Artist / Nicki French
Nicola "Nicki" Sharon French (born 26 September 1964) is an English singer and actress. She is best known for her 1995 dance cover version of "Total Eclipse of the Heart", which reached the US and UK Top 5, and for representing the United Kingdom in the 2000 Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm.
French was born in Carlisle, Cumbria, England. She provided backing vocals on Rose-Marie's 1992 album, Emotional Exposure. Generally, French had been a session singer for many years before she covered "Total Eclipse of the Heart", a song originally made famous by Bonnie Tyler. French's single, produced by Mike Stock and Matt Aitken, was first released in 1994 in the United Kingdom. When it was re-released in 1995, the song reached number 5 during a three-month chart run in the UK Singles Chart, selling over 250,000 (UK) copies in the process and earning a silver sales award.
The single achieved greater success in the United States, where it reached number 2, spending six months on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and gained Gold certification from the RIAA. The single also reached number 1 in a number of countries – Japan, Canada, Spain and Brazil – as well as charting in Australia, Germany, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway. French sold in excess of 5 million copies.
Her second single "For All We Know", a cover version of The Carpenters' song, only reached number 42 in the UK Singles Chart, hindered by poor distribution and a barcode error. The track was due to be released in the US but due to a dispute between record companies only made it as far as a promo release in America. Her debut album, Secrets, again produced by Stock and Aitken, charted in Japan, Brazil, Israel, Canada, Australia and the United States (selling 50,000 copies during its first week on sale. Further singles from the album included "Is There Anybody Out There?", "Did You Ever Really Love Me?" (the latter of which reached number 55 in the UK) and "Never in a Million Years" (which was released in Denmark and Sweden only). "Did You Ever Really Love Me?" was also released Stateside.
In 2000, she entered the Eurovision Song Contest with "Don't Play That Song Again", the song being selected by the British public ahead of seven other finalists on radio and TV. She was then signed up by RCA and the track entered at number 34 in the UK chart. French finished the contest in 16th place, at the time the lowest placing for any UK act.
In 2014, 20 years after the success of ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’, Mike Stock and French started working together again for his label Modal Production Group (MPG Ltd). The first release from the studio was the anthemic dance number, ‘This Love’: according to Stock himself ‘the song’s message is a celebration of love and commitment’.
French continues to tour the United Kingdom and Europe, performing her hits as well as taking on acting roles in stage shows up and down the country.