Paula Abdul Biography
Last updated: 03/20/2012 11:00:00 AM
Paula Julie Abdul was born on June 19th, 1963 in San Fernando, California. The youngest of two daughters born to Harry and Lorraine Abdul she was inspired at an early age by the film 'Singing In The Rain', and as a young girl her ultimate ambition was to be a successful dancer like her idol Gene Kelly. From the age of nine she undertook dance lessons where she impressed her teachers with her natural ability to dance and entertain.
Following graduation Paula appeared on the small screen when she was just sixteen years old in the 1978 movie-musical 'Junior High School'. However, her sole dream was still to be a dancer. In the early 1980s Paula attended an audition to cheer for the LA Lakers. She defeated hundreds of other hopefuls to cheer for the legendary basket ball team where her unique and dynamic dance style earned her the converted position of choreographer. It is widely agreed that Paula’s choreography revolutinalized cheerleading forever within the industry.
She quickly became recognized as one of the most talented up and coming choreographers in Hollywood and is credited with the choreography of the films 'Private School' (1983) and 'Coming To America' (1988) the smash hit comedy starring Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall. She also choreographed routines for the highly popular TV series 'The Tracy Ullman Show'.
It was whilst choreographing the LA Lakers that she was spotted by Jackson Five. Janet Jackson hired her to choreograph the smash hit video 'Nasty'. Paula’s reputation had spread like wildfire throughout the showbiz world, and she was now being hired by superstars of the 1980s like George Michael, Debbie Gibson, Duran Duran, INXS and ZZ Top.
By this time Paula had accumulated a respectable amount of money and decided it was time to make the step up from background choreography to the limelight of stardom. She used her money and connections to record a demo tape which persuaded Virgin America to record an album. In May 1988 she recorded and released a single called "Knocked Out" which peaked at number 41 on the Hot 100. A month later on June 13th Virgin America released "Forever Your Girl", Paula's debut album. Her follow up single "The Way That You Love Me" peaked at just number 88.
Despite the initial poor sales a third single "Straight Up" was released in February 1989 and was to prove to be Paula's breakthrough to fame and fortune. "Straight Up" went "straight up" to number one. Boyd by this success, "Forever Your Girl" single was released, and that too went to number one. Paula had her third number one hit in September with the single "Cold Hearted". "The Way That You Love" peaked at number 3 in December 1989. In February 1990 Paula had her forth number one with "Opposites Attract" (along with MC Skat Kat). To this day Paula remains one of the few female artists to have four number ones from her debut album.
The 'Forever Your Girl' album sold over ten million copies worldwide, going multi-platinum and making Paula Abdul a house hold name throughout the world. In May 1990, 'Shut Up And Dance', a collection of dance remixes from 'Forever Your Girl' was released as a follow up to its initial success.
Paula’s second album 'Spellbound' was released in 1991, and it appeared that her success would contain where Forever Your Girl left off. The first single from 'Spellbound', 'Rush Rush' went to number one in May 1991 and stayed there for an incredible five weeks. Her second single 'Promise Of A New Day' also went to number one in September. Her third single 'Blowing Kisses In The Wind' peaked at number six in February 1992, marking the down point in Paula’s commercial success. However, she continued to make the headline with her highly publicised marriage to Hollywood Brat Packer, Emilo Estevez.
Although commercially less successful than 'Forever Your Girl', many Paula fans feel this was her best album to date, with a bold mix of soulful ballads such as 'Rush Rush' and 'Blowing Kisses In The Wind' and 'Goodnight, My Love' with more jazzy tunes like 'U', 'Alright Tonight' and 'Vibeology'.
It was around this time when problems in Paula’s personal life began to cloud her career. In 1992 she confessed to suffering from the eating disorder bulimia and checked herself into a clinic. She also divorced Emilo Estevez in May 1994, citing irreconcilable differences, although they remain friends to this day. Her reputation was damaged when backing vocalist Yvette Marine claimed she, and not Paula, had sung the main vocals on several tracks from the 'Forever Your Girl' album. Paula and Virgin eventually won the case.
However, by 1995 Paula had successfully overcome her demons and prepared to return to the spotlight. In the summer of ‘95 she released her third album 'Head Over Heels', a bold departure from her first two albums, with a mixture of pop, soul and a little hip-hop. However, a new generation of musicians had overtaken her, and Head Over Heels peaked at just 18 on the Billboard 100. The three singles that were released from Head Over Heels,'Crazy Cool', 'My Love Is For Real' and 'Ain’t Never Gonna You Up' failed to reach the top twenty. In October 1996 Paula engaged and married Brad Beckerman, heir to the clothing giant, Starter, in a whirlwind romance after they were set up on a blind date by a mutual friend. Sadly, this was to prove to be yet another false start in Paula’s love life and they divorced just seventeen months later citing irreconcilable differences.
In January 1997 Paula ventured into TV, making her adult acting debut with ABC’s Sunday Night Movie "Touched By Evil", the true story of woman recovering from a brutal rape. Paula went on to make appearances on 'Spin City' and 'The Wayan Bros.' sitcoms. More recently she has appeared on NBC’s 'Mr. Rock & Roll: The Allen Freed Story', the cable TV movie 'The Waiting Game', NBC's 'Saturday Night Live', and ABC’s 'Sabrina The Teenage Witch'.
However, Paula had not given up on the dancing and the music. In 1998 she released her aerobic video 'Cardio Dance', a follow up to her critically acclaimed 'Get Up and Dance' video released in 1995. She has also established her own company, Co Dance, which has just held its first national championships. A starring role in the musical 'Sweet Charity' was postponed due to production problems, but may still go ahead sometime in the future.
In the meantime, Virgin has just announced that the long awaited Greatest Hits album will be released on March 14th, 2000. For Paula fans everywhere, we hope the best is yet to come.