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It’s not often that a singer/songwriter comes along so assured and original that from the first verse-chorus of her debut single, ‘Sweet About Me’, you would know that you dealing with a major new talent.

It took one chance performance to convince the producers of BBC 2’s flagship music show ‘Later With Jools Holland’ to book GABRIELLA CILMI (pronounced chill-me) for the same acoustic slot that would set KT Tunstall and Corinne Bailey Rae on the road to million-plus album sales.

It took one spin of another of her songs, ‘Sanctuary’, to convince the musical directors on the forthcoming ‘St Trinians’ movie, starring Mischa Barton, Colin Firth and Rupert Everett and released in UK cinemas in December, that Gabriella’s music should feature in the film and on their soundtrack, alongside the likes of Sugababes and Lily Allen.

The same song would have a similar effect on the producers of the new primetime ITV drama/comedy series ‘Echo Beach’ to take a chance on a newcomer and have her record their theme tune, a cover of the Martha & The Muffins indie staple.

The fact that Gabriella Cilmi’s voice can be heard from January 2008 on a brand new drama is ironic given she’s one of a very select band of Australian artists to be launched here without first starring in a soap.

Quite the opposite. A firm rejection from her high school musical auditions would prove her making. Gabriella teamed up with some local boys instead and they did their own thing – mainly Led Zeppelin, Kings Of Leon and Jet covers. It was enough to give her the confidence to take the stage at a local Italian festa (Cilmi is Italian-Australian) in her native Melbourne. One Jumpin’ Jack Flash later, and she had herself a local record deal.

In the land of singer/songwriters, 2008 would already appear to suggest a return to the classic singers, and the fact that Gabriella can in turn bring to mind the jazz subtlety of Billie Holiday and the rock roar of Janis Joplin would not have been lost on Island Records when they snapped her up in a worldwide deal this year.

Co-writing all her material, the deal allowed Gabriella the excuse to up sticks and relocate to London where she has been busy working with the modern-day Phil Spector (minus the guns), eccentric pop producer Brian Higgins. Currently working with Franz Ferdinand, Annie and the UK’s perenial No.1 girl group, Sugababes, Higgins and longtime collaborator Miranda Cooper traveled to Australia, Los Angeles and finally London to write with Cilmi for her debut album ‘Lessons To Be Learned’, due for release in Summer 2008.

With variety the spice, the debut single Sweet About Me, out on Island in February 2008, is a sensual grooving ditty that best introduces Cilmi, whilst other tracks Don’t Want To Go To Bed Now and Save The Lies are fast paced retro rockers fusing punk feminity of Blondie and Patti Smith with indie grit of The Killers and The White Stripes. Cilmi’s unique musical personality owes much to a steady diet of seminal rhythm and blues acts. But it’s her vocal, an indelible calling card of strength and style, which will see her break in 2008.

Plus Phoebe Circles.

Added by Craig Grobler on December 31, 2007