Tulisa Contostavlos (born Tula Paulinea Contostavlos, 13.7.1988)
Tulisa is a British pop / hip-hop singer and songwriter, best known as a member of N-Dubz. In 2011, she also became a judge on the high-profile TV talent show X Factor in which she mentored the girl group Little Mix to victory.
Tulisa Contostavlos: Childhood
Tulisa was born in the Camden area of North London. Her mother, Anne Byrne was a member of the 1980s band Jeep, along with her three sisters. Her father, Steve Contostavlos, was a member of Mungo Jerry, known for their 1970 hit 'In the Summertime.' Anne suffered with schizoaffective disorder and bipolar disorder and when Tulisa was five years old, she was sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
Steve Contostavlos left the family home when Tulisa was aged nine and Tulisa has said that she had a turbulent upbringing, battling with depression, drug abuse and anorexia. She received support from her uncle, Byron Contostavlos (N-Dubz's former manager) and with his help, she enrolled at Haverstock Secondary School and later attended Quintin Kynaston but did not sit her GCSE examinations.
Tulisa Contostavlos: Career
Tulisa's cousin Dappy had already started rapping with his friend Fazer, when they decided that they wanted a female vocal in the group. At the time, they called themselves the Lickle Rinsers Crew. Under the name The Lickle Rinsers Crew, the band released 'Bad Man Riddim' and 'Life Is Getting Sicker By The Day' as single, both of which became popular with pirate radio stations in London.
The band changed their name briefly to NW1 (the postcode area that they were brought up in. In 2005, they made their first music video, for 'Everyday of My Life', which was shown on Channel U. they went on to record 'Don't Feel Like Moving, 'Girl On Road' and 'Livin' Broke.' Their break into the mainstream came with 'I Swear,' which was released in 2006. Their chart debut came in 2007 when they reached no. 57 in the UK charts with 'Feva Las Vegas.' As the band started to get recognised, they appeared on Channel 4's Dubplate Drama series.
In 2007, N-Dubz won the Best Newcomer award at the 2007 MOBO awards and the group signed a deal with Polydor Records, re-releasing 'You Better Not Waste My Time.' The single debuted at no. 26 in the UK. In May 2008, the video for their song 'Ouch' attracted over 4 million views on YouTube in just over a month. A few months later, it was announced that N-Dubz had left Polydor Records and signed to All Around the World Records, a dance specialist label but also home to Ice Cube's You Can Do It album. The debut N-Dubz album, Uncle B was released in November 2008 and as a result of its success, Tulisa and the band headed out on their first headline tour. Tulisa fell ill during the tour and at one performance, she fainted onstage. After concerns that she had contracted swine flu, she was hospitalized but tested negative and N-Dubz managed to perform at Radio 1's Big Weekend event.
Tulisa and Dappy returned to Channel 4's Dubplate Drama for its third series. The shows centered around the story of Tulisa's character Laurissa and her addiction to cocaine.
N-Dubz then teamed up with artists such as Pixie Lott, The Noisettes, Chipmunk, Tinchy Stryder and Ironik to record a charity single for War Child under the name The Young Soul Rebels. For the track, they re-wrote a version of The Killers' 'All These Things That I Have Done' and entitled it 'I Got Soul.'
Against All Odds, the band's second album, was released in November 2009. It featured Tulisa singing a solo song, 'Comfortable.' Within two months of its release, it had been certified platinum. The single 'Playing with Fire' featured an appearance from Mr. Hudson. They embarked on a promotional tour of the album, with Skepta, Talay Riley and Ultra in support.
N-Dubz then signed to the US label Def Jam (home to Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Kanye West, LL Cool J and Method man, amongst others). The label released their third studio album Love.Live.Life. The band left the label not long after, claiming that they were trying to alter the band too much.
Tulisa Contostavlos was announced as one of the judges / mentors on the 2011 series of X Factor, alongside Gary Barlow, Kelly Rowland and Louis Walsh. She mentored the groups category and eventually led Little Mix to victory. It was notable for being the first time in eight series that a group had won the show. After the show ended, Tulisa announced that she inted to start work on her debut solo album.
Tulisa Contostavlos: Personal Life
Tulisa was dating her fellow N-Dubz band-mate Fazer but their relationship ended in February 2012.
In 2009, she gave evidence in a trial against her partner, DJ Adam Bailey, who was accused of causing grievous bodily harm against her. He was eventually cleared of involvement in the attack.