Breaking & Entering: A look at acts breaking at radio and retail and entering Billboard charts. This week: Emma and Gioia.
Profiling acts breaking at radio and/or retail and entering Billboard's charts.
OH BABY: With Spice Girls creator Simon Fuller back behind the helm, the artist formerly known as "Baby Spice" makes her first solo U.S. chart appearance as the latest dance/pop darling. At No. 46 on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart, Emma Bunton's "Free Me" marks her first stateside entry since the Spice Girls' final album in 2000.
Although new on these shores, "Free Me" is the fourth U.K. single from her first record for Fuller's London-based 19 Recordings. Also titled "Free Me," the album was issued overseas in March, but has not yet secured a U.S. release date.
Bunton -- who has opted to be known professionally as Emma -- released her solo debut, "A Girl Like Me" (Virgin), in 2001. The album's single "What Took You So Long?" bowed at No. 1 on the U.K. singles chart, but didn't catch on in the States.
For her sophomore effort, Emma co-wrote most of the dance/pop tracks including the single "Maybe," which reached No. 3 on the Hot Dance/Club Play Breakouts chart as an import. That list tracks those titles that are "bubbling under" the bottom of the Hot Dance/Club Play tally.
Emma was a presenter during the Aug. 29 broadcast of the MTV Video Music Awards in Miami and has been tapped as a panelist for Billboard's Dance Music Summit, set for Sept. 20-22 in New York.
Billboard Dance Music Summit: billboardevents.com
EXPOSED: As a member of Miami-based pop trio Exposé, Gioia Bruno is familiar with the Billboard charts. Before her departure in 1992, the group enjoyed eight top 10 singles including the Hot 100 No. 1 "Seasons Change."
After more than a decade away, Gioia landed her first chart position as a solo artist last week with "Be Mine," the first single from her debut Koch album, "Expose This." The song bowed at No. 45 on Billboard's Hot Dance/Club Play chart and moves up five slots in its second week.
That she's charted a record again in her career is remarkable considering the fact that Gioia was diagnosed several years ago as having an inoperable benign throat tumor. Although doctors predicted she'd never sing again, the artist credits "three years of therapy, meditation and faith in God" for the tumor's disappearance.
During her recovery, Gioia co-founded the West Broward Performing Arts Academy in the Miami area, where she began writing and producing music, including a rock album with John Thomas and the group WET. Gioia also appeared on "The Late Show With David Letterman" with Bon Jovi's Richie Sambora as a back-up vocalist and percussionist during that time.
As of late, Gioia has been back on the U.S. club circuit in support of the radio-friendly "Expose This," which features a cover of Kiss' "I Was Made for Lovin' You." Her upcoming dates include a Sept. 18 appearance Club Phoenix in Albany, N.Y., and a Sept. 26 show at San Jose, Calif.'s History Park.