Gina G, a 28-year-old Australian star came and almost conquered in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1996. Her song 'Ooh Aah... Just A Little Bit' was predicted to be the Euro anthem of the year in the '96 Eurovision Song Contest but although becoming seventh, 'Ooh Aah... Just A Little Bit' became a huge hit all over the world, not only because of the song itself but also because of its sultry performer known to people as Gina G.
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Gina Mary Gardiner, as her real name is, born on 3rd of August, came from almost nothing and had lots of success with songs released from her successful album 'Fresh'. With hits like 'I Belong To You', 'Fresh' and hugely popular, romantic 'Ti Amo', Gina G showed to the world the power of real 'girl power'. As countless fans are awaiting for her second album, which she is recording currently in the U.S.A. it's time to take a quick look at her past.
Born in the Australian state of Queensland, she was introduced to music by her mother and father, a well-known singer and saxophonist, respectively. As a youngster she was attracted to the dance music of the disco era and counted among her earliest influences dance floor divas Donna Summer, Anita Ward and others. As a teenager, she relocated to Melbourne and quickly became a fixture on that city's burgeoning music scene, working as a DJ at some of the city's hottest clubs including The Meeting Place, Melbas, The Penthouse, Twains International and JB's.
In the late '90's that Gina put her singing and songwriting talents to work in an innovative dance music ensemble called Bass Culture. The group was signed to the independent Mushroom Records in 1992 and made a potent impact almost immediately with 'Love the Life', a crossover Australian dance and pop hit written and performed by Gina. The track, along with other Bass Culture standouts, went on to enjoy regular use on the Australian daytime dramas Neighbours and Home And Away, as well as being heard stateside on the Aaron Spelling TV drama Models Inc.
But as promising a start Bass Culture may have been, it was only that - a start. Determined from the outset to take her pure-pop vision as far as she could, Gina left the group in 1994 and relocated to the United Kingdom to pursue her solo career. There she soon found herself at a London record company screening demo tapes, one of which was a rough'n'raw version of a song by aspiring tunesmith Simon Tauber, titled 'Ooh Aah... Just A Little Bit'. 'It didn't sound anything like it does now', recalls Gina. 'It needed a lot of work, but I knew the song had something special the first time I heard it'.
It did indeed. Gina's next move was to contact Tauber and the two immediately got busy polishing the song, bringing to it the pop sensibility that is unique to Gina G. She played the results for British pop producer Steve Rodway (best known for his work with Motiv8), who liked what he heard and passed it along to talent scouts at WEA Records.
And the rest is history, written big in chart positions and sales numbers that spell out a major music phenomenon in the making. Gina went on to perform 'Ooh Aah... Just A Little Bit' at the 1996 Eurovision Song Contest, making it the UK's biggest selling Eurovision entry in history, with sales approaching those of another famous Eurovision contest winner - ABBA. Released in England in April 1996, 'Ooh Aah... Just A Little Bit' rocketed to No. 1 and remained in the Top Five for over two months, selling nearly a million copies in the process.
British-styled Gina-mania was emulated across the continent as the singer embarked on a pan-European tour which sparked huge sales and chart topping airplay in virtually every country on her itinerary. The word soon spread back to her native Australia, where the song also landed in the Top 5, making a stopover in Israel to top Middle East charts along the way.
Gina's second single, the devastatingly catchy and eminently danceable 'I Belong To You' was released in the UK in October 1996 and rocketed straight into the Top 10.
Gina's first release of 1997 was the single 'Fresh', a breezy, uptempo pop dance spectacular in a typically irrepressible Gina G style, which went straight in at number six in the UK charts, making the score an incredible three out of three top ten singles!
Gina G's eagerly awaited debut album 'Fresh' was released on March 24th, and features the UK hits 'Ooh Aah... Just A Little Bit', 'I Belong To You' and 'Fresh', a tune co-written by Gina. Gina also co-wrote three other tracks on the album - the flamenco flavoured 'Ti Amo', 'Gimme Some Love' and 'I Belong To You'.
The album was produced by some of the UK's top talent including Motiv8's Steve Rodway (whose previous credits include acclaimed remixes of Pulp's 'Common People' and 'Disco 2000', production on St.Etienne's 'He's On The Phone', as well as chart success as Motiv8 with 'Break The Chain' and the recent single 'Searching For The Golden Eye'), and with over 12 gleaming pop tracks, 'Fresh' proves why Gina G has become one of the most exciting pop stars of the '90s.
The result is an album that announces the arrival of an artist who has set out to single-handedly put the 'popular' back in pop music. And, judging from her success to date the time is certainly more that ripe.
Gina G has so far sold almost two million singles in just over six months making her one of the major success stories of the '90s. She has enjoyed top five hits in more than a dozen countries and a UK number one with the sensational 'Ooh Aah... Just A Little Bit'. Having already conquered the rest of the world, Gina has just embarked on a U.S. invasion where her debut single 'Ooh Aah... Just A Little Bit' peaked in the Top 10 and remained amongst the top 20 hits for over four months!
A frequently asked question we hear is 'What the letter G stands for in Gina's name?' Craig A Booth, one of Gina's closest friends tells us. "Gina and I were sitting around one night ages ago. She used to use Geena. I always told her I liked her real name better, Gina Gardiner. I'm a little bit into numerology as well and we worked out that Gina G would be more successful for her and we weren't wrong!"
If the voting system in the 1996 Eurovision Song Contest had been organized the way it was organized this year, by televoting, Gina would have been a sure winner. Televoting gives an advantage to popular stars, like transsexual Dana International this year, and Gina G would have been the winner in 1996 for sure. But there's no use in looking back, especially as Gina was successful without a Eurovision Winner's crown, anyway.
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