Sweetbox is a Los Angeles based pop music project formed in Germany in 1995 by executive producer Heiko Schmidt and music producer Roberto "Geo" Rosan. Throughout the years Sweetbox has had several leading women including Kimberly Kearney, Dacia Bridges, Tina Harris, Jade Villalon, and most recently and currently, Jamie Pineda.
Although the project released four singles in the mid '90s, with initial singers Kimberley Kearney and Dacia Bridges, worldwide success came with third vocalist, Tina Harris. Everything's Gonna Be Alright was released in 1997, which topped charts around the world and started a musical theme, sampling classical music, which the project would later become known for.
After two years with the project, Tina Harris left to focus on her solo career. Jade Villalon replaced her as the fourth vocalist and captured a higher success with five original studio albums, all reaching Gold or Platinum status in Korea, and numerous charted singles and television spots throughout Asia and Europe. After nearly six years with the project, Jade Villalon and "Geo" left the project to pursue music under the names Jade Valerie, Saint Vox, and Eternity∞.
In August 2007, Jamie Pineda became the new vocalist of Sweetbox. Pineda released her first studio album with the project in 2009, The Next Generation, produced by Derek Bramble. In 2011, Pineda's sophomore effort Diamond Veil was produced by Sebastian Thott in Stockholm/Sweden and released in Japan and Korea, as the 8th studio album from Sweetbox.
The next studio album is announced for summer 2013.
In 1995, Sweetbox was founded as a music project from executive producer Heiko Schmidt and music producer, songwriter, and classical arranger, Roberto "Geo" Rosan. The first vocalist featured in the project was Atlanta-based rapper and singer, Kimberley Kearney, also known as Tempest. Her first single with the project, "Booyah (Here We Go)", was a Euro house track which created initial success for Sweetbox in Germany, where the single achieved #8 in position, and in France, where it achieved #15. Kearny left the project soon thereafter to pursue other ventures in the entertainment industry including a number of hosting gigs.
After Kearney's short-lived position at front woman, Dacia Bridges replaced her. Bridges, a native of Michigan, released her first single as the project's frontwoman - the 1995 single "Shakalaka", which peaked at #1 on the New York City Club Charts for 3 weeks. She released Sweetbox's third single titled "Wot", but the single failed to see success. Bridges then departed and later started a band titled Dacia And The WMD. In 1996, Kimberly Kearney started working with Geo once again to release an additional single, Never Alone, although this would end the partnership permanently.
In 1997, Geo met Maryland-based rapper and singer, Tina Harris, who became the new face of Sweetbox. With Tina's arrival to the project, the group saw a change in genre from Euro house to hip-hop and pop-meets-classical. Tina's first single, I'll Die For You, was released in 1997, achieving most of its airplay in Europe. However, the next single, Everything's Gonna Be Alright, would send international success to the project.
The hip-hop song sampled Air on the G string from Suite No. 3 by Johann Sebastian Bach, and became a worldwide hit. It reached Top 10 positions on the Austrian, Belgian, British, Colombian, Finnish, French, Irish, Israeli, Italian, Lebanese, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish and Swiss charts. The composition also reached Top 20 positions in Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands, and reached to the Top 40 in the United States. It stayed #1 on the Worldwide Airplay Chart for 10 weeks.
Following the success, Tina went on to release four additional singles and released the first full length self titled album, in 1998, which quickly reached #1 on charts in Japan, and was awarded two Japanese Grammies for Best Song and the Best Newcomer. Sweetbox then toured the US, opening and playing with various American pop groups. At the end of 1998, feeling burnt out as a team, Tina left the project forcing Schmidt and Rosan to find a new replacement. Tina released an album after her departure, under her own name, and began writing for several acts.
In 1999, the SWEETBOX team Heiko Schmidt and Roberto Geo Rosan discovered and hired Jade Villalon, an aspiring singer/songwriter and actress to front the project.
In autumn of 2000, Villalon's first single with the project, entitled "Trying To Be Me", was released. The song featured back-up vocalist Mucky and was primarily promoted in Europe, although the single was also released in Korea. The first album with Villalon, titled Classified, was released in 2000, and featured diverse genres of pop, dance, rock, and R&B, each song also incorporating classical pieces by Beethoven, Ennio Morricone and others. The release received platinum certification in Japan. The second album with Villalon as vocalist, Jade, was released in Asia in 2002, and featured two singles. The first single Lighter Shade of Blue remained #1 on Europe's various charts for four consecutive weeks. An acoustic version of the Jade album was released under the name Jade (Silver Edition), featuring the version of Lighter Shade Of Blue that had topped the European charts.
Jade's third album with Sweetbox, Adagio, was released in 2004. The nature of the album was much darker than things from the singer's past albums. The album featured a theme of sampling World Music as opposed to primarily European Classical, and saw a lyrically and musically darker aspect to the group's sound. The Japanese Edition of the album featured bonus tracks real Emotion and 1,000 Words, compositions that Villalon had vocalized for the video game Final Fantasy X-2. The album's featured a single, Life Is Cool, becoming known for featuring Johann Pachelbel's Canon in D.
Between the release of Jade's fourth and fifth albums, Sweetbox released a compilation, 13 Chapters, in 2004, which contained a number of songs from Adagio and from their upcoming album, which was released shortly after. The After the Lights album was released in 2005, and was released again as a version entitled Sweetbox Presents A Very Sweet X-Mas, featuring Christmas Carols as bonus tracks. The singles from the album were After The Lights, Killing Me DJ, More Than Love, and This Christmas. The first single, Killing Me DJ, featured vocalist Toby Breitenbach.
Through 2005 and 2006, Sweetbox held a live tour titled The 10th Anniversary Tour, in Japan, and The Bold & Delicious Tour in Korea. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Sweetbox, a compilation album titled Best of Sweetbox was released in 2005, achieving a Double-Platinum status, also reaching #1 on Oricon's International Charts in Japan. It became the 73rd best selling album of 2005 in Asia. Later that same year, the music magazine FONO awarded Sweetbox the No. 1 Cross-Border Artist title. A new compilation album titled Raw Treasures Volume 1 was released the same year. The album featured demo versions of Sweetbox songs, and unreleased songs from Villalon.
Sweetbox's next full length studio album, Addicted, was released in the beginning of 2006. The album received moderate success in Japan, but was highly successful in South Korea, becoming the Asia's 111th best-selling album of the year. The album featured a number of songs that Villalon and Geo had initially written for Ayumi Hamasaki, who by this time had released Japanese-language versions with her own written lyrics, and the album also achieved Gold in status, with the highest sales for a Sweetbox album. Following Jade's fifth studio album, a live album containing a DVD and CD of a Villalon's latest tour was released. After this, a number of compilations, including two remix albums, were distributed.
In late 2006, Villalon left the Sweetbox project. In 2007, Roberto "Geo" Rosan also decided to quit his work for the project and sold his part of ownership to executive producer Heiko Schmidt.
After Jade and Geo's departure, Heiko Schmidt started working closely with successful music executive Hayden Bell, who discovered The Veronicas, and Andre Recke - the longtime manager of Hilary Duff. After 3,000 auditions, then 18 year old Jamie Pineda became the projects fifth front woman and was marketed as 'The Next Generation' of Sweetbox. Jamie started writing and recording for her first studio album in September 2007, the same month she turned 19. Unlike the previous singers of the project, Jamie co-wrote around the globe with several writers for her debut album including the likes of Georgie Dennis, Toby Gad and Derek Bramble, who would go on to produce Jamie's first Sweetbox album.
After almost two years in the works, the albums lead single "We Can Work It Out" was released to Japan in April 2009. The song sampled "Spring" from The Four Seasons by Vivaldi, confirming that the project would continue on with the trend of fusing classical music with pop beats. The single had great success in both Korea and Japan, hitting #4 on iTunes Pop Charts in Japan and even reaching the country's Billboard Hot 100 at #27. The album, titled The Next Generation, was released in Japan under the Warner Music Japan label in June 2009 and in Korea under the Sony BMG label in November 2009. The Next Generation was well received in Japan, where two singles were released and had incredible success in Korea, where three singles were released. In Japan the album hit #4 on the Oricon International Charts and in Korea it hit several charts including a 4 week stay on Bugs and 5 other #1's on Soribada, Mnet, Daum, Naver and SKT NATE RT.
In January 2010, Heiko Schmidt announced that Jamie had finished writing for the album and that the second release from Pineda would be recorded in the coming months and would be released in the second quarter of 2010. He stated that the new album would feature "more uptempo and high energetic songs" then the projects previous release. In February 2010, Jamie traveled to Sweden once again and began work on the album. That May it was announced via Jamie's Twitter that the album would be released in September 2010. The album release was subsequently postponed. On February 23, 2011, Jamie announced via her Facebook page that her new album, "Diamond Veil," will be released physically on April 27, 2011 in Japan. The album is currently available in North America via iTunes, Amazon MP3, and Zune Marketplace. Pineda was displeased with how her career with Sweetbox was going and she soon left the group.
In the Fall of 2012, the official site reopened with a message in Japanese for an open casting call to find a Japanese artist to front the group. The audition process finished in December with a message appearing on the official Sweetbox Facebook page that news would come in January 2013 In early January 2013, the official pages were updated with details of a video contest, inviting fans to create their own video to any Sweetbox song they liked. The contest ran until the end of March where it was revealed that a fan from Scotland had won and had spent Easter weekend in Los Angeles seeing various shoots.
In February, information regarding the new Sweetbox was revealed in tweets from a fan site. Whilst not naming anyone specific, they revealed that for the first time in the group's history there would be multiple members. They also revealed the title of the new album, Zeitgeist 21 and that it was expected to be released around June 2013.
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Image from Discogs