Ilse DeLange

Country-pop singer Ilse DeLange emerged as one of the most successful Dutch artists of her generation with her chart-topping 1998 debut, World of Hurt. Born May 13, 1977, in Almelo, Holland, DeLange spent much of her childhood competing in local talent contests, eventually forming a country-inspired duo with guitarist Joop Liefland -- in 1994 they performed at the Dutch Country Music Awards, but their momentum soon stalled and a year later the partnership dissolved. DeLange next surfaced in the short-lived pop group Wij, issuing the 1996 single "De Oorlog Meegemaakt." Two years later, she joined the country band Cash on Delivery, and with them traveled to Nashville to record an LP with producer Barry Beckett. The completed album, titled World of Hurt, was issued in the Netherlands as a DeLange solo effort, going on to sell close to 500,000 copies and topping the Dutch charts -- the single "I'm Not So Tough" also cracked the Top 40, and she claimed Best Female Singer honors at the annual Edison Awards as well as the TMF Award for Best New Artist. The stopgap live release Dear John followed in 1999, and a year later DeLange issued her second studio album, Livin' on Love. More rock-oriented than its predecessor, the LP peaked at number five, notching a Top 40 hit via the title cut. DeLange returned to the U.S. to record 2003's Clean Up, which returned the singer to the top of the Dutch charts and yielded her highest-charting single to date with "Before You Let Me Go," a collaboration with the pop band Kane -- she also won her second Edison Award as Best Female Singer. After teaming with Italian singer Zucchero for the hit duet "Blue," DeLange began work with American pop producer Patrick Leonard on 2006's chart-topping The Great Escape, which generated the hits "The Lonely One" and "I Love You." ~ Jason Ankeny

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