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Welsh songstress Jem was drawn to music from an early age and was writing her own songs by the time she hit her teens. However, like many "sensible" young people, she put her musical aspirations on hold while she concentrated on her studies. But in college her passion for music ignited once again, drawing her into the industry in a variety of behind-the-scenes jobs, including club promoter and local DJ representative. These jobs eventually led Jem to set up her own breaks label, Marine Parade. With all these creative resources at her disposal, it wasn't long before the songwriting bug bit her again. She quit her job, assembled a collection of demos, and moved to London. While her tapes made the rounds, Jem met other likeminded souls to collaborate with, including producer Guy Sisgworth (Frou Frou, Bjork). The fruit of their collaboration, "Nobody Knows Me," was picked up by Madonna and appears on her American Life album. Never one to rest on her laurels, Jem headed to New York and met hip-hop producers Ge-Ology (Mos Def, Talib Kweli) and Yoad Nevo. Together, they streamlined Jem's various influences into a fresh, cohesive sound. A demo tape of these sessions found its way onto the Los Angeles airwaves via KCRW's Morning Becomes Ecclectic show, and Jem was signed shortly after. Her debut EP, It All Starts Here, was released in 2003, followed the next year by her debut album.

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