarding the singles "Why" and "Every Little Teardrop" Gabrielle stated: "If people don't like that song then I'll find one that they do like because I have done it before and I'll do it again. That old saying 'if at first you don't succeed, try and try again', well that's me, because I'm a fighter not a quitter." Gabrielle headlined the 'Zermatt Unplugged' music festival in April 2008, along with Alanis Morissette. In addition she headlined 'Birmingham Pride' in 2008. In May 2008, Gabrielle won an Ivor Novello award for Best Song Collection. In a recent interview, Gabrielle revealed that she has begun writing songs for a mystery new artist. She said, "It was really good to get asked to do something like that, as the pressure isn't on so much". But also states that it is not the end of her performing and recording career, "I look up to people like Dionne Warwick and Madonna, for managing to keep careers going for so long. I'm not that far behind Madonna, really," says Gabrielle, 38. "It'd be great to be making music like those old birds". Gabrielle was also Al Green's special guest on the UK dates of his 2008 tour.
In April 2010, it was announced that Gabrielle had returned to the studio to work on her sixth studio album. Gabrielle stated in an interview the album would contain two collaborations, and that she had been working with several new producers including Syience (Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige) and Naughty Boy (Emeli Sandé) among others. She described the album as being an "up to date" Gabrielle record, planned for release during 2013, six years since her last album and 20 years since her rise to fame with "Dreams".
It was revealed in the Sunday Mirror that Gabrielle would feature on a track from the forthcoming Naughty Boy album, Hotel Cabana. The song, "Hollywood", written by Emeli Sandé and produced by Naughty Boy, is about fame coming and going. The album was expected for release in the fourth quarter of 2013.
In an interview with BBC 1Xtra it was revealed that Naughty Boy had reworked the classic "Dreams"' for the Now and Always: 20 Years of Dreaming album.
On 18 November 2013, Gabrielle released the album "Now and Always: 20 Years of Dreaming", followed by the single "Say Goodbye" on 25 November. The album contained seven new tracks, the greatest hits, selected album tracks and remixes.
A Headline UK tour entitled "The 20 Years of Dreaming Tour" took place March 2014.
On 24 August 2014, Gabrielle headlined the second night of the Rovinj Festival, held in Rovinj, Croatia.
In 2015, Gabrielle hosted an evening in Canary Wharf, London. Performing many of her hits plus album tracks acoustically, for an intimate audience.
April 2016 saw her take to the road with Michael Bolton. A nationwide sell out show, it included a night at the Royal Albert Hall, where she duetted with Bolton on a cover of "Make You Feel My Love". Videos can be found on YouTube.
In May 2016, Gabrielle announced her own headline acoustic tour, which is to take place in Oct & Nov 2016. A further greatest hits collection titled "Dreams: The Best Of" was also released but did not chart.
Gabrielle is currently working on her sixth studio album having already recorded songs with MNEK, Bless Beats, Shakka and Biffco.Gabrielle has said, “I have been writing new music in the studio, but there’s no definite date for when that will be released." In Feb 2016, she released a snippet of a new song on her Twitter account.
Gabrielle's first two studio albums were inspired by "classic soul connotations" such as Marvin Gaye, Barry White and Bobby Womack. However, the albums also contained influence "by early-'80s British pop" Soul II Soul, Lisa Stansfield and Mantronix. Gabrielle's third album Rise spoke of "optimism, romanticism, devotion, and a keen survival instinct". "Play to Win" incorporated a mix of genres Gabrielle spoke on the albums influences saying "There's also a couple of songs which lean more to Country, so there will be a couple of surprises for them." So in this day and age, why has Gabrielle decided to incorporate Country influences into her songs, "There's nothing wrong with Country. Yeah, I'm a black woman, but I'd like to think that I can just sing 'songs'. This album is diverse but people buying my music can expect diverse music; it's about love, life and optimism."
Gabrielle cited her high school teacher as one influence, saying that she was "inspired the moment her teacher asked her to construct her first poem. Her poetry began to develop into songs, and then she began to sing." Other inspirations came through in an eclectic collection of 1980s pop. "Madonna, Culture Club, Haircut One Hundred, Duran Duran, Adam and the Ants and Wham!. "You know, it was all pop, and at the same time I was a huge Michael Jackson fan, so I had a big picture of him, you know, when he looked really beautiful, and he was dark chocolate and you just wanted to lick him, although they were innocent thoughts those days, when I was younger."Gabrielle: Vocals
Mac Douglas Rhythm guitar
Jesse Grant: Percussion
Emlyn Maillard: Keyboards
Olivia Williams: Backing Vocals
Phebe Edwards: Backing Vocals
Find Your Way (1993)
Play to Win (2004)
Rise Underground (2000)
Dreams Can Come True, Greatest Hits Vol. 1 (2001)
Now and Always: 20 Years of Dreaming (2013)
Dreams: The Best Of (2016)
Ivor Novello Awards
Urban Music Awards 2007 – Outstanding Achievement