1As one of the founding members of Faithless, Sister Bliss has become one of Britain’s most popular figures in the Electronica scene. With her proclaimed DJ sets and 15-year career as the musical drive behind Faithless, what many might not realise is her history as a musician and DJ before that point.
Sister Bliss started learning the piano at the age of five, moving on to violin, saxophone, flute and eventually the bass. A love affair with house music began in 1987, leading her to become one of the few female house DJs in Britain at the time. With appearances at the most popular clubs worldwide, she began to make her own records and had already released a number of her own compositions by the time she met fellow producer, Rollo. The two began to write and record together while she continued her solo career, and their collaborations eventually culminated in a new studio project – Faithless. Their frustrations with the perceived disposability of dance music led them to create a new sonic landscape mixing dance, hip-hop, blues, folk and classical music – a dramatic bed for the thoughtful lyrics of Buddhist rapper Maxi Jazz.
Faithless’ first eclectic album Reverence (released in 1996), was an underground sensation as the single ‘Insomnia’ started to climb steadily up the charts in Europe. The re-release of ‘Insomnia’ a year later changed all of that. It became one of the biggest club anthems of the decade and the album climbed to Gold Status in at least 22 countries.
The Mercury-nominated album Sunday 8pm followed, reflecting upon themes of alienation and lost love, and featured one of their favourite singers, Boy George. It also spawned the provocative hit ‘God is a DJ’. Sister Bliss continued DJing and releasing solo singles ‘Sister Sister’ and ‘Deliver Me’. In 2001 Faithless returned to the studio releasing the platinum selling album Outrospective. Their next album, the more politicised No Roots featured the incendiary anti-war single ‘Mass Destruction’ and went straight in at Number 1.
After four albums and ten years, Faithless decided to celebrate with the release of Forever Faithless – their Greatest hits collection which went to number 1 and has sold over 1.5 million copies in the UK alone.
While Faithless took a well earned break from touring, Sister Bliss wrote the music accompanying the three series TV drama Life Begins, featuring Bafta winner Caroline Quentin. She was also commissioned to compose an original work for the London Sinfonietta which was performed at the Fuse Festival, UK. Faithless’ fifth studio album To All New Arrivals followed in 2006, heralding the birth of her son, and featuring collaborations with Grammy award winner Cat Power, Dido and Robert Smith of The Cure.
Sister Bliss’ first work for theatre was Thea Sharrock’s highly successful production of The Emperor Jones at the National Theatre in 2007. In 2009 she was again invited to compose for the NT for Jatinder Verma’s production of The Black Album. She also wrote the title music for acclaimed British film, The Hide.
Whilst continuing her successful residencies at Ministry of Sound (London) and Pacha (Ibiza) and inspired by her global DJing schedule, Faithless released their most recent album The Dance in 2010 featuring artists, Dougy Mandagi (Temper Trap), Mia Maestro, and Blancmange – returning to their roots in club culture and dance music. After a summer full of acclaimed festivals sets including Glastonbury’s 40th anniversary, and a global tour ending in April 2011, their final show was broadcast live to thousands of fans in cinemas across Europe. To date, Faithless have sold in excess of 15 million records globally and have played live to millions across the world.
This year, Sister Bliss has been touring with Faithless Sound System, a stripped-down version of the full act, whilst continuing her successful DJ residencies and playing across the international club and festival circuit. Together with Rollo Armstrong, she has just collaborated with Example on his number-one album Playing In The Shadows. She has just finished writing the score for the film Knife Fight starring Rob Lowe, and directed by 2 times Oscar winner, Bill Guttentag.