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Gwen Stefani… Her Sweet Escape

“My songs are basically my diaries. Some of my best songwriting has come out of times when I’ve been going through a personal nightmare.”

Mysterious dark eyes, red lips, platinum blonde hair and an offbeat yet fashionable style are some things that come to mind when describing the alluring Gwen Stefani. When Gwen was invited in 1986, by her older brother Eric to provide vocals for No Doubt, a rock band he was forming and playing keyboards for, the unimaginable took her to a new level. As an American singer, songwriter, fashion designer, and actress, as well as the co-founder and lead vocalist of No Doubt, Gwen was born and raised in California in a family of Italian English, Irish, Scottish, German, and Norwegian ancestry.

During the band’s hiatus, Gwen embarked on a solo career in 2004 by releasing her debut studio album “Love. Angel. Music. Baby.” Inspired by pop music from the 1980s, the album was met with both criticism and commercial success. It spawned three major worldwide hit singles, “What You Waiting For?,” “Rich Girl,” and “Hollaback Girl,” which later became the first US music download to sell one million copies. In 2006 her second studio album “The Sweet Escape” produced two top singles, “Wind It Up” and the album’s title track “The Sweet Escape.” Including her work with No Doubt, she has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide. Her third solo album “This Is What the Truth Feels Like” was released in March 2016.

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When reminiscing about her career, she states, “I think everyone has gifts and everyone has talents. If you are successful at it, it feels really good but it never really penetrates completely. There are moments where I think that we made an amazing record and I’m so proud of it, but I don’t wake up and go, “Wow, I’m amazing.”

With many accolades under her repertoire, as a solo artist, Gwen has won several music awards, including three Grammy Awards, four MTV Video Music Awards, one American Music Award, one Brit Award, and two Billboard Music Awards. She received five nominations at the 2006 Grammy Awards, including Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Best Pop Vocal Album. In addition, with No Doubt she won two Grammy Awards. Billboard magazine ranked Gwen the 54th most successful artist and 37th most successful Hot 100 artist of the 2000–09 decade. VH1 ranked her 13th on their “100 Greatest Women in Music” list in 2012 and in 2014, Gwen received the prestigious Style Icon Award at the first People Magazine Awards.

During mid-1995, No Doubt and rock band Goo Goo Dolls went on tour opening for alternative rock band Bush where Gwen met Bush guitarist and lead singer Gavin Rossdale. They wed shortly thereafter in St Paul’s, Covent Garden in London followed by a second wedding in Los Angeles two weeks later. According to Gwen, she indicated it was held so that she could wear her magnificent wedding dress, custom-designed by John Galliano, a second time. Her number 1 role as mom keeps her busy with three sons, 9 year old Kingston James McGregor Rossdale, 11 year old Zuma Nesta Rock Rossdale 08, and 1 year old Apollo Bowie Flynn Rossdale. On August 3, 2015, she filed for divorce from Rossdale, citing “irreconcilable differences”. As stated by Gwen, “I was so scared and insecure and thought it was over for me,” in reference to being unable to write songs at the end of her 13-year marriage to Gavin. “I think the hardest thing I did was to get out of bed and go to the studio to recorded “Used to Love You,” she states.

Now, 20 years after the debut of her band No Doubt and a successful solo career, Gwen released her third solo album, “This Is What the Truth Feels Like” became her first solo number one album on the Billboard 200. Additionally, she is a visiting judge and mentor on The Voice. On November 4, 2015, after her divorce was finalized in October 2015, Gwen and her The Voice co–star, country music sensation, Blake Shelton, announced that they were dating.

Gwen has been known as some sort of a fashion icon, because of her unique style, which mixes vintage with designer clothes. Having made most of the clothing that she wore on stage with No Doubt, resulted in increasingly eclectic combinations. Stylist Andrea Lieberman introduced her to haute couture clothing, which led to Gwen launching a fashion line named L.A.M.B. in 2004. The line takes influence from a variety of fashions, including Guatemalan, Japanese, and Jamaican styles. Launching her second fashion line In June 2005, she expanded her collection with the Harajuku Lovers line, inspired by the street fashions of the Harajuku area of Tokyo, Japan. Her clothing was described as a combination between Christian Dior and Japanese style. Gwen states, “It’s always odd to talk about my fashion. It’s something you look at-you don’t need to talk about it.”

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The release of her first solo album brought attention to her entourage of four Harajuku Girls. The dancers are featured in her music videos, press coverage, and on the album cover for “Love. Angel. Music. Baby.” with a song named for and dedicated to them on the album. They were also featured in, and the namesake for, the Harajuku Lovers Tour. This complements Gwen’s solo album, “Love. Angel. Music. Baby.” on which she makes multiple references to Harajuku girls. Stefani released a limited edition line of dolls called “Love. Angel. Music. Baby. fashion dolls”. The dolls were inspired by the various styles that Gwen and the Harajuku Girls wore while touring for the album.

Another project developed in 2014 when Gwen announced she was producing an animated series about her and the Harajuku Girls. Along with Vision Animation and Moody Street Kids, she has helped create the show, which features her, Love, Angel, Music, and Baby as the band and HJ5, who fight evil whilst trying to pursue their music career. Mattel signed on, as the global toy licensee and Kuukuu Harajuku will be distributed worldwide by DHX Media.

With high notes of sweet pea and rose, Gwen launched a perfume, L, in 2007, as a part of her L.A.M.B. collection of clothing and accessories. The perfume has since released a fragrance line in 2008 as a part of her Harajuku Lovers product line. There are five different fragrances based on the four Harajuku Girls and Stefani herself called Love, Lil’ Angel, Music, Baby and G (Gwen)] while in January 2011, Stefani became the spokesperson for L’Oréal Paris.

Looking toward the future, with a new album, a new tour and a new love in her life, Gwen says, “As a famous person you think how you’re gonna end it, get away and have a normal life. I imagine my children are going to save me from my vanity and be my passion and fill whatever fears I have of the amazing time I’m having right now being gone. I don’t want to drop off and not be on the radio or not be able to talk about myself for hours. I don’t want it to go away. But at the same time, I never expected to be here in the first place.”