- Category : 1962 Births
- Type : MGE
- Profile : 6/2 - Role Model / Hermit
- Definition : Split - Small (22,36,45,51)
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Education 1
Paula Julie Abdul (born June 19, 1962) is an American television personality, jewelry designer, multi-platinum Grammy-winning singer, and Emmy Award-winning choreographer.
In the 1980s, Abdul's career rose rapidly, from being a cheerleader for the Los Angeles Lakers to being a highly sought-after choreographer at the height of the music video era, then to being a Pop-R&B singer with a string of top hits in the late 1980s and early 1990s. According to Abdul, she has sold over 53 million records to date. After her initial period of success, she suffered a series of reverses in her professional and personal life, until she found renewed fame and success in the 2000s as a judge on the highly rated television series American Idol.
Abdul was born in San Fernando, California, to Harry Abdul, who once worked as a livestock trader and owns a sand and gravel business in California, and Lorraine Rykiss, a former concert pianist who once worked as an assistant to film director Billy Wilder. Abdul's father was a Mizrahi Syrian Jew who immigrated with his family to Brazil and then to the U.S., while her mother is also Jewish and originally from Saint Boniface, an area of Winnipeg, Canada.
She and her sister, Wendy, who is seven years older, lived with their mother in the San Fernando Valley. As a small child Abdul's interest in a career as a performer was inspired by Gene Kelly in the classic film Singin' in the Rain as well as such entertainers as Debbie Allen, Gregory Hines, Sammy Davis Jr., Fred Astaire, and Bob Fosse. When asked in an interview about black influence:
Absolutely....As a young kid growing up, I admired the talent of so many . Black kids identified with me because we all danced together, and we shared that love for art. My favorite artists were Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, the O'Jays—that's what I grew up on. That was my consciousness.
Abdul began dance lessons around the age of eight and showed a natural talent for it. She attended Van Nuys High School where she was on the cheerleading squad, and was an honors student. At 15, she received a scholarship to a dance camp near Palm Springs.
Abdul enrolled at California State University at Northridge to study broadcasting. In her freshman year, she tried out for the Los Angeles Lakers' famed Laker Girls squad and was selected from a pool of 700. Within three months she became head choreographer. She quit school six months later.
Dancing and choreography
Carear 1981- Present
Abdul’s high-energy, street-funk style delighted fans, including the famed Jackson family, who saw her perform at a game and then hired the 20-year old to choreograph a music video for their 1984 Victory (album).
Abdul went on to serve as the choreographer for the 1980s videos of singer Janet Jackson. She also choreographed music videos for Duran Duran, Heart, Prince, The Jacksons, Jermaine Jackson, Kool & the Gang, the Pointer Sisters, Steve Winwood, Luther Vandross, INXS, Debbie Gibson, ZZ Top, George Michael and Dolly Parton. She choreographed and appeared in the videos for Toto's "Till The End", Michael Jackson's "Liberian Girl", Janet Jackson's "What Have You Done For Me Lately" and "Nasty" and Angela Winbush's "Run to Me".
Abdul also choreographed the stage shows for Suzanne Somers and Toni Basil.
In film, Abdul choreographed the dance sequences in the films Coming to America, The Running Man and American Beauty, as well as Cuba Gooding Jr.'s touchdown celebration in Jerry Maguire, the giant keyboard sequence involving Tom Hanks’ character in Big, and The King's touchdown celebration, as seen in a string of popular Burger King television commercials that aired during the 2005-2006 NFL season.
Abdul won the 1989 Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography for her work on The Tracey Ullman Show and the same award in 1990 for The 17th Annual American Music Awards.
In 1995, Abdul released a dance workout video entitled Paula Abdul's Get Up and Dance! (released on DVD in 2003), a fast-paced, hip-hop style workout. Subsequently she released another dance workout video in 1998 called Cardio Dance (released on DVD in 2000). In December 2005, Abdul launched a cheerleading/fitness/dance/dance DVD series called Cardio Cheer, which is marketed to children and teenage girls involved with cheerleading and dance.
Early comericial Success 1987-1990
Paula Abdul's successful debut album brought her widespread public attention.In 1987 Abdul used her savings to make a singing demo. Although her voice was relatively untrained, her exceptional dancing proved marketable to the visually oriented, MTV-driven pop music industry.
In 1988, Abdul released her debut album Forever Your Girl. The album took 62 weeks to hit #1 on the Billboard 200 album sales chart, the longest an album has been on the market before hitting #1. It spent 10 weeks at #1. The album eventually became multi-platinum in the spring and summer of 1989 and it spawned five American Top Three singles, four of them #1s: "Straight Up", "Forever Your Girl", "Cold Hearted", "(It's Just) The Way That You Love Me", and "Opposites Attract". Forever Your Girl was the first debut album ever to have four number one singles. A remix album, Shut Up and Dance, was also released and reached #7 on Billboard's album chart, becoming one of the most successful remix albums to date. The Grammy award-winning video for "Opposites Attract" featured an animated cat named MC Skat Kat. As a sign of Paula's enormous popularity, the cartoon cat scored his own record deal later that year, becoming the first artist signed to Abdul's own Captive Records. Abdul's voice was sampled on one track and she appeared in the video for the first single.
Abdul also went on a Club MTV tour where she performed the songs off her album. Several other acts were also on the tour. Overall the tour helped raise Abdul's popularity even more.
Spellbound Era 1991-1992
Paula Abdul on the cover of her sophomore album SpellboundAbdul's follow-up album, 1991's Spellbound, contained another string of hits, and went on to sell 8.5 million copies. Hits included "Rush, Rush" (which topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for five consecutive weeks, thanks to its music video and its Rebel Without a Cause motif featuring Keanu Reeves in the James Dean role), "Promise of a New Day", "Blowing Kisses in the Wind", "Vibeology", and "Will You Marry Me?". The first single, "Rush, Rush", was a ballad, which surprised many, as singers generally release an up-tempo song as a first single. The album Spellbound retained much of the dance-oriented formula heard on her debut album. The track "U" was written for Paula by Prince.
Abdul promoted the album through a tour called "Under My Spell Tour." This tour almost didn't happen because of an accident during rehearsal that was bad enough she almost had to cancel the tour. The tour went as scheduled anyway and ran from October 1991 to the summer of 1992.
Also in 1991, Abdul made a popular Diet Coke commercial in which through technology she danced with her idol, a young Gene Kelly.
Abdul took a break from recording and resurfaced in 1995 with an exercise video, Get Up and Dance.
Return from hiatus and Carear Woes 1995-1996
In 1995 Abdul released her third album of original material, Head Over Heels. Modest radio hits with the singles "My Love Is for Real", "Crazy Cool", and "Ain't Never Gonna Give You Up" showed that she was still able to create popular music while moving with the times. The first single off the album, "My Love Is for Real", featured a fusion of R&B and traditional Middle Eastern instruments, and was sung together with Yemenite-Israeli singer Ofra Haza. Its accompanying Lawrence of Arabia-inspired music video was played in theaters across the world as a preface to the film Clueless. It was a hit in dance clubs (peaking at #1 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart) but the single stalled at #28 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. The second single, "Crazy Cool", was accompanied by a music video wherein Abdul is seen riding a mechanical bull and spraying Champagne over her breasts.
Virgin Records, possibly counting on name recognition to move copies, did not put nearly as much muscle behind promoting the album, and Head Over Heels sold considerably less than her previous albums.
Although the album was commercially less successful, some fans considered it to be her best work to date. Some speculate that the album didn't sell well because of the amount of time taken between albums and the change in radio tastes in the mid-90s.
Greatest Hits, More Greatest Hits and New Album
In 2000, Abdul’s Paula Abdul: Greatest Hits CD was released by Virgin Records (with whom Abdul was already no longer affiliated). It featured all of the "hit" singles singles as well as other noteworthy tracks. The song "Bend Time Back 'Round" had previously been heard only on the 1993 soundtrack for the hit television series Beverly Hills 90210. The album was not a commercial success, however it managed to sell more than 1 million copies worldwide.
In 2000, Abdul co-wrote "Spinning Around", a dance-pop track intended to be the lead single off her new album. The album never materialised and "Spinning Around" was given to Kylie Minogue as a comeback single. The song became highly successful and re-launched Minogue's career, as it was intended to do for Abdul, and reached #1 in numerous countries.
A second greatest-hits CD, entitled Greatest Hits: Straight Up!, was released by Virgin on May 8, 2007. The track listing is slightly different but, again, this album was put together by Virgin Records who no longer employs Abdul but nonetheless hopes to cash in on her American Idol success. At this time, they also released the music videos to all her six #1 singles to iTunes. She is also reportedly meeting with new record companies, to bounce around ideas for a new album.