Like many reality TV pop stars before her, feisty singer/songwriter Sinéad Quinn couldn't quite translate her quick-fix exposure into long-term chart success. Born in County Fermanagh in 1980, Quinn began singing at the age of five and won several talent competitions after learning how to play the guitar. After moving to Derry to study at music college, she then left Northern Ireland to study for a music degree at the University of Hull. In 2002, she auditioned for Fame Academy, the BBC's answer to Pop Idol, and though she didn't make the first 11, she earned a place in the show after winning a phone vote to find the final contestant. Performing songs from acts as diverse as Macy Gray, No Doubt, and Garth Brooks, Quinn soon built up a loyal following, and thanks to her songwriting ability made it through to the final. Losing out to winner David Sneddon, she still polled two and a half million votes and pushed future Brit Award winner Lemar into third place.
After the final, she signed a £1,000,000 five-album record deal with Mercury Records. Debut single "I Can't Break Down," a track she performed on the show, was only kept off the top spot by t.A.T.u. After several high-profile appearances, including singing her country's national anthem in front of 60,000 Rugby fans at Murrayfield, she released second single "What You Need Is" -- but it failed to repeat the success of her debut, charting at number 19, and after its parent album, Ready to Run, missed the Top 40, she was dropped by her label. Since then, Quinn has played several intimate acoustic gigs, supported Lulu, and toured with the Service Sound and Vision Corporation (SSVC), performing for the British Armed Forces. In 2007, she played Beth in the live tour of Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds and announced her engagement to the Feeling drummer Paul Stewart. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi