One of five contestants from the first series of ITV's Pop Idol to score a Top Ten single, Sarah Whatmore risked languishing in obscurity by taking a further six years to release her debut album.
Born in Salford in 1981, Whatmore, a trained dancer, studied performing arts at college before working three different jobs in order to earn enough money to attend auditions in London. In 2001, she entered TV talent contest Pop Idol, eventually won by Will Young
, and made it through to the first set of live heats. Although she didn't make the final ten, she wowed judge Simon Cowell enough for him to propose to her and impressed Idol producer Simon Fuller enough for him to sign her to his 19 Management company. In 2002, she signed a deal with RCA Records, released her first single, "When I Lost You" (number six) and co-wrote fellow Pop Idol contestant Zoe Birkett
's debut single, "Treat Me Like a Lady." A year later, the failure of her second single, "Automatic" (number 11) to reach the Top Ten resulted in her debut album Living Proof being shelved. Turning down the opportunity to become a backing singer for Kylie Minogue
to concentrate on her own solo career, Whatmore spent the next five years honing her craft. Encouraged by manager Fuller and inspired by a difficult relationship, she wrote up to 200 songs with various collaborators including Greg Fitzgerald and Peter John Vettese
. In 2008, her first single in five years, "Smile," featuring a sample from Hall & Oates
' "Sarah's Smile" was released through 19 Recordings, with the album Time to Think set to follow in early 2009. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi