Jamelia's professional music career began in 1999, when she released her debut single, "So High", followed by a more successful single, "I Do". She then released her debut full-length studio album, Drama, in June 2000. Jamelia went on to release further successful singles, including "Superstar" which charted at number three on the UK Singles Chart respectively, with "Superstar" charting at number one in Australia and becoming platinum certified in Australia. She went on to further release another two studio albums, Thank You (2003) and Walk with Me (2006), before leaving Parlophone following a dispute with executives over the release of "No More", the third offering from Walk with Me.
Jamelia's ten-year-successful career span has led her to becoming a judge on shows such as Move Like Michael Jackson in 2009. Her filmography also includes her own TV documentaries, including Jamelia: Whose Hair Is It Anyway (2008), her own edition of the popular Channel 4 show, The House That Made Me and in 2011, her own BBC Three documentary, Jamelia: Shame About Single Mums. In 2010 she signed a new record deal with All Around the World Productions. She was a panelist on the ITV magazine show Loose Women from 2013 until 2016.
Jamelia was born in Handsworth, Birmingham to single mother Paulette Davis. Her mother is Jamaican and her father is Zimbabwean. She grew up in nearby Hockley and attended a local primary school, Brookfields Primary School and then later attended the CTC Kingshurst Academy, formerly known as the City Technology College.
Jamelia was signed to Capitol Records at 15 after record producers heard recordings of her self-written a cappella songs that she had made on a karaoke machine. In late 1999, Jamelia recorded the single So High, a collaboration with fellow R&B vocalist Rosita Lynch. The single failed to chart in both the UK and mainland Europe, and did not appear on any of Jamelia's subsequent albums. Following the poor sales of the single, Jamelia left Capitol Records, but was quickly signed up with record company Parlophone, a branch of EMI.
Taking some time to record her début album, Drama, Jamelia returned to the music scene in early 2000 with the single "I Do", which became her first commercially successful single in the UK and mainland Europe, making the UK Top 40 and holding Top 20 positions in France and Sweden. The single's mediocre chart success, however, led to the delay of the release of Money. Jamelia's third single, "Money" (featuring rapper Beenie Man and co-written by UK The X Factor finalist Daniel De Bourg), was released in February 2000. The single was the singer's breakthrough in the UK, peaking at number five and spending nine weeks in the UK Top 75; it later won a MOBO Award for Best Video in 2000. Despite the success of Money, Drama did not make a major chart impression in the UK, where it peaked at number 39. The third single from the album, "Call Me", reached number 11, and the fourth single, "Boy Next Door", peaked at number 42. Recognition for the singer's early success came in late 2000 and 2001 at the BRIT Awards. Jamelia was nominated for Best British Newcomer, Best British Video and Best British Female.
Jamelia recorded her second studio album, Thank You, in 2002 and early 2003 following the birth of her daughter Teja in 2001. The first single lifted from Thank You was the R&B-influenced "Bout", on which she collaborated with American rap star Rah Digga; it debuted at number 37 in the UK. The second single, the much poppier "Superstar", became Jamelia's highest peaking at the time when it peaked at number three, and earned the spot of the 26th best-selling of 2003 in the UK. It remains Jamelia's only single to receive a BPI certification. Parent album Thank You, released shortly after "Superstar", was widely expected to replicate the single's success, but entered the UK chart at number 65. Subsequently, a number of record producers worked with Jamelia on a re-release of the album that features new artwork and track listing, including two new songs: her collaboration with Coldplay's Chris Martin and DJ K Staveley, "See It in a Boy's Eyes", and "DJ".
Promoting the re-release, title track "Thank You" was issued shortly before. Known to be Jamelia's favourite of her releases, the song became her highest charting single to date in the UK, where it peaked at number two and received the 2004 MOBO Award for Best Single and a BRIT Award nomination in the same category. The fourth single "See it in a Boy's Eyes" was released in mid-2004 and became Jamelia's third consecutive top five hit, winning a MOBO Award for Best Video and a Q Award for Best Single. The success of Thank You resulted in five BRIT Award nominations for Jamelia in 2004 and 2005 for Best British Female, Best British Single, Best Female Solo Act, and Best British Urban Act. The album became the 36th best-selling of 2004 and has been certified double platinum by the BPI in recognition of 600,000 copies shipped to retailers. Jamelia also contributed a cover version of Kool and the Gang's "Straight Ahead" for their remix/covers album The Hits: Reloaded.
In mid-2004, Jamelia collaborated with Italian singer Tiziano Ferro on "Universal Prayer" for the 2004 Olympic Games soundtrack. It became her first Number 1 single in Italy and Spain and was added to non-UK editions of Thank You. In late 2004, Jamelia was asked to contribute to the Band Aid 20 charity single "Do They Know It's Christmas?", on which she sang with Will Young. The single topped the UK Singles Chart and was certified platinum. Around the same time, Jamelia released the lead single from the soundtrack of the film Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, a cover of Sam Brown's 1988 single "Stop!"; it was released as double A-side in the UK with the aforementioned "DJ", and peaked at number nine. In spring 2004, Jamelia was signed by the prestigious agency, ICM. Just a week later she was signed as the face and legs of Pretty Polly in a high-profile advertising campaign and shortly afterwards was featured in a poster campaign for Reebok. Since pursuing work in modelling, Jamelia has also endorsed Listerine Softmint Sensation, Jaguar Cars and BMW, was the brand ambassador for the maternity wear line Seraphine, has appeared in print advertising for Oxfam and on the front cover of magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Company, Elle and Harpers & Queen. On 9 November 2006, Jamelia joined Feeder on stage for the encore of Feeder's WAR Child gig at 'The Coronet' in London. They performed a cover of R.E.M.'s "Everybody Hurts" as well as "Beware of the Dog".
Following the birth of her second daughter, Tiani, in 2005, Jamelia began recording her third album, Walk with Me. Its lead single, "Something About You", was released in late 2006 and described as "less R&B, more experimental", with Popjustice hailing it as "an incredible pop single". The single became Jamelia's first to enter the charts solely on download sales alone, debuting at number 28, rising to number nine almost a month later following the physical release. Walk with Me was released shortly after and drew critical praise, with many critics claiming that it marked a significant turn in the singer's career as she moved from R&B to pop/rock.
The album did not emulate the chart success of Thank You, managing to début only at number 20 on the UK Albums Chart. The second single, "Beware of the Dog", features a sample from Depeche Mode's 1989 song "Personal Jesus" and was heavily praised as being Jamelia's best single to date, with BBC Radio 1's "Chart Blog" stating that it "might just be one of the best pop songs ever made" and "the best pop song of the year", receiving a five-star rating. The single became the second consecutive Top 10 effort from the singer's third album, reaching number 10 in the UK. The final single to be released from the album was "No More", which samples The Stranglers' 1981 single "Golden Brown". It made the A-list on BBC Radio 2, but failed to garner much sales success, debuting at number 43.
Walk with Me became Jamelia's second album to receive a BPI certification. After four months of release, it sold more than 100,000 copies and was awarded a Gold disk. However, despite producing two Top 10 singles and garnering mostly positive reviews, Walk With Me had disappointing sales compared to her second album, Thank You, which went on to become certified double platinum.
In an interview with Digital Spy in December 2009, Jamelia said that she wasn't surprised that the album did not sell well. "I probably wasn't in the right frame of mind with Walk With Me... I love all the songs individually, but I don't feel it flows very well as an album, which makes it harder to relate to. It sold well over 100,000 copies – but I want double-platinum every time!"
In late 2007, the singer released a singles collection titled Superstar - The Hits. The compilation album features 11 of her 14 releases, omitting the 1999 single "So High", Drama singles "I Do" and "Boy Next Door" and the non-UK 2004 release "Universal Prayer". The collection, which only managed to début at number 55 on the UK Album Charts, was criticised for its hastiness, brevity and lack of new tracks or artwork. This proved to be her final album for Parlophone, which she left weeks after the collection's release amid rumours that the sales performance of Walk With Me had been a factor in the decision of the artist and label to part ways, and to release the singles collection.
In an interview with entertainment website Digital Spy in December 2009, Jamelia commented on being a rumoured replacement for Keisha Buchanan, in the girl-group Sugababes and spoke about work with her ongoing album, which was going "absolutely amazing". She stated that she was working with producers who have previously worked with Lady Gaga and Beyoncé, and that the album returned her sound to 2004's Thank You. She also vowed to come back with a "really exciting" album. On 26 July 2010, Jamelia signed a record deal with an unknown label live on video streaming website Ustream.tv. On 29 July The Sun confirmed the record label to be All Around the World. Ultimately, nothing was released
In 2013 and 2014, Jamelia appeared on two series of The Voice of Ireland as a coach.
In 2013, Jamelia was part of a house band on every episode of the BBC One panel show I Love My Country. On 27 November 2013, Jamelia joined the panel of the ITV chat show Loose Women. As of 16 August 2016, she has made a total of 162 appearances. However, Jamelia was axed from the show following new contracts being drawn up on 17 August 2016, thus she has not returned for series 21.
In 2015, Jamelia took part in Bear Grylls: Mission Survive on ITV. In 2015, Jamelia participated on thirteenth series of Strictly Come Dancing. She was partnered with professional dancer Tristan MacManus. The pair of them survived four dance-offs, but they lost their 5th dance off in week 9, being voted out by 3 out of 4 judges against Peter Andre and Janette Manrara.
In January 2007, Jamelia launched a new fragrance as part of a campaign to increase awareness of HIV and AIDS. Proceeds from the sale of every bottle of The Body Shop's Rougeberry were donated to MTV's Staying Alive Foundation. On 4 March 2007, Jamelia appeared on an episode of Top Gear, where Richard Hammond drove her to Earl's Court Exhibition Centre for a Brit Awards show in his homemade stretch limousine. On 27 May 2007, Jamelia had signed a £100,000 contract to launch a new range of products for Boots. On 31 July 2007, Jamelia, Erin O'Connor and Helena Christensen, had teamed up with hairdressing/hair product company Toni & Guy to promote Model.Me – a hair product created for women with ethnic hair. Jamelia said, "I think it's about time that there was a haircare range specifically designed for ethnic hair available on every high street."
On 18 September 2007, Jamelia co-hosted the MOBO Awards with Shaggy and on 20 September, she was on the catwalk in Naomi Campbell's Fashion for Relief event at the Natural History Museum in London. Jamelia appeared on ITV's Saturday Night Divas to mark the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. She shared the stage with Jennifer Lopez, Girls Aloud, Celine Dion and Alicia Keys, amongst others and performed a cover version of Outkast's hit single Hey Ya!. On 1 December 2007, Jamelia was invited to perform on stage for Nelson Mandela's World Aids Day concert. She performed the hit singles "Something About You", "See It in a Boy's Eyes" and "Superstar". On 19 December 2007, she played Cinderella in Channel 4's The Paul O'Grady Show's Christmas Pantomime.
In January 2008, Jamelia signed a book publishing deal with Orion. Her autobiography, Stronger has yet to be published. In February 2008, Jamelia announced in a podcast on her personal website that she had "completed her first official acting role". It was also mentioned that she had landed a TV presenting job. In July 2008 she appeared in a documentary about the international Hair extensions trade Jamelia: Whose Hair is it Anyway? for BBC Three travelling to India and Russia with Tatiana Karelina and guest presented a week of episodes of Big Brother's Big Mouth for E4.
On 7 September 2008, Jamelia guest presented an episode of Something for the Weekend with Tim Lovejoy. A more recent project is The Really Good School Dinner. Jamelia is supporting the initiative which will see children and young people in England pledging to have a school meal and make a donation to provide some of the world's poorest children with a nutritious meal.
Jamelia starred in an episode of Gordon Ramsay's The F Word, where she and Gordon took part in a cook off competition. She was a guest judge for BBC's Let's Dance for Comic Relief, and she has appeared on the Disney channel show Under Cover Coach, in which she coached a girl called Amy in singing. Jamelia presents The National Lottery some Wednesday evenings, which she has been doing since April 2008. Jamelia featured in a Channel 4 documentary series, produced by Nutopia, in 2010, called The House That Made Me, which took her back to her childhood home, and reintroduced her to the people she had known in her youth.
Jamelia has walked the catwalk every year since 2007 for her UK model counterpart, Naomi Campbell, and her Fashion for Relief show. Jamelia is also active in working with ActionAid, Princes Trust and the Food Aid branch of the UN, the World Food programme which has seen her visit Kenya, Uganda and India. In 2008, Jamelia earned the role of appearing alongside Helena Christensen and Erin O'Conor, fronting her own ethnic haircare range 'Model Me', in conjunction with 'Toni and Guy', and was stocked nationwide in Boots stores. 2009 saw Jamelia take on various TV roles including authoring her own documentary for BBC Three on ethical hair extensions, which saw her travel to Russia and India. Plus she was one of the judges on BBC Three's Move Like Michael Jackson. Jamelia has met Nelson Mandela and performed for him for both his 46664 concert in Johannesburg and his 90th birthday celebrations in Hyde Park. In 2012, she took part in the Preston Passion to mark Preston's 2012 Guild. The Preston Passion was a retelling of the Easter story and involved singing, dancing and three dramas, where she sang a cover version of "You Got the Love". She has been a frequent guest on the satirical music panel show Never Mind the Buzzcocks and was a celebrity contestant on Vernon Kay's Gameshow Marathon.
In 2014, Jamelia modelled a new swimwear range for Boux Avenue. in May 2014 she appeared in a TV advertisement for Boux Avenue and sang a cover version of "I Only Want to Be with You", with the chorus changed to "I only want to be with Boux".
Jamelia has starred in two upcoming movies. Jericho's Walls Are Falling is a film based on a true story about a young man who contracts HIV/AIDS and how it affects not only him, but the people closest to him. Jamelia will play the character of Nicca, and will star alongside Gideon Turner, Bernard Hill and Jason Flemyng. Magic Boys, directed by Róbert Koltai and written by Ivo Marloh is a comedy feature starring Michael Madsen who plays "an American bad boy who gets entangled in a big scheme business fraud. Just by pure chance, two Hungarian factory workers get mixed in and before they know it they find themselves in a London Chippendale show". Jamelia plays the character of Cherry Valentine, which is likely the stripper character that she has mentioned in the past. Magic Boys was released in the autumn of 2012. In December 2012, Jamelia guest starred in the ITV mockumentary series "Crime Stories".
In 2009, Jamilia made a guest appearance as herself in Episode 3 of Plus One.
In 2013, Jamelia played a singer, Aimee, in an episode of Death in Paradise.
Jamelia revealed that she grew up without her father, due to the fact he was often in and out of prison, and he later rejected her invitation to her wedding.
Jamelia has a child, Teja (born 18 March 2001), from a previous relationship with music manager Terry Wallen, who she claims was abusive and inspired her song "Thank You".
In August 2007, Jamelia split from boyfriend Darren Byfield; the couple have a daughter Tiani (born 21 October 2005). They were reconciled a couple of months later, and in October 2007 announced their engagement. On 15 June 2008, it was reported the couple had married on the previous day in West Sussex. On 3 November 2009, it was announced that they were filing for divorce.
She participated at Peta's campaign Would Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur.Studio albumsDrama (2000)Thank You (2003)Walk with Me (2006)Jamelia: Whose Hair Is it Anyway? (2008) – HerselfCrime Stories (2012) – Alice DicksonDeath in Paradise (2013) – Aimee FredericksGuest appearancesGok's Fashion Fix8 Out of 10 CatsThe House That Made Me'Room 101 (TV series)Never Mind the BuzzcocksMagic BoysThe Great Sport Relief Bake OffTipping Point: Lucky StarsThe Chase Celebrity Special (2012)Celebrity SquaresAll Star Family FortunesCelebrity Benchmark (2015)Loose Women (2015) Many guest appearances, but one she will wish to forget is that in which she seriously embarrassed herself by persistently claiming that fellow guest, Ruth Jones was not Welsh. When finally relenting, after numerous interventions from hosts, and other guests, she remained silent and did not contribute anything for the rest of the episode. Her contract was subsequently not renewed.Top GearCelebrity Haunted Hotel Live (2016)Don't Ask Me Ask Britain (2017)2004 Thank You Tour
Jamelia has also been the opening act for artists such as Destiny's Child, Justin Timberlake and Usher as well as her own sold out tour.