Born Colleen Fitzpatrick on July 20, 1969, in Old Bridge, NJ; daughter of Gerard (a communications executive) and Vita (a legal secretary). Education: Bachelor of arts degree, New York University, 1991. Addresses: Record company--Elektra Entertainment, 75 Rockefeller Plaza, 15th Floor, 10019. Website--Vitamin C at Elektra Records: http://www.vitamincisgood4u.com.
Vitamin C is a pop singer whose colorful image, talent for reinvention and several chart-toppers has earned her a place among the abundance of teen pop divas in the year 2001. Her catchy vocals and dynamic presence have linked her musically with the likes of young starlets Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. However, her career, which included a stint as the vocalist for alternative pop-punk band Eve's Plum and several acting roles in major motion pictures has been likened to that of Madonna's. Both women have been acknowledged for their firm multi-media presence. Ironically, the vocalist whose hit single "Graduation (Friends Forever)," made her a favorite among teen music fans, was hardly a teenager when her breakthrough occurred. The singer holds an approximate ten-year age jump over her musical contemporaries as well as the majority of her audience.
Vitamin C was born Colleen Fitzpatrick on July 20, 1969, in Old Bridge, New Jersey, the youngest of three children. While the vocalist denies coming from a creative family, it may have been obvious from an early age she was destined for a career in the arts. As Vitamin C explained to Interview's Vivian Golden, "From the time I was a little girl I was just one of those kids that would grab the typewriter and try to write a play or a novel." As a preteen, Fitzpatrick, diagnosed with a foot problem, began dancing as a form of physical therapy. Much to the dismay of her parents, by the age of 13 she was already securing professional jobs in the field. The talented youngster proceeded to sign with an agent and subsequently performed in several music videos and commercials.
During high school, Fitzpatrick had a fortunate break when she landed a part in eccentric director John Water's 1988 film Hairspray. Despite having a substantial role playing the part of Amber Von Tussle, archenemy to (now talk-show host) star Ricki Lake's character Tracey Turnblad, she continued with her education at New York University (NYU). Initially it may have seemed the ambitious teenager had her feet firmly planted in the possibility of a dance or acting career. However, Fitzpatrick expressed that she had always been interested in music. "I used to take a tennis racquet and pretend that I was playing guitar," she explained to Interview magazine. "I saw music as a vehicle to get out all the stuff I couldn't say." While she was inspired early on by mega-groups The Beach Boys and The Beatles and later by grunge rockers such as The Breeders, it wasn't until the early nineties that she chose to utilize music as her main form of self-expression. Fitzpatrick proceeded to implement herself in the New York City club scene and began performing with the New Wave band, Pure Liquid.
In 1991, several months prior to graduating from NYU, Fitzpatrick answered an ad in New York paper The Village Voice which sought a vocalist. She was surprised to find the advertisement had actually been placed by Michael Kotch, one of her college classmates. Impressed by her ability, Kotch along with his twin brother, Ben (drums), asked Fitzpatrick to join their group. With the addition of bassist Theo Mack, the four aspiring musicians conjointly evolved into pop punk outfit, Eve's Plum. The group was named for the actress who played often-troubled middle child Jan Brady on the family sitcom The Brady Bunch. After establishing a grassroots following, Eve's Plum soon found themselves in the midst of a record label bidding war, culminating with the group signed to Sony Music in 1992. The band subsequently put forth their debut Envy in 1993 and a second album, Cherry Alive, two years later. Both were received to moderate success. Unfortunately, the band failed to make the impact in which the record label expected. In 1996, the group was dropped by Sony Music. Fitzpatrick, frustrated with her bandmates' unwillingness to experiment with a new sound amicably parted ways with the group, thereafter traveling to Los Angeles in order to contemplate her next move.
In the midst of a bad depression, Fitzpatrick wrote the song "Smile." It invariably lightened her spirits and pointed her interests in a more positive direction. She returned to New York with the intentions to reinvent herself. The result: the once-edgy vocalist emerged as pop star Vitamin C, a move criticized by many as selling out. However, Fitzpatrick proudly defends her position. "People need to see the sense of humor in it," she explained to Gear magazine, "With Vitamin C, I wanted to do 'no rules' pop. Everything is all about branding now, everything has to come back to this one image and I've never seen myself as that. When I was growing up artists challenged you, they were more creative." Fitzpatrick landed a development deal with Elektra Records in 1998 and for the next year worked with a series of collaborators and producers to develop her 1999 self-titled debut. Vitamin C's syrupy high-school anthem "Graduation (Friends Forever)" which Entertainment Weekly described as "destined to become as much a June perennial as Alice Cooper's 'School's Out,'" helped turn the album platinum and in turn parlayed Vitamin C into a pop icon.
Despite being in her late twenties at the time, Vitamin C was grouped into a set of teen heroes including Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Mandy Moore. This could be attributed to the saccharine hooks of her first effort, but most notably to her popular image. The attractive blonde singer maintains a dramatic visual appeal, frequently sporting stylish clothes and a bright, multi-colored head of hair. Her trendsetting look has proven to be widely admired by fans and the fashion conscious alike. According to Cosmopolitan magazine, "In an era of cookie-cutter music video presences, her catchy tunes and ever-changing Day-Glo locks have made her refreshingly one of a kind." In August of 2000, the Mattel toy company issued a Vitamin C doll, complete with interchangeable hair extensions, a microphone and platform shoes. Additionally, Tommy Hilfiger, a popular clothing designer, named an exclusive shade of lipstick "Vitamin C" in the colorful singer's honor.
At the end of 2000, Vitamin C released her sophomore effort More. Due to the success of her first album, on More the prolific singer had the assistance of many notable collaborators, including Billy Steinberg (a co-writer on Madonna's "Like a Virgin"), Billy Mann (who had worked with Jennifer Lopez) and Andy Marvel (who had worked with Celine Dion and the Cover Girls.) The record was a catchy, slightly more mature offering. While it comfortably maintained Vitamin C's pop appeal, it definitely held a more adult edge than its predecessor. This is evidenced particularly by two notable tracks on the album: "Sex Has Come Between Us" and the indiscreetly flirtatious "The Itch." A&R guru Josh Deutsch, who worked with Vitamin C on her debut, explained in a 2000 press release, "I think this record is more charged all the way around. Lyrically it's more challenging and I think it's musically more dangerous--a little more risk taking going on. Vitamin C has an incredible ability to go in different directions and still be true to herself."
Refusing to stick with one medium, shortly after releasing her second album, the pop songstress made several appearances on the silver screen. She played the part of the infamous Lucy, a good girl gone bad, in famed horror director Wes Craven's Dracula 2000 and also had a role in Get Over It, a movie starring popular teen actress Kirsten Dunst. In 2001, Vitamin C continued to be a successful, multi-dimensional artist, one whose talent for reinvention enables her to successfully transform from icon to actress to musician without missing a beat.
by Nicole Elyse
Vitamin C's Career
Began dancing as a child and by age 13 was securing professional jobs in the field; prior to career in music, landed several small acting rolls; played Amber Von Tussle in Hairspray, 1988; appeared in Naked Gun 2 1/2,1991;appeared in The Mambo Kings, 1992; formed pop-punk band, Eve's Plum, 1991; group signed to Sony Music, 1992; released Envy, 1993; released Cherry Alive, 1995; left Eve's Plum, 1996; signed development deal with Elektra Records and began working under the name Vitamin C, 1998; released Vitamin C, 1999; had top ten single "Graduation (Friends Forever)," 1999; released More, 2000; played Lucy in Dracula 2000, 2000.
- Selected discography
- "Smile" (CD5/cassette single), Elektra/Asylum, 1999.
- "Smile" (vinyl single), Elektra/Asylum, 1999.
- "Me Myself and I" (CD5/cassette single), Elektra/Asylum, 1999.
- "Itch" (CD5/cassette single), 2000.
- "Graduation/Itch" (CD5/single), Warner/Elektra/Atlantic, 2001.
- Vitamin C , Elektra/Asylum, 1999.
- More , Elektra/Asylum, 2000.
- Cosmopolitan, February 2001.
- Entertainment Weekly, June 30, 2000; January 26, 2001.
- Gear, April 2001.
- Interview, December 2000.
- People, January 29, 2001.
- Rolling Stone, February 1, 2001.
- Teen People, December 2000/January 2001.
- US Weekly, March 26, 2001.
- Hip Online, http://www.hiponline.com (April 14, 2001).
- Imusic, http://www.imusic.artistdirect.com (April 17, 2001).
- Vitamin C, http://www.vitamincfan.com (April 14, 2001).
- Throttlebox, http://www.throttlebox.com (April 16, 2001).
- Ultimate Band List, http://www.ubl.com (April 14, 2001).
- Additional information was provided by Elektra Entertainment publicity materials, 2000.