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Vanessa Daou

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Biography

Fusing jazz, pop, dance grooves, and sexually explicit lyrics, Vanessa Daou may be one of the most daring new artists of the 20th century. Her first two solo singles — "Give Myself to You" and "Are You Satisfied?" — reached the Top Ten on the dance charts compiled by Billboard. Initially released on her own label, Lotus Records, Vanessa's debut solo album, Zipless, which featured groove-induced interpretations of Erica Jong's poetry, was reissued by MCA/Universal in the summer of 1995.

A native of Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Vanessa moved to Massachusetts in 1984 to attend boarding school. She continued to study visual art and art history at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY, and Barnard College in New York City. Together with her musical partner and husband, Peter Daou, on piano, the pair recorded as Vandal and attempted to break into New York's underground dance music scene. Vanessa and Peter then formed a five-piece band named the Daou; signed by Columbia/Sony, the Daou released their debut duo album, Head Music, in 1992. The album was extremely successful, with the first single, "Surrender Yourself," reaching the top of Billboard's club chart. When the label offered to pick up an option for a second album, the Daou elected to sign with the new Tribal label. After the group released two chart-topping singles, Vanessa Daou was signed by Elektra chairman Bob Krasnow for his fledgling company, Krasnow Entertainment.

Vanessa took the solo route (Peter stayed on as co-writer, producer, and arranger) on 1994's Zipless, a jazzy collaboration with feminist writer and poet Erica Jong, followed by the sophisticated and groove-oriented Slow to Burn in 1996. Vanessa managed to negotiate out of her contract with MCA after the label endured a huge merger with Viacom and Seagrams, opting to record albums independently rather than be put through the major-label assembly line again, resulting in 1998's Plutonium Glow and 1999's Dear John Coltrane. The mature and confident Make You Love arrived in 2000, followed by a flurry of activity that included extensive touring, musical collaborations, writing, and visual arts projects. Vanessa Daou released her sixth solo album, Joe Sent Me, in 2008.

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