Chicane is a pseudonym used by UK-based electronic musician, DJ and record producer Nick Bracegirdle. He was born on 12 November 1979, in London.
Chicane is known for the singles "Offshore", an Ibiza anthem included in thousands of compilations in both chill-out and dance form, "Saltwater", which featured vocals by Clannad member Máire Brennan and is ranked among the best-ever trance-singles, "Autumn Tactics" and especially the #1 smash hit "Don't Give Up", which features vocals by Bryan Adams. His other hits include the fast-paced "Halcyon", and the dance melody "Love on the Run" featuring the vocals of Peter Cunnah of D:Ream fame.
In addition, Bracegirdle works alone under the alias Disco Citizens, whose tracks have a stronger progressive house sound, without any vocals, and so this project doesn't get the same airplay as the more radio-friendly Chicane. Working with singer Vanessa St. James and producer Mr. Joshua, Bracegirdle was part of the Mr. Joshua Presents Espiritu project, known for the song "In Praise of the Sun", released with both English and French vocals.
Bracegirdle's body of work for other artists includes working as a producer for Bryan Adams and Cher on her album Living Proof. He has also done a number of remixes for artists such as Everything But The Girl, Billie Ray Martin, Bryan Adams and Enigma. In addition, he composed the music for PlayStation's game Formula One.
While having trained in classical guitar and piano at an early age, Bracegirdle's earliest influences in electronic music came from early melodic composers such as Jean-Michel Jarre and Vangelis, and synthpop pioneer Vince Clarke. A further influence was the dance hit "Anthem" by the house music group N-Joi; all this convinced him to pursue the creation of melodic dance music, and by the age of 12 he was making music in studios and sending out demos to record labels.
A partnership with Leo Elstob produced the first Disco Citizens single, "Right Here Right Now", in 1995, as well as the first Chicane single, "Offshore", in 1996, the first of Chicane's many releases on independent UK dance music record label Xtravaganza Recordings, then-newly founded by DJ and Bracegirdle's college friend Alex Gold. "Offshore" reached #12 on the UK Singles Chart (and #1 on other UK-based charts compiled by Mixmag, Record Mirror, and others), the top 40 in multiple European countries, and #5 on the US Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play charts in 1997 upon re-release. Its inclusion on numerous Ibiza-themed trance music compilation albums (such as Café del Mar) attest to its popularity in the nightclubs on the island, one of the worldwide epicenters of club music.
"Sunstroke", the follow-up single, attained similar levels of popularity and chart numbers. A third single, "Offshore '97" (a separate item from the re-release of "Offshore") was actually a mash-up of "Offshore" with the vocal track from the Power Circle song "A Little Love, a Little Life", mixed by producer and DJ Anthony Pappa. Originally a bootleg, it was turned into an official release, credited to "Chicane with Power Circle".
Following these releases, the first Chicane album, Far from the Maddening Crowds, which included multiple versions of the previously-released singles and new songs, was released in September 1997. This was followed by the additional singles "Lost You Somewhere", the Benelux release "Red Skies", and the non-album single "Strong in Love", for which Bracegirdle used vocals by British singer Sylvia Mason-James (after discovering that she was the vocalist on the Paul Oakenfold/Steve Osborne remix of "Lemon" by U2) and first collaborated on production with Ray "Madman" Hedges" (producer for B*Witched and Boyzone).
1999 saw the release of "Saltwater", a song based on Maire Brennan's vocals from "Theme from Harry's Game" by the Celtic band Clannad. The version of the vocals used in "Saltwater", however, was a new recording by Brennan herself. It surpassed all previous Chicane singles thus far, reaching #6 on the UK charts and #1 on all five major UK dance charts.
Following remix work on Bryan Adams's "Cloud Number Nine", Bracegirdle offered Adams the vocal position on the song "Don't Give Up". The vocals Adams recorded were subsequently heavily processed through a vocoder so as to play down his rock music vocal style; in fact, the vocal credit was initially not publicized, including when the single was played on Pete Tong's radio show. (Tong subsequently proclaimed it the first "essential" song of the new millennium.) It was also Chicane's biggest hit, debuting at #1 on the UK charts (and notably replacing "American Pie", Madonna's #1 single of the previous week), reached #3 on the US dance chart and #1 on Australian and Russian charts, and made other charts across Europe as well.
The subsequent album Behind the Sun was a certified gold album by BPI certification, while "Don't Give Up" was certified silver.
The next Chicane album, Easy to Assemble, was originally scheduled for 2003; promotional copies of the album were released on WEA, alongside the single "Love on the Run", followed by a single of "Locking Down". However, the album was not actually released afterwards in most major countries.
In 2005 Burning Vision Entertainment created the video for "Something Wrong", in which the action was all shown in reverse to striking effect.
April 2006 sees the release of Chicane's new single "Stoned in Love" on Globe Records through Universal Music Group, featuring singer Tom Jones on vocals. (Press Release). At the time of the announcement the song was also played twice by Pete Tong.
Bracegirdle describes Chicane's music as being strongly influenced by the relaxed, summer atmosphere of Ibiza, where he was taken on holidays as a child.
The first two Chicane albums are known for atmospheric, ambient melodies and shifting moods and tempos, particularly Far from the Maddening Crowds, which is billed as "a soundtrack for an average day". Later releases have taken on a more house music-influenced sound, though with songs focused around vocal performances in the tradition of pop music.
Far from the Maddening Crowds and Behind the Sun were both primarily recorded at Chicane's personal recording studio, Modena One (sharing the name of his own record label), located at his parents' house. Co-producers who worked on these albums are Leo Elstob, Salt Tank, Ray "Madman" Hedges, and Martin Brannigan. However, Bracegirdle has stated that he works alone when in his own studio.
Chicane often performs live concerts as a full-fledged band, with a full suite of musicians, including vocalists, guitarists, drummers, and flutists, as well as Bracegirdle on keyboards. Justine Suissa, who provided vocals on "Autumn Tactics" from Behind the Sun, toured with the band in 2000. UK trance producer Tom Jankiewicz (Tomski) was a frequent musical collaborator with Chicane from 1995 to 2003, and he also played keyboards in the band during that period. Drummers in the band, notably, include Shovell from M People and David Barbarossa from Bow Wow Wow.
Though the band's singers usually substitute for the higher-profile original vocalists, there have been exceptions; both Maire Brennan and Bryan Adams performed live with the band in Ibiza in 2000. The latter took place at a heavily-promoted concert hosted by Xtravaganza on August 4 at Privilege Ibiza; it was attended by over 7000, including Bono and Noel Gallagher.
Chicane has also played at major European music festivals, such as the Glastonbury Festival and Creamfields in England and the Roskilde Festival in Denmark, as well as Red Square in Moscow.
Chicane is known to perform remixes (specifically, the "Tomski vs. Disco Citizens" remixes) live, as shown by a track listing from Chicane's January 22, 2000 performance at the Palladium in Cologne, Germany. This is unusual in that remixes, as products of audio editing, and not generally considered instrumental performances in their own right. At least some aspects of this are credited to Tomski himself, on stage.
Bracegirdle also made a guest appearance live with Bryan Adams at the 2000 Slane Concert, as seen on Adams' Live at Slane Castle DVD.
1997 Far from the Maddening Crowds
1999 Chilled (an EP featuring remixes of previously released songs)
2000 Behind the Sun #10 UK
2003 Easy to Assemble (promotional CD by official label WEA, officially released in a few countries by Wagram Records)
1995 "Right Here, Right Now" (as Disco Citizens)
1996 "Offshore EP"
1996 "Offshore" #14 UK
1996 "Footprint" (as Disco Citizens)
1997 "Sunstroke" #21 UK
1997 "Footprint '97" (as Disco Citizens)
1997 "Offshore '97" (with Anthony Pappa) #17 UK
1997 "Lost You Somewhere" #35 UK
1998 "Red Skies"
1998 "Strong In Love" (with Mason) #32 UK
1998 "Nagasaki Badger" (as Disco Citizens)
1999 "Saltwater" (with Máire Brennan) #6 UK
2000 "Don't Give Up" (with Bryan Adams) #1 UK
2000 "No Ordinary Morning"/"Halcyon" (with Tracy Ackerman) #28 UK
2000 "Autumn Tactics" (with Justine Suissa) with #44 UK
2003 "Saltwater 2003" (with Máire Brennan) #43 UK
2003 "Love On The Run" (with Peter Cunnah) #33 UK
2003 "Locking Down"
2004 "Don't Give Up 2004" (with Bryan Adams) #43 UK
2006 "Stoned In Love" (with Tom Jones)
1996 Everything But The Girl – "Before Today" (Chicane Remix)
1997 BT – "Flaming June" (Chicane Remix)
1998 José Padilla – "Who Do You Love" (Chicane Edit)
1999 B*Witched – "Blame it on the Weatherman" (Chicane Vocal Edit)
1999 Bryan Adams – "Cloud Number Nine" (Chicane Mix)
1999 Billie Ray Martin – "Honey" (various remixes)