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Rockell is a New York-based dance-pop diva whose music is a throwback to the Hi-NRG and Miami freestyle sounds popular during the '80s. She was born Rachel Alexandra Mercaldo on March 4, 1977, on Staten Island; discovered in a bar while singing along with a recording of "Killing Me Softly with His Song," she was brought to the attention of producer Ewart A. Wilson, Jr., who helmed her 1996 debut single "I Fell in Love." After scoring a hit a year later with "In a Dream," Rockell issued her debut LP, What Are You Lookin' At?, on Robbins Entertainment in 1998. The album included both prior singles as well as "Can't We Try," a duet with freestyle act Collage, which was also a hit. Two years later she returned with Instant Pleasure, which featured producers like Hex Hector and Tony Moran. Club hit "What U Did 2 Me" was her best-selling single, but it narrowly missed hitting the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. The album included a cover of Garth Brooks' "The Dance," which was also released as a single. Rockell returned in 2005 with a single called "L.O.V.E." on her own label. "Playin' My Love" and a cover of "You Keep Me Hangin' On" followed in 2007, and Rockell embarked on an American tour with Joe Zangie and other freestyle artists. She released a duet with Zangie, "When I Want You Back," in 2009, as well as a cover of Donna Summer's "On the Radio." After another extended break, Rockell returned in 2012 with a new single, "Turn Up the Heat." ~ Jason Ankeny