Suze DeMarchi

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The former lead singer for Australia-based cover bands Photoplay and the Kind in the early '80s, and Baby Animals in the 1990s, Suze DeMarchi has yet to match her previous success as a soloist. Although…
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The former lead singer for Australia-based cover bands Photoplay and the Kind in the early '80s, and Baby Animals in the 1990s, Suze DeMarchi has yet to match her previous success as a soloist. Although she and Baby Animals received an ARIA Award (Australia's equivalent of the Grammy Awards) as Best New Artist in 1991, and scored ARIA Awards for Best Debut Album, Best Single, and Best Album the following year, her solo career has been marked by lawsuits and long periods of inactivity.

The fourth of four children born in Perth, Australia, DeMarchi was inspired by the hard-driving rock of Free and Led Zeppelin to leave home at the age of 17 to pursue a music career. After performing with Photoplay and the Kind, which featured her sister, Denise, she took a hiatus from music in 1983. Teaming with Kevin Peek and Trevor Spencer, she helped to write and record an album in 1984.

Moving to London in 1985, DeMarchi signed with EMI and released an impressive debut solo album that yielded three singles: "Young Hearts," "Big Wednesday," and "Dry Your Eyes." Her wishes to move away from dance music and toward rock were resisted by the record label. Frustrated by her experience with EMI, DeMarchi returned to Australia in 1989. After performing briefly with Dee & the Rockmen, she and the band's drummer, Frank Celenza, joined with bassist Eddie Parise and guitarist Dave Leslie to form Baby Animals in October 1989. Touring throughout Australia, the group built a solid following with their high-energy club, theater, and arena performances. Signed by the newly formed American label Imago, she and the band released their self-titled debut album in 1991.

A turning point in DeMarchi's career and personal life came when she began a telephone relationship with guitarist/producer Nuno Bettencourt of Boston-based band Extreme. Although she initially turned down Bettencourt's marriage proposal when they met at Wembley Stadium in December 1992, they were married in August 1994 in Azores, Portugal. She has since continued to split her time between her homes in Boston and Australia.

DeMarchi's problems were far from over, however. A 1993 tour, cut short when she required throat surgery, was followed by a series of lawsuits resulting from Imago filing bankruptcy. Although she appeared on her husband's solo album, Colorblind, in 1995, and recorded one tune, "God Took a Picture," for the soundtrack of the film Highlander III: The Final Dimension, she maintained a low profile until the resolution of the lawsuits in 1997.

Freed from her legal struggles, DeMarchi signed with the Australia-based Mushroom label. A single, "Satellite," released in October 1998, was followed by a full-length album, Telelove, in March 1999.