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Sonia (born Sonia Evans, 13 February 1971), is an English pop singer from Skelmersdale, Lancashire, who was popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s. She is perhaps best known for the number one hit "You'll Never Stop Me Loving You" and for representing the United Kingdom in the 1993 Eurovision Song Contest.

Music career

Her singing career was launched in 1989 by the songwriting and music producing trio Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman known as Stock Aitken Waterman. She was signed to Chrysalis Records after badgering Pete Waterman to listen to her sing outside the recording studio in Liverpool. Waterman did a regular weekly radio broadcast. He called her bluff and had her sing live on his show. She released her debut single, "You'll Never Stop Me Loving You" in June 1989 and it quickly became a number one single in the UK Singles Chart. At 18, she became one of the youngest female British singers to achieve this feat.

She released her debut album, Everybody Knows, in 1990, which peaked at #7. All 5 singles taken from it became top 20 hits, making Sonia the first British solo female artist to achieve this. Also in 1990, she recorded the song "You've Got A Friend" with the group Big Fun. It was released as a charity single for Childline and became a top 20 hit.

Due to tensions with Stock Aitken & Waterman she left the label and released her second, self titled album in 1991, produced by Nigel Wright. The first single taken from it, "Only Fools (Never Fall in Love)" peaked at #10, although the album was less successful than her debut.

She sang on two charity singles, Band Aid II's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" in 1989 (peaked at #1 in the UK) and Gulf Aid's "As Time Stood Still" in 1991.

In 1993, she represented the United Kingdom in the 1993 Eurovision Song Contest, singing the Dean Collinson and Red composition "Better the Devil You Know". She finished in second place. Her third album, also titled Better the Devil You Know was released that year and reached #32 in UK.

In 1994, she replaced singer Debbie Gibson as Sandy in the West End musical Grease. A cover of "Hopelessly Devoted To You" was released as a tie-in single, but it only peaked at #61 in the UK.

In 1995 she released a cover of "Wake Up Everybody", which did not enter the UK Top 100. It was to be the lead single of her fourth album, the soul covers album Love Train - The Philly Album, but Sonia was unhappy with it and it was only released as a promo.

Sonia did vocal part in Italian eurobeat singer Nuage's I'm Never Gonna Let You Down And Forget You with Nuage. Produced by eurobeat producer Dave Rodgers, the song was released in Japan 2004.

Late 2007 saw her greatest hits album released only featuring recordings from Sonia's time with BMG Music (1991-1993).

In 2007, prior to Sonia's Greatest Hits release, she recorded two Motown-influenced songs, "Dancing In the Driver's Seat" and "Your Heart Or Mine", both of which were written by Barry Upton and U.S. songwriter Gordon Pogoda. However, her record label decided to include no new songs on "Greatest Hits", so both recordings remain unreleased to this day. (Barry Upton also co-wrote Sonia's hit "Only Fools (Never Fall in Love))". The first recording of "Dancing in the Driver's Seat" (sung by Inspiration), however, was released in the Oscar-winning film Little Miss Sunshine and is on the album Gordon Pogoda Songs From Film & TV. The song is in a similar vein to other Motown-influenced Sonia records like "Only Fools (Never Fall in Love)", "Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy" and "Better the Devil You Know".

In 2008, Sonia recorded a cover of The Beatles' classic "She Loves You" for the Liverpool - The Number Ones Album.

On 1 June 2009 she released her first single for fourteen years - "Fool for Love".

In 2010, Sonia's debut album and its accompanying singles were reissued on CD and iTunes, including several never released remixes and two unreleased songs: a megamix and a cover of "Let's Have a Party". Also in 2010, Sonia's unreleased cover of the Carole King song "You've Got a Friend", a duet with Big Fun, was released on a reissue of the group's debut album.

Acting career & television work

Prior to her music career, around 1988, Evans appeared as an extra in Channel 4's soap opera Brookside, and also appeared in an episode of the BBC1 situation comedy Bread, where she played Ellia, a short-term girlfriend of Adrian Boswell, in episode 11 of series 5.

In 1990, Sonia co-hosted children's gameshow The Wetter The Better as a scoreboard person with main quizmaster Ross King which was part of the Saturday morning children's magazine show 8:15 from Manchester.

In 1993, Sonia made her theatre debut in the musical Slice Of Saturday Night, alongside Dennis Waterman. The following year she replaced singer Debbie Gibson as Sandy in a West End revival of Grease, where she stayed for a year. In 1997 she returned to the stage on the musical What A Feeling!, which also included fellow 1980s stars Luke Goss and Sinitta. An accompanying soundtrack album was released.

She has also played alongside Lily Savage as her wayward daughter Bunty Savage, both on the BBC series The Lily Savage Show and live shows.

In 2003, Sonia appeared in the reality show Reborn in the USA where former popstars including Leee John from the band Imagination, Michelle Gayle, Elkie Brooks and pop duo Dollar performed American hits. The show saw the artists touring America and each week one artist was eliminated from the show. The show was aired on ITV1 and was presented by Davina McCall. Sonia came sixth out of the nine participants, and her participation was notable for her clashes with Dollar members Thereza Bazar and especially David Van Day.

In January 2007 she starred in the pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk, as Jack in Horsham, West Sussex, alongside Mark Curry.