Originally published: By Kelly Crane, November 10, 2010 @Gulfnews.com
In 1999, a song called Sunshine brought a few rays of much-needed happiness into Louise Gabrielle Bobb’s life. More than 10 years later, the Brit soul diva better known as Gabrielle says her two children are now all the sunshine she needs.
“Sunshine was a tribute to my son for being my whole reason for living after many testing years,” she said with real strength in her voice. “Now my little girl and boy are my sunshine every day. They make everything okay.”
Despite a traumatic past, Gabrielle is the girl next door. Well, a girl next door who also happens to be one of Britain’s most successful solo female artists. Life hasn’t been a breeze for the South London schoolgirl who was teased and picked on because of a lazy eye.
“Early on, there was a story I wore a patch because I didn’t have an eye. Some people still believe it. The reality is I’ve just got a lazy eyelid. I’m sure there have been worse stories, but I get shielded from them in case I slit my wrists,” she said with a confidence showing her past is well and truly behind her.
Rumours about her eye were the least of her worries. By the time her debut single, Dreams, hit the top of the charts in 1993, she and Tony Antoniou were an item. He is the father of her child and was her long-time partner.
He was also arrested for the murder of his stepfather. Life turned into a nightmare for the singer and she was hauled in by the police for questioning.
‘Take on anything’
“I’ve had my fair share of problems, but my children have always kept me strong. They are my cushion. They make me believe I can take on anything.”
In 1996, Gabrielle was cleared of any involvement, but Antoniou confessed and was convicted of murder.
Dreams put the young woman with the kiss curl and eye-patch at the top of the charts and in the record books for the highest entry for a female artist.
Since then, the only way was up. Out Of Reach shot to the top of the charts and was also featured on the soundtrack of the blockbuster Bridget Jones’s Diary.
“It’s been a while, but I’m writing new material now,” she said. “I just haven’t had much time with the kids. My son has a better social life than me. He plays football, loves music and dance. He’s a little breath of fresh air. My daughter loves to sing and she goes to acting classes. She’s a little drama queen already just like her mum,” she says with a giggle.
Avid X Factor fans, Gabrielle has joined the thousands in the Wagner supporters’ club. “My little girl and I follow the show. She loves One Direction surprise, surprise. I love Rebecca Ferguson and Mary they have such stage presence.
“But I think it’s unfair that Wagner is ridiculed. The judges put him through in the first place. At least he’s entertaining.”