At the scant age of 15, Swindon native Billie Piper (born September 22, 1982) was catapulted to stardom in England when her debut single, "Because We Want To," entered the British charts at number one in 1998. Piper began her career by entering talent contests at a very young age, eventually winning a scholarship to the Sylvia Young Theatre School (which also produced the likes of the Spice Girls' Emma Bunton as well as three members of All Saints). She appeared as an extra in several movies, including Evita, and landed a job as a model in an ad campaign for the female-teen-oriented pop magazine Smash Hits. An executive at Virgin Records liked the attitude that Billie projected in the advertisements and signed her to a contract. A promotional blitz of TV performances prefaced the release of "Because We Want To," providing the massive publicity necessary for the single to debut at number one. Billie became the first female solo artist to accomplish that feat in Britain, and she was also the youngest female artist to score a British number one single since Helen Shapiro in 1961. Further hits followed in "Girlfriend" and "She Wants You." In 1999, Billie's first full-length album appeared under the title of Honey to the B, also the title of her fourth British single; the album was released in the U.S. with a rejigged running order in May 1999, and "She Wants You" issued as her first American single.
- Swindon, Wiltshire, England
- Sep 22, 1982