French provided backing vocals on Rose-Marie's 1992 album, Emotional Exposure
. Generally, French had been a session singer for many years before she covered "Total Eclipse of the Heart", a song originally made famous by Bonnie Tyler. French's single was first released in 1994 in the United Kingdom. When it was re-released in 1995 the song reached number 5 during a three-month chart run in the UK Singles Chart, selling over 250,000 (UK) copies in the process and earning a silver sales award.This was followed by even more successful chart run in the United States, where the track reached #2, spending 6 months on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and gained Gold certification from the RIAA. The single also reached number 1 in a number of countries — Japan, Canada, Spain and Brazil — as well as charting in Australia, Germany, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway. French sold in excess of 5 million copies.Her second single "For All We Know", a cover version of The Carpenters' song, only reached #42 in the UK Singles Chart, hindered by poor distribution and a barcode error. The track was due to be released in the U.S. but due to a dispute between record companies only made it as far as a promo release in America. Her debut album, Secrets
, charted in Japan, Brazil, Israel, Canada, Australia and the U.S. (selling 50.000 copies during its first week on sale). Further singles from the album included "Is There Anybody Out There?", "Did You Ever Really Love Me?" (the latter of which briefly charted in the UK but did not reach the Top 40) and "Never In a Million Years" (which was released in Denmark and Sweden only). "Did You Ever Really Love Me?" was also released Stateside.Various other songs were added to formats around the world, including renditions of "Heaven Is a Place on Earth" and "Stop! In the Name of Love". French was her record label's biggest artist but due to them achieving limited success with their other acts they went into liquidation. French was then signed by Logic Records UK (part of the Sony/BMG group), during which time she released "Te Amo" in various countries. In Brazil it reached number 4 becoming French's fifth consecutive Top 10 in the airplay charts. It was stocked by HMV in the UK in the summer of 1997 but failed to reach the UK Singles Chart. Another single from this album was due for release, "Hard To Say I'm Sorry", but it only ever made it to demo. In 1998 she released her second album and had success in Japan and Taiwan but was eventually dropped by her record label after management reconstructing.In 2000 she entered the Eurovision Song Contest with "Don't Play That Song Again", the song being selected by members of the British public. She was then signed up by RCA and the track reached number 34 in the UK chart. French finished in 16th place, at the time the lowest placing for any UK act. She insists even now that she still looks back on this time with fond memories and would love to enter the contest again.French signed to Jim Steinman's Ravenous Records label for a short period in 2000, during which time she recorded "Lovers Again" and "Two out of Three Ain't Bad" both of which were never released. She later went on to record three tracks with the writer of her Eurovision hit, John Springate. These were dance and reggae covers of previous Eurovision entries, they were pulled from release but French still occasionally performs her versions at Eurovision events.In 2003, French was one of nine contestants on a special Eurovision edition of BBC Television's The Weakest Link
. Joining Sonia, Lyn Paul, James Fox, Katie Boyle, Bobby Gee, Jessica Garlick, Katrina Leskanich and Jemini on the show hosted by Anne Robinson, French won the event and was declared 'The Strongest Link'. In fact, French had been a last minute substitute for original guest, Gina G, who had to drop out of the show when she went into labour.French continues to tour the UK and Europe, performing her hits as well as new material. She released two singles, "I Surrender" in 2004 and "Calling Out My Name" in 2005. "I Surrender" charted on the EuroNRG Top 40 chart in February 2005. However, her later release, billed as 'Diva DJs Vs Nicki French', "Total Eclipse of the Heart 2006" did not appear in the UK Singles Chart.French has retained her large gay following and has headlined some of the biggest Pride shows in recent years including EuroPride, Stockholm Pride and the world's biggest Pride event Australia's Mardi Gras.During 2007 and 2008 French was an understudy for all four roles in Menopause: The Musical
in Ireland and gained the part of 'The Queen' in the Sleep Beauty
pantomime at the Chipping Norton Theatre in November and December 2008, and January 2009. The pantomime gained good reviews, making it into the top 10 pantomimes in the UK in The Daily Telegraph
newspaper.In 2009 French appeared as the Fairy Godmother in the pantomime Cinderella in Runcorn alongside Leah Bracknell, Aiden J Harvey, Sid Little & Hayley Clarke. The same year a special edition of French's second album became available, French Revolution!
The CD contained seventeen tracks and included all three of her most recent singles along with a previously unreleased version of "Total Eclipse of the Heart". The same year she released "No Smoke". which did not enter the UK charts.Throughout 2010 and 2011 French played in Annie - The Musical
and in 2011 Energise Records re-released most of her back-catalogue with new remixes as bonus tracks. In 2012 she played in the comedy "Dirty Dating.com" and continues to perform live both in the UK and abroad.
French was born in Carlisle to Joseph and Eileen. She has two sisters, Allison and Carolyn, and a brother, Timothy, who is song-writer. The French family moved when Nicki was four and settled in Tenterden, Kent. She attended Homewood School and West Kent College in Tonbridge. French married Gavin Mallett, a professional musician, in July 1993 at St. Mildred's Church, Tenterden. The couple lived in Middlesex. The couple are now divorced.