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TV3 Announces Final Two Judges For The X Factor NZ

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Thursday 31 January, 2013

TV3 Announces Final Two Judges For The X Factor NZ: All Saints’ Melanie Blatt And Kiwi Recording Artist Ruby Frost


Pop superstar Melanie Blatt of UK multi-platinum selling group the All Saints, and breakout Kiwi singer-songwriter Ruby Frost will join Daniel Bedingfield and Stan Walker to complete the judging panel for TV3’s The X Factor NZ.

Melanie Blatt co-founded All Saints in 1993, which quickly became one of the most successful British pop groups of the 1990s; with nine top ten singles including global hits ‘Never Ever’, ‘I Know Where It’s At’ and ‘Pure Shores,’ the theme from Leonardo Di Caprio film The Beach. All Saints' album sales have eclipsed 10 million globally, and the group’s music industry achievements include multiple BRIT Awards and MTV Europe Music Awards.

Ruby Frost is one of New Zealand’s most talented rising pop stars. She captured the attention of the local music industry, and a recording contract in 2009, winning the inaugural MTV talent competition 42Unheard. In 2010, Ruby won the Grand Prize in the pop category of prestigious international John Lennon Songwriting Contest, with her hit song ‘Hazy.’ In the same year, she performed at iconic Hollywood venue, The Viper Room, two CMJ showcases in the United States, and at Big Sound festival in Brisbane. Her current single ' Young' is on rotation on NZ radio, including radio stations The Edge and MORE FM.

Melanie Blatt and her daughter will move to New Zealand for the duration of the highly anticipated TV3 series.

“I can't wait to see what kind of artists and voices we are going to find in New Zealand. I'm sure there is a wealth of untapped talent waiting to be found and nurtured,” Melanie says.

“I also cannot wait to discover New Zealand properly. My daughter is a HUGE Lord of the Rings fan. We are beyond excited about living there for a bit.”

Ruby Frost has experienced first-hand what the right opportunity can mean for success in the Kiwi music scene.

"I got my start in music through a live competition too, so I know what it's like to battle with nerves for a shot at your dream,” she says. “I just want to share what I've learnt over the past few years; about recording, working with labels and publishers, and breaking into the local scene."

Co-executive producer Andrew Szusterman says he could not be happier with the judging panel for The X Factor NZ.

“Between them Mel and Daniel have sold over 14 million albums worldwide. Stan and Ruby have singles rotating on radio right now, meaning we have a panel that knows how the music industry works, and what it takes to achieve chart success,” he says.

“For New Zealand to have mentors of this calibre means we are on track to deliver a vibrant and fresh recording artist for the music industry.”

The X Factor NZ is a SYCO owned format and is co-produced by MediaWorks and FremantleMedia Australia.

The Broadcast Sponsor is Ford New Zealand, with programme partners McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and Samsung Electronics. NZ on Air is a minority funder of the show.

Entry information is available online, as well as details of the remaining dates of The X Factor NZ pre-auditions. The search for contestants for The X Factor NZ continues in Auckland on Friday 1 and Saturday 2 of February, and will visit New Plymouth, Whangarei and Kerikeri before finishing in Kaitaia on Waitangi Day.

For more information, including pre-audition dates and entry forms, visit TV3.co.nz/thexfactornz or join the conversation at facebook.com/xfactornz.

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About The X Factor NZ

Hosted by Dominic Bowden, with Melanie Blatt, Ruby Frost, Daniel Bedingfield and Stan Walker as the four-strong judging panel, The X Factor NZ is the first local version of the global television phenomenon format put on the map by music mogul Simon Cowell.

The world’s leading singing talent search, The X Factor has launched numerous internationally successful music careers, including Leona Lewis, Reece Mastin and One Direction. The X Factor artists have globally sold over 100 million records, achieving 250 number ones, 270 Top 10, and 501 Top 50 hit records.

In 2013, New Zealanders will have the chance to put their singing talent to the test, as The X Factor NZ travels the length and breadth of the country, from Invercargill to Kaitaia, with one goal - to discover the next great New Zealand recording artist.

The X Factor NZ is open to singers of aged 14 and up, either solo performers or groups. Contestants who make it through the audition process are split into categories – Boys under 25, Girls under 25, the over 25s and the Groups. Each category is mentored by one of judges, who will work alongside the contestants as they compete for a prize that includes a recording contract with Sony Music Entertainment New Zealand.

About Melanie Blatt

Melanie Blatt is best known as the ex-lead vocalist of acclaimed British band All Saints, who went on to sell 10 million albums, win numerous global awards and were widely regarded as the most credible girl band the UK has ever produced.

Melanie grew up in London to a French mother and English father, she enrolled in London stage school, Sylvia Young aged 11, where she met future band mate Nicole Appleton. Unfortunately, Melanie’s plans to become a dancer were curtailed; upon developing the back condition, scoliosis (curvature of the spine) she had to leave stage school after two and a half years. Her family moved to France to seek medical help, the operation available had a 50% chance of leaving her paralysed, but Melanie fought back and proceeded with the operation, refusing to let her condition hold her back.

Throughout, Melanie continued to sing, took up acting and cultivated a life-long appreciation of Prince. In 1993 she returned to Britain and spent two and a half years in a band called Drive until her friend took her to Metamorphosis studios on the All Saints Road, where she met fellow session singer and fledgling songwriter Shaznay Lewis. They began writing and recording together and formed a band, All Saints 1.9.7.5. with R&B singer Simone Rainford. They signed to ZTT in 1995 and released two singles before Rainford left and the label released them.

A chance re-union with Nicole Appleton after eight years, led to Nicole joining the band, now re-titled All Saints, and with her older sister Natalie added to the line-up, the band was complete. Hence began the chaotic All Saints blueprint, from 1997 to 2001 the coolest girl group on the planet, four, uber-sexy, stylish, hip-hop fanatics, who sold 10 million albums world-wide and inadvertently made loose-hipped combats the most bankable trouser on Earth.

In 1997, All Saints recorded ‘I Know Where It’s At’ and signed to London Records. The song hit number four on the UK charts and crossed over throughout Europe, Asia and Australia. They reached the UK top spot and number four on the Billboard Hot 100 with their second single, the classic ‘Never Ever’ which sold over a million copies in the UK, followed by their self-titled debut album. ‘Never Ever’ went on to win the Best British Single and Video awards at the 1998 BRIT Awards. Singles ‘Under The Bridge’/’Lady Marmalade’ (no 1), ‘Bootie Call’ (no 1) and ‘War Of Nerves’ (no 7) followed, leading to platinum certification of the album in the US and five times platinum in the UK. In November 1998, Melanie and her boyfriend ex-Jamiroquai bass player Stuart Zender, had their first child, Lilyella.

After a two-year break from music, All Saints returned with ‘Pure Shores’, which was included on the soundtrack to the Leonardo DiCaprio film, The Beach; another classic, the song sold a million copies in the UK alone. The long-awaited sophomore effort Saints & Sinners was released in October 2000, boosted by the singles ‘Black Coffee’ (no 1) and ‘All Hooked Up’ (no 7), but friction within the group reached breaking point resulting in an inevitable split in early 2001.

Melanie released her first single since the All Saints that summer, a collaboration with Artful Dodger called ‘Twentyfourseven’, which received massive airplay and hit number six. Her debut solo single ‘Do Me Wrong’ followed, hitting the top 20.

In early 2003, Melanie was invited to present a talent show pilot, for Urban Nation (Nation 217), her warm, relaxed and engaging style, showing her to be a natural when it comes to presenting. She worked on a number of acclaimed intimate, soul-pop songs during this period with Matt Hales (Aqualung), showing fans a different musical side than what she was known for.

2006 – 2007 saw the reunion of All Saints with the release of one-off album Studio 1. The album, which was heavily influenced by ska and reggae, contained the top 3 hit ‘Rock Steady’. Together Nicole Appleton in 2007, Melanie began co-hosting well-received musical show The Hot Desk.

Melanie these days lives in Ibiza and has carved out a reputation as one of the island’s DJs to watch, resulting in successful collaborations on tracks with Soul Clap, Fur Coat and Kris Di Angelis.

About Ruby Frost

Catch Ruby Frost on stage, and the eclectic pink-haired singer has a commanding presence – belting out her unique style of electronic pop, dancing in front of psychedelic visuals, and wearing a metallic ensemble. Catch her off it, and she's an insomniac songwriter (real name Jane de Jong) who works late into the night, fusing pop hooks with electro samples and disco beats.

The New Zealand singer was first put on the map when she won the nationwide MTV talent competition 42Unheard in 2009. From there, she signed with Universal Music NZ, began writing her debut album Volition, and enlisted Passion Pit's long-time producer Chris Zane to take the production reigns in New York.

Meanwhile, Kiwi dubstep duo Mt Eden remixed Frost's soul song 'O That I Had' which quickly received over 1,000,000 views on YouTube. Volition was released in New Zealand mid-2012, hitting number five on the Official New Zealand Music Chart's NZ Albums list. Music mag Groove Guide called it, “a wealth of engaging material... under the thickly overlaid tracks and dovetailing harmonies lies a foundation of strong, talented songwriting."

Frost lists her influences as Kate Bush, The Knife, David Bowie and Fleetwood Mac, and the debut shows her distinctive voice scaling over infectious melodies, with lyrics on lost love and outer space.

In 2010, Ruby's song 'Hazy' won a Grand Prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition (in the Section I: Pop Category). 2011 saw that same track coming 3rd in the International Songwriting Competition's Pop Category.

Ruby Frost's first single at commercial radio, 'Water To Ice' hit Top 10 on New Zealand radio charts in 2012, and also got Frost shortlisted in the Top 20 of the nation's prestigious Silver Scroll songwriting award. The video (directed by Special Problems) was featured on the front-page of Vimeo as a Staff Pick, and also on PopJustice.com who said Ruby has, “A hint of crossover superstar about her.”

The follow-up track 'Young' then became a summer anthem, charting in The Edge's Top 20 and sparking off a national house party tour that the radio station sponsored – Ruby and band stopped in 20 houses from Whangarei to Invercargill.

At the same time, Ruby fronted retail-chain Glassons' Australasian 'Summer of Sounds' campaign, alongside musicians The Veronica's and Watercolours.

She's toured with Cut Copy, Van She, Mt. Eden, Six60 and Evermore – and been selected to open for a long list of international acts including Fun, Garbage, Diplo, Nero, Digitalism and Kimbra. Frost also featured on comedy duo Flight of the Conchord's charity single 'Feel Inside' (part of TV3’s Comedy for Cure Kids appeal), along with 20 prominent NZ musos (including Brooke Fraser, Dave Dobbyn and Boh Runga).

Her live show has built up a strong following on the local festival circuit – Ruby and her band have repeatedly brought their high-energy show to Rhythm & Vines, Rhythm & Alps, and Parachute crowds. They've also played industry showcases in New York (at CMJ), LA (The Viper Room), Brisbane and Sydney.

Song writing and theatrics have been part of Frost's journey since the start, she explains, “I've always dressed up and pretended to belong to other worlds. For me music is an escape, a way to get out of myself and see what is happening around me with fresh perspective.”


MediaWorks NZ Limited (website: www.mediaworks.co.nz) is New Zealand’s leading private sector broadcast and online media company. Through its specialist divisions – MediaWorks TV, MediaWorks Radio and MediaWorks Interactive, it owns and operates the TV3 and FOUR television networks, national radio brands The Edge, The Rock, MORE FM, Kiwi FM, RadioLIVE, LiveSPORT, The Sound, The Breeze, George FM and Mai FM, plus several local radio stations, and a family of websites.

ENDS

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