|Birth name||Nicola Sharon French|
|Born||26 September 1964|
|Genres||Dance, pop, Eurodance|
|Labels||Bags of Fun Records/Love This (1992–1996)|
Klone Records (2005)
Energise Records (2006–2015)
MPG Ltd (2015)
Energise Records (2017-Present)
Nicola "Nicki" Sharon French (born 26 September 1964) is an English singer and actress. She is best known for her 1995 dance cover version of "Total Eclipse of the Heart", which reached the US and UK top 5, and for representing the United Kingdom in the 2000 Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm.
French was born in Carlisle, Cumberland, England. She provided backing vocals on Rose-Marie's 1992 album, Emotional Exposure. Generally, French had been a session singer for many years before she covered "Total Eclipse of the Heart", a song originally made famous by Bonnie Tyler. French's single was first released in 1994 in the United Kingdom. When it was re-released in 1995, the song reached number 5 during a three-month chart run in the UK Singles Chart, selling over 250,000 (UK) copies in the process and earning a silver sales award.
The single achieved greater success in the United States, where it reached number 2, spending six months on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and gained Gold certification from the RIAA. The single also reached number 1 in a number of countries – Japan, Canada, Spain and Brazil – as well as charting in Australia, Germany, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway. French sold in excess of 5 million copies.
Her second single "For All We Know", a cover version of The Carpenters' song, only reached number 42 in the UK Singles Chart, hindered by poor distribution and a barcode error. The track was due to be released in the US but due to a dispute between record companies only made it as far as a promo release in America. Her debut album, Secrets, charted in Japan, Brazil, Israel, Canada, Australia and the United States (selling 50,000 copies during its first week on sale). Further singles from the album included "Is There Anybody Out There?", "Did You Ever Really Love Me?" (the latter of which reached number 55 in the UK) and "Never in a Million Years" (which was released in Denmark and Sweden only). "Did You Ever Really Love Me?" was also released in the US.
Various other songs were added to formats around the world, including renditions of "Heaven Is a Place on Earth" and "Stop! In the Name of Love". French was her record label's biggest artist but due to them achieving limited success with their other acts they went into liquidation. French was then signed by Logic Records UK (part of the Sony/BMG group), during which time she released "Te Amo" in various countries. In Brazil it reached number 4 becoming French's fifth consecutive Top 10 in the airplay charts. It was stocked by HMV in the United Kingdom in the summer of 1997 but failed to reach the UK Singles Chart. Another single from this album was due for release, "Hard to Say I'm Sorry", but it only ever made it to various compilations. In 1998, she released her second album, entitled "French Revolution" and had success in Japan and Taiwan but was eventually dropped by her record label after management reconstructing.
In 2000, she entered the Eurovision Song Contest with "Don't Play That Song Again", the song being selected by the British public ahead of seven other finalists on radio and TV. She was then signed up by RCA and the track entered at number 34 in the UK chart. French finished the contest in 16th place, at the time the lowest placing for any UK act.
French signed to Jim Steinman's Ravenous Records label for a short period in 2000, during which time she recorded "Lovers Again" and "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad" neither of which were ever commercially released. She later went on to record three tracks with the writer of her Eurovision hit, John Springate. These were dance and reggae covers of previous Eurovision entries, French herself chose not to release them but still occasionally performs her versions at Eurovision events.
In 2003, French was one of nine contestants on a special Eurovision edition of BBC Television's The Weakest Link. Joining Sonia, Lyn Paul, James Fox, Katie Boyle, Bobby Gee, Jessica Garlick, Katrina Leskanich and Jemini on the show hosted by Anne Robinson, French won the event and was declared 'The Strongest Link' raising £13,000 for Cancer Research, having lost her father to cancer in 1997. In fact, French had been a last minute substitute for original guest, Gina G, who had to drop out of the show when she went into labour. She still has a strong relationship with Eurovision and its fans, and is booked each year to co-host the London Eurovision Party with Paddy O’Connell.
In 2003 she was the only British artist to feature in an ABC Television special in LA; ‘The Disco Ball – a 30-Year Celebration’, filmed at the Shrine Auditorium, also starring among others - Gloria Gaynor, Whoopi Goldberg, KC & the Sunshine Band, Chic, Irene Cara, and Usher.
French continues to tour the United Kingdom and Europe, performing her hits as well as new material. She released two singles, "I Surrender" in 2004 and "Calling Out My Name" in 2005. "I Surrender" charted on the EuroNRG Top 40 chart in February 2005. However, her later release, billed as 'Diva DJs Vs Nicki French', "Total Eclipse of the Heart 2006" did not appear in the UK Singles Chart.
French has retained her large gay following, and has headlined some of the biggest Pride shows in recent years including EuroPride, Stockholm Pride and the world's biggest Pride event Australia's Mardi Gras.
In 2007 French was invited back to Brazil, one of her most successful territories, to perform a show for the radio station Energia 97FM. The tickets sold out quickly, and another show was booked for the preceding evening. Since then, French has been invited back to Brazil regularly to perform shows.
In 2009 a special edition of French's second album French Revolution became available. The CD contained seventeen tracks and included all three of her most recent singles along with a previously unreleased version of "Total Eclipse of the Heart". The same year, she released "No Smoke", which did not enter the UK charts.
French regularly worked on tracks with Energise Records, and was always their main artist. She often provided backing vocals for their other artists, as well as lead & backing on her own. In early 2015 Energise released a four-CD album of songs they had recorded with French over the previous years, ‘One Step Further’, which is their biggest-selling album to date.
In 2014, 20 years after the success of ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’, Mike Stock and French have started working together again, recording new tracks for his label Modal Production Group (MPG Ltd). The first release from the studio is the anthemic dance number, ‘This Love’: according to Stock himself ‘the song’s message is a celebration of love and commitment’.
In 2017 French performed at the first ever Isle of Wight Pride, in Ryde.
In recent years, French has managed to combine her acting, as well as her singing skills. In 2007 she was cast as understudy for the original London cast of "Menopause the Musical", starring Su Pollard. She was subsequently part of all the UK and Irish productions, and has played three out of the four roles throughout her connection with the show, elevating to being cast in the main roles.
In April 2012, French was the first person to play the roles of Dora and Sarah, in a brand new comedy ‘Guilty Pleasures’ by Ron Aldridge, which opened at the Pavilion Theatre in Bournemouth, but the premise of a men's brothel covering as a spa didn't go down well, and the show closed at the same venue, despite being booked for a UK tour. French then created the role of Sarah in Pauline Fleming's comedy ‘Dirty Dating.Com’, which premiered at the Stockport Plaza Theatre and the Epstein Theatre, Liverpool, and in October played Helga ten Dorp in Ira Levin's ‘Deathtrap’ at the Brookside Theatre, Romford.
In 2013, French was honoured to be given responsibility for bringing Ethel Merman to life in a new two-hander play, ‘Gee, But It’s Good to be Here – An Audience With Ethel Merman’, written by Steve Burbridge. It premiered at the Trent House, Newcastle upon Tyne, and French spent many hours watching clips of Merman speaking and singing in order to do the part justice. It worked, as she received great reviews for the piece.
French took on her first pantomime in 2008, playing Queen Genevieve in ‘Sleeping Beauty’ (Chipping Norton Theatre). The pantomime gained great reviews, making it into the top 10 pantomimes in the UK in The Daily Telegraph newspaper.
In 2009, she was Fairy Godmother in ‘Cinderella’ (The Brindley, Runcorn), for New Pantomime Productions, alongside Syd Little, Leah Bracknell, Aiden J Harvey and Hayley Clarke. She was working on the tour of ‘Annie’ in 2010, but in 2011 went back to panto, playing Dandini in ‘Cinderella’ (Lighthouse Theatre, Kettering) with Danny Young and Neil & Christine Hamilton, and for the 2012 Christmas season played Fairy Sparkle in ‘Cinderella’ (Princess Theatre, Torquay) with Steven Arnold, Stuart Wade and Tom Owen, again for NPP.
In 2013 she was cast as Queen Charlotte in an Easter production of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ for Enchanted Entertainment, alongside Peter Duncan, and at Christmas played her first ‘baddie’ role of Wicked Stepmother Queen in ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ for Paul Holman Productions at the Palace Theatre, Newark, with Bernie Clifton.
In 2014, French she worked again for Paul Holman, playing Witch Guillotine in ‘Beauty and the Beast’ at Oakengates, Telford, alongside Matt Evers. In the 2015 panto season she will be at the Pomegranate Theatre, Chesterfield, playing the Wicked Queen again. In 2016, she played the Ice Queen in another Paul Holman production of Santa Claus The Musical at the New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth, alongside Mark Read from A1 and Jason Sutton.
French was born in Carlisle to Joseph and Eileen. She has two sisters, Allison and Carolyn, and a brother, Timothy, who is a songwriter. The French family moved when Nicki was four and settled in Tenterden, Kent. She attended Homewood School and West Kent College in Tonbridge.
French married Gavin Mallett, a professional musician, in July 1993 at St. Mildred's Church, Tenterden. The couple lived in Middlesex. They are now divorced.
- 1995: Secrets (Love This Records) – AUS #95, US #151, US Heatseekers #3
- 1997: Total Eclipse of the Heart (Japanese version of Secrets with extra tracks)
- 1998: French Revolution (Cutting Edge Records/Avex)
- 2000: 12" Essentials (CD-maxi/Russian promo mix CD)
- 2008: French Revolution Special Edition (Energise Records)
- 2011: Rare and Unreleased (EP bonus CD, Energise Records)
- 2015: One Step Further (4-CD set, Energise Records)
- 2015: The Essentials (reissue of French Revolution with re-recordings of some tracks - Sandrew Metronome Records)
- 2018: Glitter to the Neon Lights (single disc version) (Energise Records)
- 2018: Glitter to the Neon Lights (expanded 2-CD set with Disc 2 including remixes exclusive to the set) (Energise Records)
- 2019: Let's Play That Song Again [EP] (Eurovision cover versions) (Energise Records)
- 1986: "Dirty Den" (composed by David Rose and sung with Toby Dale, released under the name 'Whiskey and Sofa') (Spartan Records)
- 1993: "You'll Be Sorry" (released under the name 'The French Connection') (Solar System Records)
- 1993: "Total Eclipse of the Heart" (Energise Records)
- 1994: "Total Eclipse of the Heart" (Bags of Fun Records) – UK #54
- 1995: "Total Eclipse of the Heart" (Love This Records) – UK #5, AUS #2, BEL (Fla) #14, GER #65, IRE #15, NED #10, NZ #13, US #2, HK #1, CAN #1, JAP #1, BRA #1
- 1995: "For All We Know" (Love This Records) – UK #42, AUS #89
- 1995: "Did You Ever Really Love Me" (Love This Records) – UK #55
- 1995: "Is There Anybody Out There?" (Love This Records) – UK #83
- 1995: "Stop! In the Name of Love/Is There Anybody Out There?" (Shock/Central Station Records)
- 1995: "Never in a Million Years" (Sweden & Denmark only) (Cutting Edge Records)
- 1997: "Te Amo" (12" released under the alias of 'Kinki') (Logic Records)
- 1997: "Te Amo" (Logic Records) – UK #84
- 1997: "Give It Up Now"
- 2000: "Don't Play That Song Again" (RCA/Ravenous Records) – UK #34
- 2004: "I Surrender" (Triad Records)
- 2005: "Calling Out My Name" (Klone Records)
- 2006: "Total Eclipse of the Heart 2006" (released under the name 'Diva DJs vs. Nicki French') (Energise Records) – UK #290
- 2009: "Ain't No Smoke (Without Fire)" (Energise Records)
- 2011: "Calling Out My Name/Love Is a Mystery" (Energise Records)
- 2011: "I Surrender/Did You Ever Really Love Me?" (Energise Records)
- 2011: "Total Eclipse of the Heart - The 2011 Mixes" (Energise Records)
- 2011: "In The Heat of the Night/Love to Call My Own" (Energise Records)
- 2013: "Red Light (Spells Danger)/Leave a light On" (Energise Records)
- 2013: "Red Light (Spells Danger)/Leave a light On – The Remixes" (Energise Records)
- 2014: "The Boss" (Energise Records)
- 2015: "This Love" (MPG Records)
- 2017: "Teardrops on the Disco Floor" (Energise Records)
- 2018: "Steal the Crown" (Energise Records)
- 2018: "On Your Marks, Get Set, Go Away" (Energise Records)
- 2018: "It's Gonna Be a Cold, Cold Christmas" (Energise Records)
- 2019: "Raise Your Voice" (Energise Records)
- 2020: "Haunted Heart" (Energise Records)
- 1995: "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree" (available on vinyl and dance compilations) (Avex Records)
- 2000: "When You Walk in the Room" (on Euro2000 album as Paris) (Dominion Records)
- 2000: "The One and Only" (on Euro2000 album as Paris) (Dominion Records)
- 2000: "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" (on Euro2000 album as Paris) (Dominion Records)
- 2005: "Private Dancer" (for Gayfest album 2005) (Klone Records)
- Artist Biography by Matt Collar (26 September 1964). "Nicki French | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
- "Famous Birthdays - September 26th". 12 June 2010. Archived from the original on 12 June 2010.
- "50 years of Eurovision". BBC News. 20 May 2005. Retrieved 1 February 2010.
- "Nicki French : Homepage". Nickifrench.com. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
- UK chart peaks:
- Top 100 peaks: "Official Charts > Nicki French". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 1 June 2017. N.B. This site displays 'compressed' chart peaks (exclusion rules applied) for positions 76–100.
- Top 200 peaks to December 2010: "Chart Log UK 1994–2010 > Adam F – FYA". zobbel.de. Retrieved 1 June 2017. N.B. This site displays 'uncompressed' chart peaks (no exclusion rules applied) for positions 76–200 between November 1994 and May 2001.
- "British Phonographic Industry searchable certification database". British Phonographic Industry. Archived from the original on 24 September 2009. Retrieved 1 February 2010.
- "Billboard > Artists / Nicki French > Chart History > The Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
- "Recording Industry Association of America's searchable certification database". RIAA. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 1 February 2010.
- "Nicki French : Homepage". Nickifrench.com. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
- "Cheap Domain Names | Cheap Domains | Domain Registration | Domain Names From Pixel Interne". Stockaitkenwaterman.com. Archived from the original on 4 January 2015. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
- "Cheap Domain Names | Cheap Domains | Domain Registration | Domain Names From Pixel Interne". Stockaitkenwaterman.com. Archived from the original on 19 June 2015. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
- "Eurovision Song Contest". everyHit.com. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
- "Euro Dance Hits : Homepage". Eurodancehits.com. Archived from the original on 27 May 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
- "Official site – Mardi Gras". Nickifrench.com. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
- "The Weeks Best Entertainment". The Sydney Morning Herald. 4 March 2005. Retrieved 1 February 2010.
- "Acts – IW Pride". iwpride.org.
- "Culture, Arts and Entertainment". Telegraph. 5 February 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2014.[dead link]
- Australian (ARIA) chart peaks:
- Top 50 peaks: "australian-charts.com > Nicki French in Australian Charts". Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
- Top 100 peaks to December 2010: Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
- "For All We Know": "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles Chart – Week Ending 16 Jul 1995". Imgur.com (original document published by ARIA). Retrieved 1 June 2017.
- "Billboard > Artists / Nicki French > Chart History > Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
- Matt Collar (26 September 1964). "Nicki French | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
- "Ultratop Vlaanderen > Nicki French in Ultratop Vlaanderen" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
- "Nicki French – Total Eclipse of the Heart (single)" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
- "The Irish Charts – All there is to know > Search results for Nicki French (from irishcharts.ie)". Imgur.com (original source published by Fireball Media). Retrieved 1 June 2017.
- "dutchcharts.nl > Nicki French in Dutch Charts" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
- "charts.nz > Nicki French in New Zealand Charts". Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
Media related to Nicki French at Wikimedia Commons