Nicki French


She covered Bonnie Tyler, she sang in Eurovision and she won The Weakest Link! But where is Nicki French now?

by Christopher Smith

Nicola Sharon French was born in Carlisle in 1964 and began her music career singing backing vocals on Irish singer Rose-Marie’s 1992 album “Emotional Exposure”. The following year she recorded a cover of Bonnie Tyler’s massive 1983 hit “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” but this failed to chart, surprisingly. The song was re-released the following year (1994) and this time made No.54 in the UK.

She signed to Mike Stock’s label Love This Records at the end of 1994 and the song was given a complete overhaul and re-re-released in January 1995, and third time lucky certainly proved to be the case. “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” took off like a fire cracker and this time reached No.5 in the UK, eventually selling more than 250,000 copies there. The song was even more successful away from the UK, topping the chart in four territories and making the top ten in a further nine, including the US, where it reached No.2!

Her follow up “For All We Know” was released in April 1995 but stalled at No.42 in the UK. The song was not released in The States due to disputes between her UK record company and her US publishers, and only reached No.89 in Australia.

Nicki’s debut album “Secrets”  was released soon after and reached No.151 in the US and No.95 in Australia, as well as charting in Japan, Brazil and Canada, but sadly not in her home country. The album went on to sell 50,000 worldwide. Two further singles were released, “Did You Ever Really Love Me?” (UK No.55) and “Is There Anybody Out There?” (UK No.89).

She signed with Logic Records in 1997 and released the single “Te Amo”, which made No.4 in Brazil but again failed to chart in the UK. Her second album “French Revolution” came in 1998, but despite charting high in Japan and Taiwan, Nicki was dropped by Logic due to poor sales back home in the UK.

Nicki remerged in 2000 when she was chosen to represent the United Kingdom in that years Eurovision Song Contest with the song “Don’t Play That Song Again”. She came sixteenth overall out of twenty four countries competing. It was the UK’s lowest placing in the contest since 1989. The song later entered the UK singles chart at No.34.

She signed to Ravernous Records soon after and recorded five songs, including a cover of Meatloaf’s “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad”, none of which where ever commercially released. In 2003 she joined other Eurovision alumni such as Sonia, Katrina of Katrina and The Waves and Katie Boyle on a Weakest Link celebrity special. French won the contest raising £13,000 for Cancer Research. She was actually a last minute replacement for Gina G, who had gone into labour!

Since then, Nicki French has recorded only occasionally with Energise Records and performs small venues and Eurovision nights. She has appeared on stage in such plays as ‘Annie’ (2010) and playing legend Ethel Merman in a stage production of her life and career in 2013. She is a seasoned pantomime regular and has been cast no less than four times as The Fairy Godmother in Cinderella from 2009-14. In 2015 she reunited with Mike Stock and recorded a brand new track “This Love”, which was released digitally.

Catch up with Nicki via her WEBSITE and her FACEBOOK page

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Written by Christopher Smith

So perhaps you’ve read an article or two that I’ve written and wondered “just who is this character?”! Well I thought maybe it would be time to introduce myself and what I’m all about. Well it’s all about the music! Having been born in the late 1970’s I was heavily influenced by my parent’s love of ‘popular’ music and rock and roll of the 1950’s and 60’s. My Mother always said she should of married Elvis and my father was, and is still, in love with Sandie Shaw! But while my Dad’s tastes stopped in about 1967, my Mum carried on loving music throughout the 70’s, 80’s and beyond. My first memory was playing on the floor whilst my Mother was ironing one day with the radio on, and hearing ABBA’s “Super Trouper” dancing my nappy off to it! Maybe that’s where it all went wrong…?! Having been subjected to all and sundry in my infant years, I finally found my feet in the mid-1980’s and began ‘partying’ to the likes of Culture Club, Stevie Wonder(!), Elkie Brooks and Bananarama to name but a few! The year 1987 would have a profound effect on my listening tastes and from thereon in my life would be dominated with buying and listening to music. Any number of outstanding songs were released and listened to that year, most notably “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “La Isla Bonita”. That Summer my mind was completely taken over with music and sounds I’d never heard before and I was totally taken in by it all. My father would say “whaaar rubbish you got on naaaaao?” (I’m from Norfolk!) but I was hooked. And it continued so for the rest of the decade and the next. At the beginning of 1988 I ‘met’ my true love and the singer I’ve worshipped more than any other artist or group. You may know of her. She’s from Australia…! Aside from pop music, my tastes are many and varied and continues to grow and expand as I ‘mature’ in age. I’ve always been heavily interested in films and in particular the mechanics of film making and of course film music, so scores and subsequently orchestral music takes up a lot of my tastes and collection. 90’s dance and club tunes also takes up much of the space in my head and I’m surprised my brain has stopped shaking from the years of abuse it took being dragged to nightclubs, often three times a week in my 20’s! I find with each year that passes I regress back to my youth and of course the 1980’s. 80’s music dominates and the lust to see as many 80’s acts and singers play live now is insatiable. I’m still getting into the groove as much as every breath I take, but I’m never gonna give up listening to my heart and pumping up the volume, simply because I LOVE MUSIC…any kind of music!

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