A section of this article was written based on many conversations with Vanessa’s late father some time ago Frank Amorosi and an interview with her former manager Jack Strom and I thank him for his contributions.
On the back of her debut back in the year 2000, Vanessa Amorosi climbed her way up the charts to secure her spot in Australian Music History as one of the top five best performers among the likes of Silvie Paladino, Tina Arena, Olivia Newton John and Kylie Minogue. But its been quite some time since we have seen anything from camp Amorosi, so here’s a reminder of why she was once held in such high regard.
Vanessa Amorosi was born in Melbourne Victoria on the 8thAugust, 1981 and has an Italian background. As a child of 4 years, Amorosi and her siblings would attend tap, jazz and classical ballet classes, run in studios by her Uncle. Living in the suburb of Emerald, she attended Emerald Primary and Secondary schools.
Amorosi was born into a very talented family, her parents were professional singers/dancers, working in Australasian threatre restaurants and the cabaret circuit. Growing up surrounded by music and singing, this would have a profound impact on her future career choice. At the age of 12, Amorosi was already performing in shopping centers and local council concerts under the keen eye and control of her parents.
When she turned 14, she began volunteer work helping disadvantaged children. This would have an everlasting impact on Amorosi, who continues to be involved as a patron for the ‘Kids Help Line’ and ‘Variety Club’. For a short time there, Amorosi also trained with the Australian Army, but the call of her fans and the entertainment industry soon had her returning to what she knew best, singing.
The turning point in Amorosi’s career came at the age of 15 and a half years, taking on a part time job singing in a Russian Restaurant called ‘Matrioshkia’. Here she would perform solo, and here is where the powerfully voiced teenager was spotted by TV producer Jack Strom. Strom had worked with and observed many of the worlds greatest performers during his long television production career, but it was Amorosi who gave Strom goosebumps on hearing her amazing voice and vocal range.
Strom then asked friend and 70’s recording star Mark Holden to come along with him to the restaurant to hear the young girl for himself. Holden was a successful singer/songwriter and producer in his own right and was also equally impressed. It was after hearing Amorosi, Strom and Holden decided to form a management company called Marjac.
It took Amorosi quite a bit of convincing to allow Marjac to represent her, as she had already had numerous people in her past make promises of fame, fortune and stardom, only to walk away empty handed. Strom worked his magic, signed Amorosi to a management contract in 1998, and then set about working on her debut album and getting a record deal.
This resulted in Amorosi being signed to an Australian production company, CBK Productions, and independent record label, Transistor Music for distribution in Australia and New Zealand. After being signed to MarJack Productions (co-owned by Strom and Holden), she recorded a promo cd (500 copies) titled “Get Here” for an opening at a shopping center in Sydney.
Known for her outstanding vocal range, Amorosi is able to cover many genres of music including Pop, Rock, Blues, Jazz and Gospel. But what surprised Strom and Holden even more about Amorosi, was that not only could she sing, but she was also an extremely talented songwriter. Thus, began the rapid rise to success of this extraordinary young lady.
In 1999, Amorosi released her debut single “Have A Look” produced by Steve Mac (Boyzone, Five, Westlife) which achieved gold status in just 7 weeks and became a huge hit thoughout the country. Her second single “Absolutely Everybody” was also a instant success, certified gold in just 3 weeks, and going on to achieve Double Platinum sales in Australia and also becoming the longest charting single by an Australian Female artist – ever staying in the ARIA Top Singles Chart for a duration beyond 6 months. When it was released in Europe, it again reached the Top 10 in most countries, including Germany, and the UK, receiving a gold certification.
Amorosi became an obvious choice being selected to perform at large televised events such as “The NRL Grand Final”, the opening of the “Philip Island Motorcycle Grand Prix” and the new Millennium “New Years Eve Concert” at Darling Harbour (1999).
Amorosi received 6 ARIA nominations in the year 2000 and her debut album ‘The Power’ and was nominated for ‘Best Female Artist’ and ‘Best Pop Release’ in the ARIA Music Awards of 2001. The album entered the Australian charts with Gold sales at #1 position and went on to achieve Platinum status just 3 weeks later, confirming her position as one of the most successful female artists in Australian history.
However her largest audience was still to come, when she was selected to perform at the Opening and Closing Ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics and Paralympic Games. At the opening ceremony, she belted out the song titled ‘Heroes Live Forever’ and then at the closing ceremony, one of her own singles ‘Absolutely Everybody’.
In 2002, Amorosi made a special appearance at the ‘Goodwill Games’ Opening and Closing ceremonies in Brisbane. And in 2002, she travelled to Manchester where she was one of the stars of the Commonwealth hand over ceremony performing her #1 hit ‘Shine’ and a new song, written especially for her ‘I’ll always be a Melbourne girl’.
2003, saw Amorosi perform her “Blues” set for the first time at the Melbourne International Music And Blues Festival and then travelling to Germany to perform her latest European single “True To Yourself” on Top Of The Pops and the hugely successful long-running show ‘Wetten Das’ which screens throughout Europe.
Also in 2003, for her service to the music industry, Amorosi was showered with many impressive awards including “Young Entertainer Of The Year” award from the Variety Club of Australia. She also received a special award from the Governor General of Australia, Sir William Deane, in recognition of her patronage of ‘Kids Help-line’ and in appreciation of her being a positive and inspiring role model for Australian youth.
Amorosi was awarded a Centenary Medal in April 2003 for her services to children’s agencies and the music industry in Australia and was nominated for the Australian of the Year Award in August.
She was also awarded “Best New Australian Artist On Commercial Radio” by the Federation of Australian Radio Broadcasters and was also was named “Young Victorian Of The Year” by the National Australia Day Council, having previously won the “Career Achievement Award”.
Then In June 2004, at the personal invitation of the Prime Minister of Australia, Mr. John Howard, Amorosi performed “Heroes Live Forever” (her song from the 2000 Olympics) at the “Prime Minister’s Olympic Dinner” in Melbourne. Amorosi was accompanied by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, The John Farnham Band and an 80 piece choir.
January 2005 saw Amorosi in her first permanent television role, when she was asked to join the cast of “StarStruck”(the Nine Network’s new talent show) as one of the show’s two permanent judges.
Over the next few years, she would maintain a low-profile, concentrating on writing and recording.
2008 saw Amorosi sign on with a new manager, new recording contract with Universal music and re-emerge as a ‘rock chick’ with red wig, tattoos and attitude. A far cry from the girl next door image we all grew to love.
Still in 2008 and Amorosi was signed on as a support act to Rock Legends “Kiss’ for their tour downunder.
She even found time to finally release a new album titled ‘Somewhere in the Real World’. This particular album was scheduled for release in 2007, but was delayed due to unforeseen circumstances. Within hours of its release, it had secured the #3 spot on the national itunes chart, climbing to #2 within the first 24 hours and then on to #1 after 4 days on the charts.
2009 saw the release of her forth studio album titled “Hazardous’ debuting at #7. The album went on to produced hit singles “This Is Who I Am” (her first #1 single) ‘Hazardous’ and ‘Mr Mysterious’. In February of that year, she flew to Los Angeles to film the music video for her duet with Mary J. Bligh for the upcoming single titled ‘Each Tear’.
In 2010 Amorosi, supported Rob Thomas on his Australian Cradlesong Tour as well as many private performances for her fans.
Later that year, Amorosi announced on Twitter that she was back in the studio again writing and recording in Los Angeles describing that that next release will ‘push boundaries’ even to the point of shocking people.
In 2011, her first single ‘Gossip’ from her forthcoming album titled ‘V’ was released and peaked at #1 in the first week of its release. The second song from the album titled ‘Amazing’ was released later that year peaking at #83 on the ARIA Singles Chart.
The song was featured on Channel Sevens promo for the AFL Grand Final, resulting in a live performance at the actual Grand Final of 2011.
In 2012, Amorosi announced that she was no longer with Universal Records, and that she would be looking to rebuild her career as an album artist.
Amorosi is an ambassador for many charities including ‘Variety Club’, ‘Kids Help Line’ and ‘Headspace”.
Even though Amorosi may appear to have been typecast an ‘overnight success story’, her family maintain her feet are planted firmly on the ground. She will always make time for her beloved pets and friends.
Amorosi’s charity work predates her fame. One of her dreams is to establish a farm where disadvantaged kids will be able to visit and interact with the many animals she intends to keep.
Now based in LA, last year Amorosi made a rare appearance on Australian television on nine’s “Today Show”, appearing alongside Eurythmics legend Dave Stewart and Aussie rocker Jon Stevens to announcing a joint musical project. The trio were booked to play a Stakes Day concert in Melbourne on November 5th.
It has now been nine long years since she last released her album, 2009’s Hazardous — home to the multi-platinum number one single This Is Who I Am.
Plans for a follow-up album, V, faltered in 2011 when a couple of pre-released singles failed to make any impact in the charts. The album was shelved and Amorosi parted ways with her record company, Universal.
Amorosi’s next move with her career is anyones guess, as she uses social media sparingly to keep in touch with fans, however she did hint at working on a memoir to be released in the not too distant future.
Amorosi was once one of the most successful female solo pop artists in Australia and internationally, lets hope she returns to her fans and her music in the not to distant future.