Sunday, July 7, 2013

July 7: Ciara Newell from the Irish group, Bellefire, is 30-years-old today.

Ciara Annette Newell was born July 7, 1983. She is from Galway, Ireland. She was a member of the first girl band to be managed by Louis Walsh.

Bellefire was briefly one of the biggest pop acts in their native Ireland comprised of Ciara, and her sister Kathy along with Kelly Kilfeather. The girls met backstage at an audition for a new boy/girl band put together by Boyzone/Westlife manager Walsh.

Unimpressed by the male entrants, Walsh instead decided to form his first girl band, and after introducing a singer he already knew, Tara Lee to the trio, Bellefire were formed. There was also a fifth-member for a time, Paula O'Neill.

Mostly performing pop and adult contemporary music, they were originally known as "Chit Chat." The girls signed with Virgin Records after a support slot on Boyzone's European tour. Their first two releases, "Perfect Bliss" and a cover of U2's "All I Want Is You" both reached the Top 20 in the U.K. and the Top Three in Ireland. However, just weeks before their debut album After the Rain was due to be released, the band was dropped by their label and Lee left to pursue a career in television.

In 2004, Bellefire signed with WEA Records and moved to London to record their second album. Comeback single "Say Something Anyway" continued their run of successive Top Five singles and the band embarked on a tour of the Far East, where their traditional Irish ballad versions of Japanese punk songs had gained them a loyal following.

But after "Spin the Wheel" charted disappointingly in both the U.K. and Ireland, the band parted company with their label and their album of the same name was shelved.

Since the split, Ciara has provided backing vocals for Lee Ryan's debut album, Cathy has been a judge on the hit TV show Star Stream Final, and Kelly is working on solo material.

Ciara also now works for a record label in London where she deals in promotions and writes songs. Ciara is also involved with the Irish-language television station TG4 where she has been working as a judge on the fourth series of its flagship talent show Glas Vegas. The series began on TG4 on January 10, 2010 with the final shown on the following April 4.


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