Amy DiamondView In iTunes
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Amy Diamond was a mere 12 years old when she released her debut single, the pop-reggae "What's in It for Me," which took Scandinavia by storm, spending 19 weeks in a Top Ten chart position in her native Sweden -- but her youth and cherubic, clear-eyed appearance belied her rich, powerful voice and sassy self-assurance. Born Amy Linnéa Deasismont in 1992 to an English father and Swedish mother, Diamond spent her childhood in both England and Sweden, studying dance, acting in theater and television, figure skating, and participating in singing and performance competitions. Winning one of these talent contests earned her the opportunity to record in a studio, which led to a contract with the Bonnier Amigo Music Group and the release of "What's in It for Me" in February 2005. This Is Me Now, her debut album, consisted of bright ska and reggae-inflected pop, along with a live recording of Alicia Keys' "If I Ain't Got You," which showcased Diamond's vocal chops, and a rendition of that ultimate pre-adolescent redhead anthem, Annie's "Tomorrrow." Despite its obvious youth appeal and blithely motivational, child-friendly lyrical themes (the notable exception being the age-inappropriate lead single, with Diamond incongruously asserting "I refuse to be your mother"), This Is Me Now boasted sophisticated pop production and accomplished songwriting that -- along with Diamond's confident, charismatic voice -- elevated it beyond simple children's music. A distribution deal with Warner and a European tour helped the album achieve success throughout Northern Europe that summer; back home in Sweden she racked up a handful of awards and nominations, including the recently established Nordic Music Award for "What's in It for Me." Released in 2006, Still Me Still Now unsurprisingly covers similar territory to its predecessor ("Don't Cry Your Heart Out" being the lite-reggae breezer of a lead single this time out), but with a more pronounced Broadway influence and several inspirational ballads. ~ K. Ross Hoffman