Wed. Jan 19th, 2022

Known for her platinum blond hair and exceptionally unique fashion sense, Gwen Stefani has often been referred to as “the new Madonna.” While their musical styles remain quite different, there is no doubt that Stefani has drawn musical inspiration from the incredibly successful albeit, risqué pop star. In fact, in a 2007 interview with Elle magazine Stefani confessed, “A lot of my influence came from her early work, like directly, like a Xerox.”
Born Gwen Renee Stefani on Oct. 3, 1969 in Fullerton, CA, the future pop sensation is the second of four children. Music became a part of her life early on, as her parents were avid fans of folk music and introduced her to artists like Bob Dylan and Emmylou Harris. However it was her older brother, Eric, who would later spark her musical career when he invited her to be the co-lead singer in his ska band, No Doubt.
No Doubt experienced minimal success up until 1991 when, after touring with Reel Big Fish, the group was offered a contract by Interscope Records. Now backed by a major recording label, No Doubt released a trio of albums from 1992-95, the last of which, Tragic Kingdom, selling over 16 million copies worldwide. The band’s success surged into the early 2000’s before they opted to go on hiatus, prompting Stefani to embark on a solo career.
Her first solo record, Love. Angel. Music. Baby, hit stores back in November of 2004. The album faired surprisingly well, boasting multi-platinum status in several countries and featuring hit singles “Hollaback Girl” and “Cool.” Encouraged by the success of L.A.M.B, Stefani released her second studio album, The Sweet Escape, just two years later in 2006. The Sweet Escape certainly deviated from its predecessor in that it featured more of an electronic, dance type sound than the quirky pop which characterized L.A.M.B.
As of late, Stefani seems to have put her solo career on the back burner in favor of reuniting with the original ensemble of No Doubt. With Stefani as their keystone, the group released their latest project titled Push and Shove in September of 2012. While it still remains up for debate whether or not she really is “the new Madonna”, there is no question that Stefani’s distinct style will remain a fan favorite for years to come.
Joshua Shapiro is a third-year student majoring in English and education. He can be reached at JS762110@wcupa.edu. 

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