The name Cappella was first used in 1987. In the beginning, they were a Hi-NRG influenced house act with producer Gianfranco Bortolotti of Media Records leading the group, with significant contributions from fellow producers Stefano Lanzini, Diego Leoni and Pieradis Rossini. In 1988, the act debuted on the UK Singles Chart with the song "Bauhaus (Push the Beat)", and the following year with "Helyom Halib" which peaked at number 11. At the time, the act was fronted by model Ettore Foresti.
Three years later, Cappella scored another UK top 30 hit with "Take Me Away", which sampled Loleatta Holloway's "Love Sensation" – the same track that had been sampled on the number 1 hit "Ride On Time" by fellow Italian house act Black Box in 1989.
It was not until 1993 when Cappella really began to gain momentum. "U Got 2 Know" was based on the distinctive riff of Siouxsie and the Banshees' "Happy House"; Cappella was later sued by Siouxsie and the Banshees for failure to pay publishing royalties and lost. Vocalist Anna Ross and rapper MC Fixx It (Ricardo Overman) were chosen by Gianfranco for live performances. The song reached number 6 in the UK. Afterwards, two permanent members were drafted in to front the act: rapper Rodney Bishop from London and ex-SL2 dancer Kelly Overett from Ipswich. "U Got 2 Let the Music" (which sampled Alphaville's "Sounds Like a Melody") was released in October 1993 and climbed to number 2 on the UK Singles Chart, held off from the top spot only by Meat Loaf's "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)". "U Got 2 Know" would later be remade and updated by Tomcraft in 2013.
Further hits followed: "Move On Baby" reached number 7 in February 1994, "U & Me" peaked at number 10 in June, and "Move It Up" ended the U Got 2 Know album project with a number 16 hit in October. Shortly after this, Overett was fired from the group. It later emerged that she had not actually performed on any of the records – though this should have been obvious to anyone who had seen her performing "Move On Baby" live on Top of the Pops and during a telecast of M6's Dance Machine concert in 1994 in which she did perform "U & Me" live despite a playback in the background.
As for the real voices that were actually used, "U Got 2 Know" included Xaviera Gold's vocals from "You Used To Hold Me", "U Got 2 Let the Music" sampled a vocal from JM Silk's track "Let The Music Take Control", and the vocals for "U & Me" were sampled from a song by Vicki Shepard. "Move On Baby" and "Don't Be Proud" were sung by a session singer Eileina Dennis. The hit "Move It Up" was also sung by a session singer now known to be Jackie Rawe. Rap vocals were later confirmed to be performed by former member MC Fixx It. Overett later established a singing career by releasing a single called "Follow Your Heart" in 1995 under the name "Kelly O", although it was her only solo single.
In May 1995, Cappella returned with new vocalist Allison Jordan, who had previously scored a club hit with "Boy From New York City". Rodney Bishop was also replaced by Patrick Osborne, but returned to the group before long. Before Bishop returned to Cappella, he released two solo singles under the name 'Bishop' titled "Addicted" and "Lift Me Up".
The comeback single "Tell Me the Way" reached number 17 in the UK in September 1995 and was followed by the album War In Heaven, which featured contributions from Mauro Picotto. According to rumors, War in Heaven was almost completely recorded before Overett and Bishop were fired. The rumors were later confirmed to be true, as most of the lead vocals on the album were done by Zeeteah Massiah, however Jordan did provide lead vocals on a few tracks on the album.
On February 25, 1998, Cappella released their fourth eponymously titled album. The album was supported by three singles, titled "Be My Baby", "U Tore My World Apart", and "Throwin' Away". It is now known that the lead vocals on the album were performed by British vocalist Beverley Skeete, who had also worked with Anticappella, another one of Bortolotti's projects. The rap vocals were performed by Italian producer and remixer Tiziano Pagani. After the singles charted less than expected, the band decided to go on tour and promote the new album in Japan later in the same year. Once their Japanese tour was finished, Bishop left the group, and Cappella continued as a solo act with just Jordan for a brief time. Cappella released the single "U R the Power of Love" in September 1998, and shortly afterwards, Jordan left the group, leaving Cappella in the void, and resorting to releasing remixes of previous hits.
In 2004, the act – now once again faceless, released a brand new track called "Angel" which failed to spark the German or Italian charts. A greatest hits CD/DVD was released in August 2005.
In 2013, the band returned with the original producer Gianfranco Bortolotti and new members, a married couple: Lis Birks as a vocalist and Marcus Birks as a rapper. The couple used to perform under the name of The Cameleonz.
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