Real name: Gwen Stefani
Birthdate: October 3, 1969
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Gwen Renée Stefani (born October 3, 1969) (IPA pronunciation: ) is an American singer, songwriter, fashion designer and occasional actress. Stefani debuted in 1992 as the frontwoman of the third wave ska band No Doubt, whose 1995 album Tragic Kingdom propelled them to stardom, selling sixteen million copies worldwide. It spawned the singles "Just a Girl", "Spiderwebs", and the airplay number-one "Don't Speak". The band's popularity went into decline with its third album Return of Saturn (2000), but Rock Steady (2001) introduced dancehall and reggae production into its music, which generally received positive reviews.
Gwen Stefani was born in Fullerton, California and raised in Anaheim, California, and grew up in a Roman Catholic household. Her mother named her Gwen after a stewardess in the 1968 novel Airport, and her middle name, Renée, comes from The Four Tops' 1968 cover of The Left Banke's 1966 hit song "Walk Away Renée". Her father Dennis Stefani is Italian American and works as a Yamaha marketing executive. Her mother Patti Flynn is of Irish and Scottish descent and worked as an accountant before becoming a homemaker. Gwen's parents were fans of folk music and presented music by Bob Dylan and Emmylou Harris to her. Gwen is the second oldest of four children; she has a younger sister Jill, a younger brother Todd, and an older brother Eric. Eric was the keyboardist for No Doubt, but left the band to pursue a career in animation on The Simpsons. Many of the women in Gwen's family were seamstresses, and much of her clothing was made by her or her mother. As a child, Stefani's musical interests consisted of musicals such as The Sound of Music and Evita. After making a demo tape for her father, she was encouraged not to take music lessons to train her "loopy, unpredictable" voice. Stefani's first on-stage performance came during a talent show at Loara High School, where she sang "I Have Confidence" from The Sound of Music in a self-made tweed dress inspired by one from the film. Stefani was on the swim team at Loara, and she worked scrubbing floors at a Dairy Queen and later at the makeup counter of a department store. After graduating from high school in 1987, she began attending California State University, Fullerton.
Outside No Doubt, Stefani has collaborated on the singles "South Side" and "Let Me Blow Ya Mind" with Moby and Eve, respectively. In 2002 Eve and Stefani won a Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Let Me Blow Ya Mind". She also collaborated with The Brian Setzer Orchestra on a cover of "You're the Boss", originally performed by Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret, for its 1998 album The Dirty Boogie.
Stefani's second solo album The Sweet Escape was released in December 2006. Stefani recollaborated with Kanal, Perry, and the Neptunes along with Akon and Tim Rice-Oxley. The album focuses more heavily on dance music for clubs than its predecessor. Stefani commented that it differed from L.A.M.B. because "I just wasn't inspired to do another album and…I was a lot more relaxed making it." Its release coincided with the DVD release of Stefani's first tour, entitled Harajuku Lovers Live. The album received mixed reviews by critics, who found that it "has a surprisingly moody, lightly autobiographical feel... Stefani isn't convincing as a dissatisfied diva" and called the album a "hasty return" that repeats Love. Angel. Music. Baby. with less energy.