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Samantha Tamania Anne Cecilia Mumba was born 18 January 1983 and has become a Grammy Award-nominated Irish singer, songwriter, actress, and occasional model.
Her first album was released in 2000 and achieved international success. As well as being a singer, she is also an actress; her most notable role was Mara in the 2002 film The Time Machine. She has also appeared in a number of Irish independent films.
Samantha was born in Dublin, Ireland. Her father, Peter Mumba, is a Zambian aircraft engineer and her mother Barbara is an Irish woman who works as a cabin crew member with the Irish airline Aer Lingus. She attended Dublin's Billie Barry Stage School from the ages 3 to 15. In 1998, she was cast as the lead in The Hot Mikado, a jazzy production based on Gilbert and Sullivan's opera.
At the age of 15, Mumba was discovered on an RTÉ TV talent show Let Me Entertain You by Irish Svengali Louis Walsh (manager of Boyzone and Westlife). Walsh was impressed by her talent and she was signed to Polydor Records. She subsequently spent several months moving between Denmark, Sweden, the UK and Ireland where she co-wrote and recorded her debut album, Gotta Tell You. She eventually dropped out of school to focus on her music career, explaining that it was becoming difficult to stay in school and work on her music.
Mumba's first single, Gotta Tell You, was released in 2000 and shot to the No. 1 spot in the Irish charts. It later reached No. 2 in the United Kingdom charts. Mumba also had success in the USA with her debut single which peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album Gotta Tell You stayed on the charts for 6 months and was eventually certified Platinum for shipments of 1 million copies. Five more Top 10 hits followed in the UK and she had another top 50 hit in the US, leading some at the time to call her the "black Britney Spears", although she has rejected this title. To date, her first album has sold over 4 million copies worldwide. She was nominated for a 2002 Grammy Award for her song "Baby, Come Over (This Is Our Night)" in the 'best remixed recording, non-classical' category, but did not win.In 2001 she contributed to the track You Raise Me Up by the Celtic Tenors. An EP was also released in 2001 at Christmas called Samantha Sings Christmas, it is also a bonus disc on rare special editions of Gotta Tell You. In october 2000, Gotta Tell You (single) was released in France. It was a hit and was certified Silver.
In 2002 she released a new single I'm Right Here with a slightly more laid-back sound. The video features Damien Marley, son of Bob Marley. The video was a television favourite in both the US and UK. The single became Mumba's fifth UK top 5 single and her fifth top 3 single in Ireland. In the US and Germany the song was less successful, peaking at 80 and 81.
Rumors circulated that Mumba was getting ready to release a second album, Woman, but due to the poor sales of the lead single "I'm Right Here" in the US and a short lived time on the UK chart, she was dropped from her label, but Samantha stated on the Late Late Show (9 February 2007) that there never was a second album and the tracks leaked on the internet were attempts by her to find a new sound. On October 23, 2006, a compilation album, The Collection, was released. The album features songs from Gotta Tell You, B-sides and two brand new tracks including her single I'm Right Here.
On Thursday 17th Jan 2008, Samantha appeared as a guest on U.K daytime T.V show "Loose Women". After discussing her time away from the music scene, and her appearance on "ITV"s reality T.V show "Dancing On Ice", which ended abruptly after three weeks, the singer stated that she had almost finished recording her new album, and hoped it would be released in the summer of 2008.
Shortly after the success of Gotta Tell You Mumba was seen as the face of the fashion designer Louise Kennedy's Spring/Summer collection. She also became a Dior ambassador when she launched the Dior Watch Collection in Ireland. Around the same time, she also became the face of Reebok appearing in print advertising in the UK and Ireland for the Quest range. And in 2005, Mumba became the face (and body) of the Ultimo Per Amore Lingerie range, available exclusively at the Irish high-street chain Dunnes Stores.
After being dropped, Mumba's music career was put on hold and she began auditioning for films. In 2002, Steven Spielberg picked her to play Mara in The Time Machine. Mara is a girl who is part of a human civilization which has regressed to a hunter/gatherer lifestyle in the year 802701 AD. She co-starred with Guy Pearce and the movie earned $56,684,819 in the U.S. Mumba's second venture into films was in 2003, where she appeared in the film Spin The Bottle.
In 2005, Mumba returned to acting with the lead role of Jessica in the Irish film, Boy Eats Girl. The film was a box office failure in Ireland, making a little over €1 million despite it's €5 million budget.
In 2006, Mumba started in the thriller Nailed, playing the character of "Sapphire". The movie was originally a low budget Irish film but it caught the attention of an American producer who turned it into a big budget British movie. Johnny Was is a British gangster movie. Mumba co-starred beside Vinnie Jones and Eriq La Salle, playing "Rita". 2007 saw Mumba filming her part in the movie 3 Crosses.
Mumba confirmed on the Late Late Show, 9 February 2007, that a camera crew has been following her on and off for the past 6 months for a Reality TV show which was shown on Channel 4 at the end of March 2007. The show was called Get Your Act Together with Harvey Goldsmith and follows Mumba's attempts to revive her music career with Harvey Goldsmith as her mentor.
Mumba also starred on the 2008 series of Dancing On Ice but was eliminated in week 3.
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