Vanessa Contenay (born Vanessa Contenay-Quinones) is a London-based singer-songwriter born in Paris, France. She is currently a member of the band Vanessa and the O's but currently releasing solo records in collaboration with UK based duo Skeewiff as Vanessa Contenay-Quinones and Skeewiff. She was known as Vanessa St. James as part of a duet, "Vanessa St James and Lou Reed" (Sunday Morning 2004 ).
French composer artist Contenay-Quinones is the daughter of Carmen Quinones, painter of Lima, Peru and was influenced by a wide variety of music early in life with the sounds of 50/60's rock & roll and pop being predominant. She was born in Paris, but spent her early childhood in the Canary Islands returning to Paris to attend primary school. She released her first pop record at the age of 16 in France before moving to England to start her music career proper settling first in Brighton, absorbing the electronic dance music culture and starting up Latin infused beats and samples pop duo Espiritu with Chris Taplin, before moving to London.
In the mid '90's she co-wrote/co-produced and recorded as the primary member of Espiritu, assisted by former Frazier Chorus member Taplin. Two Espiritu albums and six singles were released in this time, the album 'Always' being a Japan (EMI Japan) only release and featured the UK and Japanese hit single 'Always Something There To Remind Me'. The second album 'Another Life' was released in the UK by Heavenly/Deconstruction-BMG and in Japan by EMI.
In 2003, she co-founded the band Vanessa and the O's alongside Smashing Pumpkins co-founding member James Iha, Popsicle's Andreas Mattson and Niclas Frisk of Atomic Swing releasing debut album La Ballade d'O in 2005. In 2009/10 she started work on the 60's French pop inspired solo project 'Allez Pop!' working with Alex Rizzo and Elliot Ireland of London funky beats and analogue sound maestro's Skeewiff releasing the album Vanessa Contenay-Quinones presents Allez Pop! to rave reviews. In August 2012 the second Vanessa & The O's album Stories For Watering Skies was released in Japan. The European release via Grand Palais/Modulor Paris France came out in spring 2013.
A second 60's French pop album with the working title 'Made In France' has been announced by the artist and Skeewiff for a 2014 release.
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