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Born on April 8, 1975 in The Hague, Dutch rock singer Anouk has become not only one of the most successful performers in her native Netherlands, but has also managed to duplicate her success in much of Europe. Anouk's mother was a singer in a blues band. By the time she was 18, Anouk had joined a local R&B band, but it was a short-lived union as she left soon after, having been accepted by and subsequently attending the Rotterdam Music Academy. In 1995, Anouk started her own band, but it is at a music festival that same year that she got her big break. She joined Barry Hay of Golden Earring on-stage, singing several songs, and impressed the lead singer of the legendary Dutch band. With Golden Earring guitarist George Kooymans, Hay wrote "Mood Indigo" for the young singer and it was released in the fall of 1996 through Dino Records. It was a year later, though, that Anouk's career truly took off with the release of the single "Nobody's Wife." The song led up to her debut full-length record Together Alone, which was released in late 1997. Driven by the impact of "Nobody's Wife," the album topped the charts, quickly reaching platinum status in The Netherlands. The album spawned two more hits with "It's So Hard" and the Top Ten "Sacrifice," and earned Anouk three Edison Awards, including Best Dutch Female Vocalist, in 1998.
The follow-up release, issued in 1999, found Anouk incorporating ska into the first single, "R U Kiddin' Me," as well as exploring hip-hop and funk on tracks like "The Dark" and "Don't." It too was hugely successful and, in addition to strong sales, garnered the singer two more Edison Awards. In 2001, Anouk released Lost Tracks, a collection of unreleased material that had been culled together. It secured Anouk's position as one of the highest-profile musicians in The Netherlands, giving her yet another chart-topping album. Her 2002 release, Graduated Fool, was a hard rock album, while 2004's Hotel New York was much softer and featured two Top Ten Dutch singles, "Girl" and "Lost." After releasing the album To Get Her Together in 2011, she represented The Netherlands at the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest and performed the country's song entry, "Birds."