Sharleen Spiteri (born 7 November 1967) is a Scottish recording artist and songwriter, best known as being the lead singer of the rock band Texas. Texas began their career in 1986, and shot to fame in 1989 with their top ten single with her brother in law as lead guitarist, "I Don't Want a Lover" released from Southside (1989). Until 2003, Texas's worldwide album sales were counted at 20 million. Spiteri has a contralto vocal range. Her debut solo album Melody was released in 2008, and her second solo album The Movie Songbook was released in March 2010.
Spiteri was born in Bellshill, Scotland to father Eddie, a guitar-playing merchant seaman and mother Vilma, a singer. Spiteri is of French, Irish, Italian and Maltese descent. When she was young the family moved from the Glaswegian suburbs to nearby Balloch, close to the banks of Loch Lomond. At school (Vale of Leven Academy) her nickname was Spit the Dog, after the character on the TV show Tiswas. Sharleen was a hairdresser in Muirhead, North Lanarkshire until Texas became her sole priority in 1988.
Spiteri's musical influences include The Clash (the main reason she plays a black Fender Telecaster) and Blondie to Marvin Gaye and Prince. She is also a dedicated Diana Ross fan. Spiteri co-founded the band while working at the Irvine Rusk salon as a hairdresser in Glasgow with band mates Johnny McElhone (bass guitar) and Ally McErlaine (lead guitar). The band, composed of Spiteri, McElhone, McErlaine, Tony McGovern, Eddie Campbell, Michael Bannister and Neil Payne, first released an EP entitled Everyday Now before releasing their debut album Southside in July 1989. The band gained international success with their debut single "I Don't Want a Lover" which at No. 8 in the UK Singles Chart, and No. 77 on the US Billboard Hot 100 charts. Later singles released from Southside were not as successful, Thrill Has Gone which charted at No. 60 on the UK Singles Chart, Everyday Now at No. 44 and Prayer For You at #73. Only four singles were released from Southside before going on a tour and return to the studio to start work on their second album Mothers Heaven. Texas's second studio album Mothers Heaven was released soon after the band released an extended play to help promote the album; Extracts from Mothers Heaven was released in 1991. The album was released on 8 October 1991 and was not as successful as Southside. The album charted at a low and unexpected No. 32 on the UK Album Charts and two singles Why Believe In You which charted at No. 66 in the UK, In My Heart which charted at No. 74 in the United Kingdom were not as successful, but the album's third and final single "Alone With You" which charted at No. 32 on the UK Singles Chart. Promotion had stopped for Mothers Heaven and again the band returned to the studio to work on their third album Ricks Road.
Ricks Road was released in 1993, again, not as successful as the band and fans had hoped for, but chart and sales wise, the album did better than Mothers Heaven. Ricks Road charted at No. 18 on the UK Album Charts, only spending a further 1-week falling to No. 56 on the UK Album Charts before leaving the charts. The album's lead single So Called Friend charted at No. 30 on the UK Singles Chart and the second You Owe It All To Me charted at #39. The further three singles released, So In Love With You charted at No. 28 in the United Kingdom. The further two singles You've Got To Give a Little and Fade Away did not chart in the United Kingdom. In 1997, Texas came back to the music scene with the international hit Say What You Want. The song was released internationally on 6 January 1997. The song became the band's highest peaking single to date on the UK Singles Chart debuting at No. 7 before peaking at No. 3 in its second week of release. The song stayed around for a total of 10 weeks in the United Kingdom; dropping to No. 6 in its third week and No. 8 in its fourth week. Its fifth week seen the song fall out of the UK Top 10 charts at No. 13 and in its sixth week falling to #18. Its seventh week it dropped to No. 28 and its eight dropped to No. 38, and in its ninth week dropped to #37. In its tenth and final week the song fell to No. 48 and failed to make an eleventh week on the UK Charts. In February, Texas released their fourth, multi-platinum selling album. White on Blonde, it went on to become the bands most successful album to date. The album charted at No. 1 on the UK Album Charts and returned to the top spot in the United Kingdom three times (including its debut peak at number one). The album managed 91 weeks on the UK Album Charts. After the success of Say What You Want, Texas released the track Halo on 6 April 1997. Halo became one of the band's biggest charting UK singles (the band's third UK Top 10 single at that point) charting at No. 10 on the UK Singles Chart. Like Say What You Want, Halo received strong airplay on UK radio stations and received fairly positive reviews from music critics. The song stayed on the UK Singles Charts for a total of 7 weeks. Texas went on to release a third single from the album; Black Eyed Boy was released on 28 July 1997 and became the bands fourth UK Top 10 single at the time of its release. The song charted at No. 5 on the UK Singles Chart and No. 29 on the French Singles Charts, as well as charting at No. 68 in Germany and No. 23 on the Irish Singles Charts. In the United Kingdom, the song received strong radio play. The song managed 6 weeks on the UK Singles Chart. The albums fourth single; Put Your Arms Around Me was released on 23 November 1997. The single became the bands fifth United Kingdom Top 10 single at the time when it was released in November 1997 and also made White on Blonde one of a few albums to spawn 5 UK Top 10 Singles. The song managed a strong 8 weeks on the UK Singles Chart. In 1998, Texas's song Put Your Arms Around Me was the lone vocal track for the Andy Tennant film, Ever After: A Cinderella Story, starring Drew Barrymore. In 1999, Texas released their first single from their new fifth studio album. In Our Lifetime was released in April 1999 and became the band's second highest charting single in the United Kingdom, debuting at No. 4 on the UK Singles Chart. The song also was included on the Notting Hill soundtrack. With the success of In Our Lifetime, Texas continued to go ahead with the released of their fifth studio album; The Hush was released in May 1999, and like its predecessor White On Blonde, charted at No. 1 on the UK Album Charts in its first week of release. The Hush received fair reviews with 'All Music Guide' stating the album was "Blessed with a stylish production and sharp commercial songs". In the album's second week it dropped 2 places to No. 3 but in its third week rose back to #2. The album managed 43 weeks on the UK Album Charts. With the continued Texas success, the band followed up the success of their album with a second single. Summer Son was released on 16 August 1999. Summer Son charted in the UK Top 10 at No. 5, making Summer Son the bands seven UK Top 10 single at that point. Summer Son received a lot of fair radio airplay in the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe and received a fair amount of positive reviews. The song serves as one of Texas's biggest and best known songs to date. One more single was released from The Hush, When We Are Together. The song was released on 15 November 1999 and missed the UK Top 10, but became the band's 13th UK Top 40 singles (including their UK Top 10 Singles). The song charted at No. 12 on the UK Singles Chart behind Garbage's 1999 James Bond movie theme The World Is Not Enough. The Hush has become one of the band's biggest selling albums worldwide.
In 2000; Texas released their debut greatest hits album; The Greatest Hits on 23 October 2000. The album's lead single In Demand was released 2 October 2000. The song reached No. 6 on the UK Singles Chart and also reached high positions in various European countries such as No. 80 in Germany, No. 10 in Spain, No. 20 on the Irish Singles Charts and No. 49 in Switzerland. The video for In Demand featured Alan Rickman as Spiteri's love interest, who was seen accompanying her in the back of a chauffeured Bentley Azure, comforting and petting her like a dog whilst the car is in pursuit of paparazzi. Then when the car pulls in for petrol, Rickman and Spiteri dance one seriously sexy tango together on the station forecourt. The petrol station clip of the video was shot at the Shell petrol station in Bordon, Hampshire. When The Greatest Hits was released; it went straight to No. 1 in the United Kingdom like the previous to studio albums White on Blonde and The Hush. The album also charted at No. 24 on the Belgium Album Top 100, No. 48 on the Spanish Albums Top 100 charts, No. 60 on the Irish Album Charts and No. 72 in Switzerland. The Greatest Hits saw the release of a second single titled Inner Smile. The song was released at the end of 2000 and the beginning of 2001 in certain countries. Inner Smile reached No. 6 on the UK Singles Chart, becoming the bands ninth UK Top 10 single at the time of the singles release. The video for Inner Smile featured a homage to Elvis Presley (and specifically his '68 Comeback Special shows) with Spiteri dressed as Presley in his black leather suit and using prosthetics to resemble him. It had some black and white stills showing her in distinct situations (in one of them, Sharleen/Elvis proudly holds a belt with the word "SHAR" instead of "ELVIS", formed with diamonds). The video clip was shot in London in November 2000 with a live audience and with the band members playing different roles as musicians and/or audience members (with Spiteri portraying various groupies). In September 2002, Spiteri gave birth to her daughter Mysty Kyd, although this did not prevent her from working on another album. On 6 October 2003; Texas released their first single from their upcoming sixth album titled Carnival Girl which featured rapping vocals by Canadian artist Kardinal Offishall. The song reached No. 9 on the UK Singles Chart, No. 15 on the Denmark Singles Charts, No. 41 in Switzerland, No. 43 on the Irish Singles Charts, No. 57 on the French Singles Charts Top 100 and No. 94 on the German Top 100. On 30 October 2003, Texas released their long awaited sixth studio album Careful What You Wish For. The album did not make No. 1 in the United Kingdom like the past three albums (two studio and 1 greatest hits) but however made No. 5 on the UK Album Charts and only managed Gold status awarded by the BPI for sales of over 100,000 copies in the United Kingdom. A second and final single was released from the album titled I'll See It Through was released on 8 December 2003. The single became the bands lowest charting single in the UK since In My Heart in 1991. The song only managed No. 40 on the UK Singles Chart and only remained in the UK Top 100 for another two weeks.
The band returned in mid-2005 with the single Getaway, which entered the UK Singles Chart at No. 6 becoming the bands tenth UK Top 10 single. The song also charted at No. 6 on the Denmark Singles Top 40, No. 18 in Norway, No. 34 on the Irish Singles Charts, No. 41 in Sweden, No. 43 in Belgium No. 45 in Switzerland, No. 59 in France and 59 in Germany. Can't Resist was released as the second single on 31 October 2005. The song failed to make the UK Top 10, reaching No. 13 in the UK and becoming the bands nineteenth UK Top 40 single. The band's seventh studio album; Red Book followed on 7 November 2005. The album reached No. 16 in the UK albums chart. Red Book became the band's third album to miss the UK Top 10 after Mothers Heaven in 1991 and Ricks Road in 1993. The band's third single and final single from the album was released on 9 January 2006; Sleep. The song became the bands eleventh UK Top 10 single peaking at No. 6 on the UK Singles Chart as well as making No. 37 on the Irish Singles Charts. The song featured vocals from Paul Buchannan from the Scottish band The Blue Nile. On 21 February 2006 a promo only single What About Us was released. On 24 September 2007 the band released The BBC Sessions, including radio sessions spanning from 1989 to 2005, with extensive liner notes and interviews with Spiteri. Cover songs include Elmore James's It Hurts Me Too, The Beatles' I've Got a Feeling, and Ashford & Simpson's You're All I Need to Get By.
In 2008, Spiteri embarked on a solo career. Her debut album Melody was released in July 2008 and debuted at No. 3 in the UK. Worldwide the album sold over 300,000 copies. She released her debut solo single All The Times I Cried which made the UK Top 40 at #26. She also released the singles Stop,I Don't Love You Anymore and It Was You. Don't Keep Me Waiting was released as a promo single in Switzerland. On New Year's Eve 2009, she performed two cover songs on The Graham Norton Show. Her second solo studio album The Movie Songbook was released on 1 March 2010 worldwide On 11 September 2009 Ally McErlaine was hospitalised after he collapsed with a massive brain aneurysm at the age of 41. As of February 2010, he is on the road to recovery, as reported by Spiteri in The Sunday Mail: "Ally is the most stubborn person I have ever come across, and I think his sheer pigheadedness is the reason he's still here. When he asked what was happening with Texas, I said it was up to him. He told me he wanted to get back into the studio." A new Texas album is planned to be released in May 2013.
After the release of Texas's 2005 album Red Book the band members confirmed that they would enter a hiatus. Spiteri performed as guest vocalist on Rammstein's "Rosenrot" album. She began work on her debut solo album, working with some of her former band mates. She wrote the vast majority of the tracks on the album. She released her debut solo album Melody on 14 July 2008 with "All The Times I Cried" serving as the album's lead single. The song charted at No. 26 on the UK Singles Chart. Melody was proven popular in the United Kingdom, debuting at a high No. 3 on the UK Album Charts. In other European countries where Texas were popular like in Belgium, the album charted at No. 15 on the Belgium Flanders Charts and No. 13 on the Belgium Wallonia Charts. The song Don't Keep Me Waiting was released as a single in Switzerland only, in which it charted at No. 78 on the singles charts there. A further two singles were released worldwide, Stop, I Don't Love You Anymore and It Was You which were both unpopular in the United Kingdom, missing the UK Top 100, with Stop, I Don't Love You Anymore charting at No. 107 and It Was You at #178. By 2009, Melody has been certified Gold by the BPI (United Kingdom) with sales of over 100,000.
Spiteri released her second solo studio album The Movie Songbook which consists of movie covers chosen by Spiteri herself was released on 1 March 2010. The album's lead single Xanadu was released in February 2010, and charted at No. 71 on the UK Singles Chart in March 2010. As for the album, it charted at No. 13 on the UK Album Charts on 7 March 2010, thus becoming Spiteri's second UK Top 40 album as a soloist, and her seventh UK Top 40 album both as a soloist and a member of Texas. To promote the album, she performed in front of 55,000 fans supporting Paul McCartney on his Up and Coming Tour at Glasgow's Hampden Park. Spiteri appeared as a judge in the Sky1 show Must Be The Music.
Spiteri landed the part of a detective opposite Edward Furlong in the thriller Three Blind Mice, but backed out due to pregnancy. She was also cast in Moulin Rouge! starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor, but she told Jonathan Ross on his show on 4 November 2005 that she declined because she did not want to move to Australia for a year. In 2011, she appeared in the French TV show X Factor with Henri Padovani who was managing groups for the competition.
Spiteri has a large lesbian fanbase, although she is heterosexual. When Texas released their debut single, I Don't Want a Lover, in 1989, Spiteri was adamant that she didn't want a 'girly' image and insisted on 'Big E' Levi jeans and a denim jacket. She wrote and performed the title track to the 1990s sitcom Ellen, and once appeared alongside Ellen DeGeneres in the opening credits.
In the music video of Inner Smile, Spiteri appears as a drag king, impersonating Elvis Presley. Additionally, according to an article in the Scottish tabloid Sunday Mail, Spiteri's song Don't Keep Me Waiting (from the Melody album) will be us in the final season of The L Word, Showtime's popular drama about a group of lesbians living in West Hollywood.
Her latest album, The Movie Songbook, includes at least two romantic songs which have been recorded with the original male-centric lyrics: What's New, Pussycat? and Oh, Pretty Woman.
Spiteri had a long-term relationship with the editor of Arena magazine, Ashley Heath. The couple have a daughter, Misty Kyd (named after the phrase from the Clint Eastwood film Play Misty for Me and Wild West outlaw Billy the Kid), born on 9 September 2002. The birth prompted her close friend Thierry Henry to dedicate a goal to her daughter by revealing the slogan "For the new born Kyd" beneath his shirt later that day. The couple separated in the second half of 2004. She is a patron of children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent.
- 2008: Melody
- 2010: The Movie Songbook