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Tula Paulinea Contostavlos[2] (Greek: Τούλα Παυλίνα Κοντόσταυλος; born 13 July 1988),[1] known professionally as Tulisa, is an English singer, songwriter and television personality. Tulisa rose to fame as a part of the hip hop group N-Dubz with her cousin Dappy and friend Fazer, which became successful in the 2000s and early 2010s. As part of the group she has gained two platinum-certified albums, two gold-certified albums, five MOBO awards, four headlining tours, a Brit Award nomination, thirteen top 40 singles, six silver-certified singles and three Urban Music Awards.

Tulisa Contostavlos 2014.jpg
Tulisa attending court in July 2014
Tula Paulinea Contostavlos

(1988-07-13) 13 July 1988 (age 31)[1]
ResidenceFriern Barnet, London, England
  • Singer
  • Songwriter
  • Rapper
  • Dancer
  • Actress
  • Television Personality
  • Author
  • Model
RelativesDappy (cousin)
Musical career
Years active1999–present
Associated actsN-Dubz

In 2011 and 2012, Tulisa was a judge on The X Factor UK, she led the "Groups" category in 2011, her winning act being Little Mix, who went on to become the most successful girl group in the X Factor's history. In 2012, Tulisa's success continued with the release of her debut single "Young", which debuted and peaked at number one on the UK Singles Chart. "Live It Up" and "Sight of You" were also hits reaching the top twenty in the UK. In November 2012 she released her debut album The Female Boss, which peaked at number 35 on the UK Albums Chart. As an actress, Tulisa has starred in the British horror film Demons Never Die and the comedy film Big Fat Gypsy Gangster in 2011.

Early lifeEdit

Tulisa was born on 13 July 1988[1] in Camden Town, London. Her mother, Anne Byrne, was born in Churchtown, Dublin, and moved with her family to Sheffield, South Yorkshire, and then to London when she was a teenager. Anne and her three sisters went on to form the 1980s band Jeep.[3] Tulisa's father, Plato Contostavlos, is Greek Cypriot and at one time was keyboardist with Mungo Jerry.[4] Plato's brother, Byron Contostavlos, was bassist with Mungo Jerry and later became manager of N-Dubz.[5]

When Tulisa was five, her mother, who has bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder, was sectioned under the Mental Health Act.[6] At age 14, with support from her uncle, Byron Contostavlos, she enrolled at Quintin Kynaston School[6] in St John's Wood but later attended Haverstock Secondary School where she did not sit her GCSE examinations.[6]


2000–2011: The N-Dubz eraEdit

Dappy and Fazer, who had already started rapping together, decided they wanted a female voice in the group, which was called the Lickle Rinsers Crew at the time, and so invited Tulisa to be part of the group. They started performing together as a group around Camden from young ages. For N-Dubz's second album, Tulisa performed a solo song called "Comfortable". Performing as the Lickle Rinsers Crew, they released the singles "Bad Man Riddim" and "Life Is Getting Sicker by the Day", which became hits on pirate radio stations.[7] After Lickle Rinsers Crew, they then became NW1, after the area they hail from, making their first music video in 2005 for the track "Everyday Of My Life", which received airplay on Channel U, recording more demos as NW1 such as "Don't Feel Like Moving", "Girl On Road" and "Livin Broke". Their first single to be released was "You Better Not Waste My Time", which was available for download only until their 2006 self-released single, "I Swear", which gained them their first mainstream notice. It wasn't until 2007's "Feva Las Vegas" (also self-released) that the group appeared on the UK charts, peaking at No. 57.[8]

Tulisa performing with N-Dubz in 2010

In May 2008, a song entitled "Ouch" surfaced along with a music video.[9] The video for "Ouch" attracted over 4 million viewers on networking site YouTube in just over a month after release.[citation needed] On 6 August 2008, it was announced that the group had left Polydor Records and had signed to All Around the World records. The label predominantly specializes in dance music; however, they have occasionally released hip hop records such as Ice Cube's You Can Do It. The press release stated that the label would be releasing "Ouch" as the group's first single on the label in September 2008.[10] The group's first album, Uncle B, was released on 17 November 2008. The album includes "You Better Not Waste My Time", "I Swear", "Feva Las Vegas", "Love for My Slums", "Ouch", "Defeat You" and "Papa Can You Hear Me?".[11] "Strong Again" was touted as the third single to be released from the Uncle B album on 16 February 2009 and a music video was made,[12] before the physical CD released of the song was cancelled for unknown reasons. The song charted for five weeks in the UK Singles Chart, peaking highest at number 24.[13]

Group member Dappy was featured in Tinchy Stryder's 2009 No. 1 single tentatively titled "Number 1", the video also featured cameo appearances from all N-Dubz's members.[14] Due to the success of their debut album, the group embarked on their first headlining tour, Uncle B tour. The tour was originally planned for 16 dates but due to high demand, five extra dates were added. The tour was supported by Stevie Hoang and Tinchy Stryder with whom N-Dubz collaborated with on his No. 1 single "Number 1". During one performance, Tulisa fainted on stage. Multiple news sources reported that it was due to suspected swine flu.[15][16] The song "Wouldn't You" was then announced to be the seventh, and last, single to be released from the Uncle B debut album.[17] The song was released digitally on 25 May 2009 and peaked at No. 64 in the UK.[18]

Tulisa during a concert with the band in Pilton, the United Kingdom during June 2010.

The lead single from the group's second album titled "I Need You" was released on 9 November 2009 and charted at No. 5 in the UK Singles Chart. The album Against All Odds, was released on 16 November 2009,[19] and charted at No. 6 in the UK Album Chart. The album went platinum within approximately 2 months of release. The second single, "Playing with Fire" features R&B/pop musician, Mr Hudson. The song reached No. 15 in the UK Charts on album downloads alone; however, when the single was released, it fell to No. 16, reaching a new peak at No. 14 the week after. The music video for the third single taken from the album, "Say It's Over", was released on 5 March 2010 on Channel AKA. The single reached No. 27 on album downloads alone before the single was released.[citation needed]

In 2010, N-Dubz toured their album, Against All Odds starting on 31 March and finishing on 20 April. It included 17 shows with supporting acts Skepta, Talay Riley and Ultra. On 1 April 2010, they released their first book, N-Dubz – Against All Odds: From Street Life to Chart Life, which they described as "the answer to the critics, there is a lot of bad press about N-Dubz at the moment and this is going to put the record straight about who we really are and what we're about!", saying they want to put "everything out there", and Fazer also adding "It's going to surprise you!".[20] The book also gives access to a secret N-Dubz website.

The group filmed a six part documentary, Being... N-Dubz, which premiered on 21 June 2010 on 4Music,[21] and was later renewed for a second series in 2011.[22] After much speculation, it was confirmed that US label Def Jam signed the group. The first release was the album Love.Live.Life, N-Dubz's third studio album. It was released in the UK on 29 November 2010. The group began recording the album following the success of Against All Odds.[23] "We Dance On" was released on 20 May 2010, as the album's lead single. It peaked at #5 on the UK Singles Chart. The song was also included on the soundtrack to the film Streetdance 3D. "Best Behaviour" was released on 17 October 2010 as the second single from the album. It peaked at 10 in both the UK and Scotland and became a top 40 hit in Ireland. The song also appears on Skepta's album Doin' It Again. Its music video premiered on Channel AKA and Clubland TV on 8 September and was uploaded on YouTube by AATW Records later that day.[24] "Girls" was released as the album's third single on 12 December 2010. It peaked at 19 on the UK Singles Chart.[25] A fourth track from the album, "So Alive" was released as single on 6 February 2011. Five singles were released from Love.Live.Life. The fifth and final single from the album was "Morning Star".[26] Love. Life. Live became N-Dubz' third platinum-selling album.[22]

In August 2011, it emerged that N-Dubz had parted ways with record label Def Jam, stating that they were "Never going to co-operate with them when they decided to change what we are".[27] With Tulisa taking up a role as a judge on eighth series of The X Factor and Dappy releasing his solo single "No Regrets", N-Dubz's gig on 18 September 2011 was described as "their final gig for the foreseeable future".[22]

2009–2012: Success on The X Factor and The Female BossEdit

In 2007 and 2009, Tulisa played the role of Laurissa (a cocaine addict who is in R&B group The Fam) in the TV series Dubplate Drama. She also played Shaniqua in the straight-to-DVD British comedy, Big Fat Gypsy Gangster,[28] and made her big screen debut in Arjun Rose slasher Demons Never Die.[29]

In 2010, Tulisa was on a BBC programme called Tulisa: My Mum And Me describing her life before N-Dubz looking after her mother.[30]

On 30 May 2011, Tulisa was confirmed to replace Cheryl Cole as a judge for the eighth series of The X Factor, alongside original panelist Louis Walsh, and new judges Gary Barlow replacing Simon Cowell and Kelly Rowland replacing Dannii Minogue.[31][32] The first public auditions began on 23 June 2011, with the new judging panel being sighted together for the first time.[33] Tulisa mentored the Groups category and mentored 2 Shoes, Nu Vibe, The Risk, and Little Mix during the live shows. After three out of four of her acts were eliminated in the first five weeks of the competition, Constostavlos was left with Little Mix. The group then went on to become the most successful girl band in The X Factor history, having avoided the final showdown every week and winning the show in the process, making them the first group to do so in the show's eight-year history.[34] Tulisa returned for the ninth series in 2012, alongside Walsh, Barlow and Nicole Scherzinger, who replaced Rowland and finished as the winning judge with James Arthur.[35] Tulisa mentored the "Girls", a category made up of female contestants aged 16–27, which included Jade Ellis, Lucy Spraggan and Ella Henderson.

Tulisa and Dappy in 2012

In 2012, Tulisa confirmed that she had started work on a solo album that would be released on 17 September 2012. On 19 April 2012, Tulisa told Capital FM "You're going to have a track for every mood. I want it to be like a journey so you'll have everything from if you want to party on a night out, to big ballads if you've broken up with a boyfriend to more UK urban music."[36] The first single to be released from the album was "Young". The promo video for "Young" was filmed on 2 March in Miami. On 29 April 2012, "Young" was released as part of a remixes EP, which charted at number five on the Irish Singles Chart and number 1 in the UK. 9 September 2012 saw the release of Tulisa' second solo single "Live It Up", which features guest vocals from American rapper Tyga.[37] The song debuted at number 11 in the UK.[38]

Released in November 2012 Britney Spears and's single "Scream & Shout" has been originally written for Tulisa who also co-wrote the song with Jean Baptiste and recorded it under the title "I Don't Give a Fuck". The track was intended for Tulisa' debut album The Female Boss (2012).[39] However, the producer of the track, Lazy Jay, did not want Tulisa to have the song and gave it to, who re-wrote the song with Spears in mind.[40] The song became a big hit peaking at number 1 in the UK and number 3 in the USA. Tulisa's third solo single "Sight of You" has been released on 2 December to mostly negative reviews and charted lower than expected at number 18.[41] Her debut album The Female Boss released in the UK on 3 December 2012 to negative reviews, charted poorly with low sales at number 35.[42] On 24 January 2013, Tulisa hinted that the album campaign had finished and that no further singles would be released in order to allow her to pursue an acting career.[43]

On 21 May 2013, Tulisa confirmed her departure from The X Factor and was replaced by original judge Sharon Osbourne for the tenth series of the show.[44]

2013–present: Return to television and new musicEdit

In March 2013, it was reported Tulisa had begun work on her second album, stating: "I'm going to make a few singles soon, and I want to take my sound back to basics."[45] On 1 August 2014, the singer posted a picture of herself in a recording studio on her official Twitter account.[46] A few weeks later she uploaded another photo of the music studio to her official Instagram with the caption: "Back to business".[47]

In July 2014, her documentary Tulisa: The Price of Fame premiered on BBC Three to a moderate success, attracting 615,000 viewers (3.8% of the audience within its time slot).[48] On 9 August 2014, it was confirmed that the singer would return to The X Factor for its eleventh series as Louis Walsh's guest judge during the judges' houses stage in Bermuda.[49] In October 2014, Tulisa announced her new single "Living Without You". Its release was initially planned for 7 December 2014,[50] however it was later postponed to 4 January 2015. The single peaked at number 44 on the UK Singles Chart. On 13 December 2014, Tulisa returned to The X Factor as a guest judge for the first night of the series 11 final alongside judges Louis Walsh, Simon Cowell and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini temporarily filling in for Mel B who was ill.[51]

On 2 September 2016, she released the single "Sweet Like Chocolate", which featured Akelle. She also confirmed that she signed with an agent in an attempt to begin a career as a film actress.[52]

On 5 April 2019, Tulisa released her first single "Daddy" in three years after re-signing to Xploded Records.

On Friday 19 July 2019, she released the second single via Xploded Records called 'Sippin'.

Her autobiography, written by Sean Smith entitled 'Tulisa', is currently available on the Music Magpie website for £1.59.[53]

Other venturesEdit

On 27 September 2012, Tulisa released her official autobiography entitled Honest: My Story So Far.

Personal lifeEdit

Despite being baptised in her father's Greek Orthodox faith, Tulisa is now a practising Roman Catholic.[54][55]

Legal issuesEdit

Sex tapeEdit

In March 2012, a six-minute sex tape of Tulisa and her former lover Justin Edwards emerged on the internet.[56] Tulisa was granted an injunction that legally blocks the distribution of the tape.[57][58]

Simon Cowell stated that the scandal would not affect her job on The X Factor. In the aftermath she later recorded a video response in which she clarified the relationship on her YouTube account,[59][60] and stated that she was both heartbroken and devastated by Edwards' release of the video.[56][61]

In July 2012, she settled a legal action against Edwards. It was later reported that her lawyer was still pursuing action against Edwards' former manager Chris Herbert, who had his job as a consultant on The X Factor suspended.[62]


On 4 June 2013, Tulisa was arrested by police on suspicion of supplying class A drugs[63] and bailed to a date in July 2013. Two residential properties had been searched as part of the investigation.[63] She was formally charged on 9 December with "being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs" and appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 19 December where she denied being involved with the supply of 13.9 grams of cocaine. She was granted unconditional bail and then appeared at Southwark Crown Court on 9 January 2014.[64] The trial date was set for 14 July 2014.[65] The case was dismissed as the judge believed prosecution witness Mazher Mahmood had lied to the court.[66] In April 2015, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, President of the Irish High Court, described her as having been "cruelly deceived in a shabby sting operation", but dismissed her attempt to sue the Irish Sun for defamation over the case as he was "astounded" by the delay in initiating legal proceedings.[67]

Following the collapse of her drug trial, The Guardian's Suzanne Moore discussed her reputation, and wrote that "Tulisa is famously a working class girl made good, though of course made good is never what she is allowed to be".[68] In Moore's opinion, "Tulisa has been branded by the media as a chav and therefore almost anything can be said about her".[68] Tulisa herself also thought that her inferior reputation led her to the situation, saying, "Part of it I think is a class thing. With me I think they thought it would stick, it's more believable."[69]

Since the collapse of the drugs trials against Tulisa, the singer has achieved a victory against Mazher Mahmood, also known as the "Fake Sheikh", who was himself put on trial for perverting the course of justice and tampering with evidence in Tulisa's drug trial. This led to Mahmood being found guilty and being sent to prison for fifteen months.[70][71] Tulisa has since stated that it is a "new beginning" for her since Mahmood's downfall.[72]



Year Title Role Notes
2007–09 Dubplate Drama Laurissa Series 2–3
2010 Tulisa: My Mum & Me Herself Presenter
2010–11 Being... N-Dubz Herself Documentary
2011 Before They Were Dubz Herself Documentary
Big Fat Gypsy Gangster Shaniqua
Demons Never Die Amber
201112 The X Factor (UK) Herself Judge
2014 Louis Walsh's Advisor
Guest judge and temporary replacement for ill Mel B
The Xtra Factor Herself The X Factor spin-off
2014 Tulisa: The Price of Fame Herself Documentary
2016 Hoff The Record Herself Cameo
2019-present (filming) Diva TBA Film


  1. ^ a b c "Tulisa". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "From 1940s' jazz to Donal Lunny: singer's musical Irish family had that 'X factor'". Irish Independent. 29 September 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
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  36. ^ Tulisa Contostavlos Promises "Variety" On Debut Solo Album, Capital FM
  37. ^ "Tulisa debuts new single 'Live It Up' - listen". Digital Spy. 24 July 2012. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
  38. ^ Live It Up (feat. Tyga) [Remixes] - EP, iTunes Store, retrieved 16 August 2012
  39. ^ Smart, Gordon (17 December 2012). "Tulisa: hacked off with Will and Britney Spears". The Sun. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
  40. ^ Ridley, Marc (17 December 2012). " admits 'Scream & Shout' was given to Tulisa first". Popjustice. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
  41. ^ Copsey, Robert (28 November 2012). "Tulisa: 'Sight Of You' - Single review". Digital Spy. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
  42. ^ "iTunes Music - The Female Boss". Retrieved 7 December 2012.
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  49. ^ "Louis Walsh has basically just asked Tulisa to join him at The X Factor's judges' houses". Metro. UK. 4 August 2014. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
  50. ^ Tom Eames (20 October 2014). "Tulisa makes return to music: Listen to new single 'Living Without You'". Digital Spy.
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  54. ^ Bushfield, Antony (23 November 2014). "Tulisa: I'm more religious than people know". Premier Christian Radio.
  55. ^ "Tulisa: on her faith, the Fake Sheikh and those cosmetic fillers".
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  64. ^ "Tulisa Contostavlos charged with drugs offence". BBC News. 9 December 2013.
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  66. ^ "Tulisa Contostavlos drugs trial collapses". BBC. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
  67. ^ "Tulisa loses High Court defamation bid against the Irish Sun". Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 15 April 2015. Retrieved 16 April 2015. The High Court President, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns said Tulisa Contostavlos, had been "cruelly deceived in a shabby sting operation" and there was no doubt it had caused her grave upset. But he said he was astounded that a more rapid reaction to initiate legal proceedings did not take place. He said he was satisfied that there should be no extension of time for the case. It is understood the singer, who was not present in court, is now considering appealing the High Court decision.
  68. ^ a b Moore, Suzanne (28 July 2014). "If Tulisa Contostavlos were middle class, she wouldn't face such scorn". The Guardian.
  69. ^ McGregor, Nesta; Blake, Jimmy (28 July 2014). "Tulisa: I'm lucky to be here after the last 12 months". BBC Newsbeat.
  70. ^ "'Fake Sheikh' Mazher Mahmood guilty over Tulisa case". BBC News. 5 October 2016.
  71. ^ Davies, Caroline (5 October 2016). "'Fake Sheikh' Mazher Mahmood guilty of tampering with Tulisa trial evidence". The Guardian.
  72. ^ "Tulisa admits it's a new beginning for her after Mazher Mahmood is jailed for 15 months". Irish Mirror. 21 October 2016.

External linksEdit