Unusually, Australian singer Holly Valance's first single, "Kiss Kiss," was released in the U.K. prior to its release at home, in the knowledge that the record would make a sizable impression in the bigger market. Valance was already well known in Great Britain for her appearances in the popular teen-oriented soap opera Neighbours. (A decade earlier the program had also launched the international careers of Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan.)
Born Holly Vukadinovic, her family originated from Serbia but she was born in Australia on May 11, 1983. Valance was just four years old when Minogue and Donovan (a couple both on and off the screen) were regular shoppers at Holly's father's clothing store in Melbourne. Valance started dancing and putting on shows for her family at home, and worked as a model from the age of 14. She won a part on Neighbours by the time she was 16, and appeared as one of the show's most popular new characters from 1999 to 2002.
Just as Minogue had almost 15 years earlier, Valance moved naturally into a dance-pop music career. Her debut album, 2002's Footprints, was released on London and featured production from Nellee Hooper, Anders Kallmark, and Phil Thornalley. The trailer single "Kiss Kiss" hit the top of the charts in the U.K. and Australia, and two further singles ("Down Boy," "Naughty Girl") made the Top Five in Australia. The album reached the Top 20 and earned gold certifications in both countries.
The follow-up, State of Mind, appeared one year later; Valance worked with producers Steve Anderson (Kylie Minogue, Britney Spears, Westlife) and Drew Peters (Kid Rock, Girls Aloud). The title track was a Top Ten hit in the U.K., and reached the Top 20 in Australia. Valance chose to transition back to acting, appearing frequently on American television (CSI: Miami, Entourage, CSI: NY) and film (Pledge This!, Taken), and earning a recurring role on the first two seasons of Prison Break. She also appeared as a contestant on Strictly Coming Down during 2011. ~ Ed Nimmervoll