She won’t break her promise

Fefe Dobson has her own identity and she is reaching for her goals, stylishly

USA Today

Like lots of 13-year-old girls, Fefe Dobson went to “every ‘N Sync’ concert there was”. She’s 18 now, and she finished opening for Justin Timberlake during his UK tour. “I never dreamed I’d be on the road with Justin. It’s awesome,” the Canadian singer said when she was in England.

“He’s so sweet. He said if I ever needed advice that I should come talk to him.” The spunky singer seems to be doing just fine on her own, thank you.

Her first single, “Take Me Away,” was released in December last year to lukewarm sales. But it was an instant hit with MTV’s “TRL” crowd and earned Dobson a spot on TRL’s ‘Breakout Stars Week’. The singer also was one of Teen People’s ‘Faces to Watch in 2004’.

That’s not all that’s happened for Fefe: Her second single, ‘Everything’, is featured on the soundtrack to ‘The Perfect Score’. She also performed in Houston for MTV’s pre-Super Bowl festivities. On March 21, she starred as Tina Turner on NBC’s ‘American Dreams’. Wigs, the songstress said, helped her get the look. Dobson’s dance training consists of watching her disco queen mother dance around the house to ‘Flashdance’.

Dobson was raised in a Toronto suburb by her mother, who is white. Her father, who is black, left her mother before Fefe was born. In one of her songs, ‘Unforgiven’, she asks: “Daddy, why’d you break your promise to me?”

She says her father hasn’t been in contact with her, and she doesn’t want to talk to him. “I don’t know how he could’ve looked at me as a baby and not love me,” she says. “I forgive. But I don’t forget.”

Dobson also has two half-siblings — blond and blue-eyed, like her mother, which made growing up difficult. “My sister would get teased over it, and my mom couldn’t get into the (housing) complex she wanted because of having a black daughter,” Dobson says. “Although my mom would say, ‘Fefe, it’s not your fault,’ I would carry that burden as a child. I used to pray my mom would be happier.”

The guitar and piano playing songstress got her first record deal in Canada at 16, but she backed out because she felt she hadn’t perfected her sound. She beefed up the guitars and signed with Island Records. Her first album is self-titled.

Dobson’s energetic pop rock has been compared to Avril Lavigne, Pink and Gwen Stefani, and the singer says she has been influenced by an eclectic array of artists, including Kurt Cobain, Judy Garland and John Lennon. “Comparisons don’t bug me.”

The singer says music will always be her “Number 1 priority” but admits that she hopes her gig as Tina Turner will lead to more acting opportunities. “I’d like to try Broadway, and theatre,” she says. “I want to do everything!”