Alexa GoddardView in iTunes
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Discovered as a child at a talent contest, English singer Alexa Goddard toured the U.S. while still in her teens, set up one of Britain's most-subscribed YouTube music channels, and landed a five-album deal with Roc Nation at the age of just 25. Born and raised in the small town of Blackwater, Hampshire, about 30 miles from London, Goddard grew up with three elder brothers and absorbed their diverse tastes in music, but was particularly inspired by Whitney Houston, the Spice Girls, and India.Arie. Spotted while performing in a local talent contest when she was 14, she teamed up with manager and producer Stewart "Stew Mac" McLean, who arranged for her to record at Sony's studios in Berlin. At 17 she was invited to tour the U.S. and Canada as a backing singer with American prog rock band Trans-Siberian Orchestra; she performed with them on three consecutive winter tours, and appeared on the song "Child of the Night," from their 2009 album Night Castle. Her first single, released digitally in 2008, was a cover of the Veronicas' "Speechless," which was used in a German TV commercial. In 2010, she and McLean launched the YouTube channel AlexaMusicTV, where she posted "Speechless" and other covers of well-known songs. In just over a year, the channel had garnered a staggering 11 million views and 56,000 subscribers, making it one of Britain's most popular. Several further cover versions were released as digital singles, the highest-charting was her take on Soulja Boy's "Turn My Swag On," which reached number 20 in the U.K. chart. In April 2014, it was announced that Goddard had landed a five-album deal with Jay-Z's Roc Nation label. Her music for the label combined elements of hip-hop and EDM; her first release was the sweet, bouncy "Marilyn," which paid tribute to Marilyn Monroe. A second single, "So There," followed that September. ~ John D. Buchanan
December 21, 1988 in Blackwater, Hampshire, England