Signed to Simon Fuller's 19 Management, Amy Studt was hailed as the U.K.'s answer to Avril Lavigne, despite the fact she had first appeared on the pop scene a full six months earlier. Born in Bournemouth in March 1986, Studt grew up in a musical family, with her father a violinist and conductor who had toured with Roy Orbison, and her mother the head of music at a local school. Studt taught herself piano, guitar, and oboe, among other musical instruments, and started to write songs as early as the age of six. At 12 years old she contracted the rare bone disease osteomyelitis in her hip, leaving her bedridden. Studt used this time to hone her craft, and two years later, with the advice of her dad, she recorded her first demo. One of her demos managed to find its way to Spice Girls Svengali Simon Fuller, and by the age of 17 she had signed a deal with Polydor Records. In 2002, she released her debut single, "Just a Little Girl," which became a minor airplay hit in the U.S., but it was a full year before she released the follow-up, "Misfit," which reached the Top Ten in the U.K.
False Smiles, featuring songs co-written by the likes of Gary Barlow, Cathy Dennis, and Rob Davis, followed and shifted nearly 200,000 copies in the U.K. alone. In January 2004, False Smiles was reissued with a cover of Sheryl Crow's "All I Wanna Do," but this failed to reignite interest in the album and she was dropped months later. Despite contemplating quitting the industry to work in a coffee shop in Cornwall, Studt returned to the musical fray in 2007. Supporting Razorlight on their U.K. tour, she performed under the alias Jane Wails, in an attempt to avoid the limelight and combat stage fright. She also began working on her sophomore effort, My Paper Made Men, with Madonna collaborator Guy Sigsworth, which was later released under her own name as a download-only album in April 2008.