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How Gwen Stefani Went From No Doubt to the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Look back at how the singer became America's "Hollaback Girl" and The Voice's gem.
With 30 years of cutting-edge career moves and powerhouse performances under her stylish belt, Gwen Stefani is the definition of star power.
From her smash success as the frontwoman of the rock band No Doubt to her revolutionary solo career, Stefani radiates artistry in everything she does. Emerging in the grunge-tastic 90s as a ska-pop queen from Southern California and later as a Coach on The Voice, Stefani knows a thing or two about success.
Known for her celebrated hits "Don't Speak," "Sweet Escape," and "Hollaback Girl," Stefani continues to release dynamite music. Now, as the proud recipient of the 2,764th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Stefani's mythic place in the music industry shines just as brightly as the No Doubt singer herself.
As one of the most beloved Coaches in The Voice's history, Stefani's career speaks to her magnetic stage energy and ingenious talent. Dive into Stefani's incredible career highlights below.
Gwen Stefani's Early Career with No Doubt
Stefani earned her fame initially as the lead singer of the ska-rock band No Doubt. Formed in Southern California in 1986 by Stefani's older brother, Eric, No Doubt experienced some growing pains and then tragedy before settling on the line-up for which they eventually became famous: Gwen Stefani as the lead vocalist backed by Tom Dumont on guitar, Tony Kanal on bass, Adrian Young on drums, and Eric Stefani on the keyboard (though he left after their third album).
The group began rocking radio waves in 1992 with the release of their self-titled debut album, gaining some recognition for their unique ska-pop sound within a sea of grunge rock coming from the West Coast. The band kept up their momentum in 1995 with the release of their sophomore album, The Beacon Street Collection, featuring a sonic mashup of ska and punk influences.
No Doubt's Tragic Kingdom
In 1995, No Doubt struck gold with their third album, Tragic Kingdom. Boasting legendary hits like lead single "Just a Girl" and the equally beloved "Don't Speak," the album is a pillar of the '90s musical scene. The album earned Stefani and No Doubt their first Grammy nomination in 1997 for Best Rock Album and Best New Artist, further skyrocketing the SoCal ska band to global success and launching a two-and-a-half-year worldwide tour.
"I didn't really write songs before that," Stefani told ET in celebration of Tragic Kingdom's 20th anniversary. "To be able to get that power and understand that about myself — that I have that gift — that's what that whole album kind of represents. This is such a magical time period, but also, you know, a tragic period as well for me."
No Doubt's Return of Saturn and Rock Steady
After Tragic Kingdom's longtime radio reign, No Doubt released their fourth studio album Return of Saturn in 2000. The album marked a step in a new sonic direction for the global rockstars while maintaining Stefani's vulnerable and raw lyricism.
In 2001, No Doubt upped the ante with their fifth album, Rock Steady. The album embraced a reggae and '80s new wave verve while still flaunting the ska-punk sound that made No Doubt so popular. Delivering "Hey Baby" and "Underneath It All," some of No Doubt's most gilded singles came from the record.
In a 2001 interview with Billboard, No Doubt revealed the album was inspired by the joys of touring for Return of Saturn and designed to help listeners have a good time. “All that mattered was that the process was fun,” Stefani revealed before adding that Rock Steady's production “wasn’t hard at all. Like, I feel guilty that it wasn’t hard. But it wasn’t.”
In 2003, No Doubt took home their first Grammy award for "Hey Baby" and won another Grammy the following year for "Underneath It All."
No Doubt's Greatest Hits Album and Push and Shove
In 2003, No Doubt decided to go on a hiatus, but the band had cultivated a long lineup of smash singles throughout their rise to fame, inspiring the release of their greatest hits collection, The Singles 1992–2003. The album featured many of No Doubt's most celebrated singles as well as a Grammy-nominated cover of "It's My Life" by Talk Talk.
In 2012, No Doubt came together for their sixth and last album to date, Push and Shove. The lead single of the album was "Settle Down," which boasted a music video directed by Sophie Muller — the same director of the famed "Don't Speak" music video.
Gwen Stefani's Early Solo Collaborations & Duets
Even as she was making albums and winning awards with No Doubt, Stefani was stretching her wings as a solo artist. She first teamed up with Moby for his 2000 hit "Southside," and then combined talents with Eve for their Grammy-winning smash "Let Me Blow Ya Mind" in 2001.
Stefani later appeared on Pharrell's "Can I Have It Like That" for his 2006 album In My Mind, one of several collabs between The Voice legends.
In 2014, Stefani was a featured artist on Maroon 5's "My Heart Is Open" and appeared on Calvin Harris' Motion track "Together." Other famed collaborators of Stefani's include the Brian Setzer Orchestra, Snoop Dogg, Sublime, Eminem, and Prince.
Gwen Stefani's Solo Debut: Love. Angel. Music. Baby.
In 2004, Stefani made her solo debut with the praised release, Love. Angel. Music. Baby., featuring collaborations from André 3000 and Linda Perry, just to name a few. The lead single, "What You Waiting For?" was a power ballad designed to ring in a new era for Stefani as an independent artist.
Stefani reunited with Eve on the L.A.M.B. single "Rich Girl," which was produced by Dr. Dre as a loose reimagining of Fiddler on the Roof's "If I Were a Rich Man." The single was an instant hit and solidified the album as a dance record.
Of course, the L.A.M.B. song that would become Stefani's most infectious hit to date was the mythic anti-bully track "Hollaback Girl." The song climbed to the top of U.S. and global charts and was historic in becoming the first digital single to go platinum and sell more than a million copies. The song still receives radio play today as it continues to make fans go "b-a-n-a-n-a-s" with delight.
Gwen Stefani's Sophomore Solo Album The Sweet Escape
In 2006, Stefani released her second solo studio album, The Sweet Escape. The sophomore release was a step in a more electronic and dance-pop direction for Stefani and featured many tracks that were originally written for L.A.M.B.
The Sweet Escape includes energizing tracks like "Wind It Up," "4 in the Morning," and "Yummy," a duet with former Voice Coach Pharrell Williams. The album's titular single, "The Sweet Escape," featured Akon and was the most commercially acclaimed track from the record, debuting at No. 3 on the Billboard 200.
Gwen Stefani's This Is What the Truth Feels Like
In 2016, Stefani dropped her third solo album, This Is What the Truth Feels Like. Prior to its release, Stefani had worked with No Doubt on Push and Shove and had started appearing as a Coach on The Voice.
Marketed as a record about falling in love after a painful heartbreak (and coming out after Stefani's divorce), This Is What the Truth Feels Like boasts many must-listen singles like "Used to Love You," "Misery," and "Make Me Like You" — the latter of which was inspired by her then-budding relationship with Voice legend Blake Shelton.
“It was really a life-saver record for me,” Stefani told Time ahead of the album's release. “It wasn’t until I had to go through the worst tragedy that it really opened up a channel for me... It was the first time that I really had written a record from a different point of view of being in love and being grateful and being in a really, ‘Oh my God, I got saved!’ kind of place."
Gwen Stefani's Holiday Album You Make It Feel Like Christmas
As Stefani and Shelton's relationship continued to heat up, Stefani released her 2017 holiday album, You Make It Feel Like Christmas. The whimsical release features six holiday classics and six original tracks, including the original song "Christmas Eve," which was inspired by Stefani's time on Shelton's Oklahoma ranch. In 2017, Stefani hosted the NBC holiday special Gwen Stefani's You Make It Feel Like Christmas to promote the album, performing the album's heartwarming duet, "You Make It Feel Like Christmas," with Shelton.
“I love the idea of being a part of the joy of Christmas,” Stefani told EW ahead of the album's release. “And I love the idea of having a record that will be an annual thing. I really hope we hit on something that people want to hear every year. That would be the fantasy.”
Gwen Stefani's EP and Singles: "Let Me Reintroduce Myself" to "True Babe"
In 2020, Stefani released what many call her return to pop, "Let Me Reintroduce Myself," a pop-ska homage to her No Doubt roots. In 2020, Stefani released "Slow Clap," which later got a 2021 remix featuring "My Type" rapper Saweetie. In June 2023, Stefani got her fans excited yet again with the drop of "True Babe."
Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton's Duets
Since Stefani met Shelton on The Voice in 2014 and the two began dating the following year, they have collaborated several times outside her holiday album. Stefani began dabbling within the country genre with her featured vocals on "Go Ahead and Break My Heart," released on Shelton's 2016 album If I'm Honest. The pair tore down the house after performing the song on Season 10 of The Voice.
Stefani continued to flex her chameleonic talent as a featured artist on "Nobody but You" for Shelton's 2019 album Fully Loaded: God's Country. In 2020, Stefani and Shelton dropped their feel-good single "Happy Anywhere," inspired by their time spent together during the pandemic.
Gwen Stefani's Business Ventures: L.A.M.B. and GXVE Beauty
Stefani became hailed as a style icon very early in her career and, in 2004, she launched her fashion line, L.A.M.B., named after her debut solo album and offering a collection of apparel, shoes, and accessories. Stefani is also the proud founder of gx by Gwen Stefani, a line of fashion-forward accessories, including handbags, sunglasses, and optical frames.
In March 2022, Stefani launched her makeup line, GXVE Beauty. In an interview with Glamour, Stefani revealed that, despite all of her success, The Voice Coach prefers to do her own makeup. Before her No Doubt days, Gwen Stefani was a makeup assistant at the mall. (Yes, that means the iconic look you clocked in a No Doubt music video was likely a result of Stefani's talent with the makeup brush.)
"I never worked with a Makeup Artist my entire career, really, other than one here or one there..." Stefani explained. “I found magic in the makeup. It’s not even about how people look; it’s how they feel. Once that makeup goes on, the confidence that comes with it is what stayed with me.”
Gwen Stefani's Screen Credits: The Aviator and Trolls
In 2001, Stefani made a delightful cameo as herself in Zoolander. In 2004, Stefani scored her breakout role as the famed Hollywood starlet Jean Harlow in Martin Scorcese's biopic The Aviator, starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio.
In 2014, Stefani added producer to her resume with the creation of the animated television series Kuu Kuu Harajuku. The anime-influenced series was inspired by Stefani's career and the "Harajuku Girls," the group of backup dancers who first appeared on the L.A.M.B. tour and can be spotted in several of Stefani's music videos. The show follows a teenage pop group called HJ5, including members Love, Angel, Music, Baby, and their lead singer, G, as they navigate the challenges of fame in the fictional metropolis, Harajuku City. (Stefani partnered with Mattel to create HJ5 dolls inspired by the series.)
In 2016, Stefani became the voice of the adorable DJ Suki in the animated children's film, Trolls. Stefani also appeared on five songs from the Trolls soundtrack alongside powerhouse costars Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick.
Gwen Stefani on The Voice
Boasting timeless talent and an incredibly versatile career, Stefani was the perfect choice as a guiding force on The Voice, replacing Christina Aguilera in 2014. Stefani has so far appeared on seven seasons of The Voice as a Coach, jumping into a red chair in Seasons 7, 9, 12, 17, 19, 22, and 24.
Outside of her Coaching endeavors, Stefani served as a Top 8 Advisor for Team Christina and Team Pharrell in Season 8 and appeared as a Battle Advisor for Team Blake in Season 10.
Gwen Stefani's Awards
Stefani's tireless efforts in the music industry haven't come without widespread recognition from both fans and her peers. Stefani has won three Grammy Awards and snagged 18 nominations between her No Doubt days and subsequent solo career. Stefani has also won four Teen Choice Awards since her climb to fame in the 90s.
Stefani scored two wins at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards for Best Male Video and Best Female Video for her collaborations with Moby and Eve, respectively. Stefani took home two additional astronauts after "Hollaback Girl" won Best Choreography and "What You Waiting For?" won Best Art Direction at the 2005 VMAs. In 2014, Stefani became a certified fashionista after winning the Style Icon Award at the inaugural People Magazine Awards.
Gwen Stefani's Hollywood Walk of Fame Star
On October 19 2023, Stefani was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her outstanding achievements within the music industry. And Shelton joined the ceremony as a guest speaker, echoing Stefani's heartfelt presence at Shelton's May 2023 Walk of Fame ceremony and making her cry happy tears.
He praised his wife for her songwriting abilities but called music her "side project" compared to her true passion, which is motherhood. As Shelton spoke about what a devoted mom she is to her boys, Stefani began to dab her eyes.
Stefani, for her part, thanked everyone who had helped her build her career, including those in the music industry, her kids, her parents, and especially her brother, Eric, who founded their band No Doubt.
“Gwen Stefani is the pride and joy of California!” the Hollywood Walk of Fame's site boasted when her award was announced. “Not only is she an acclaimed singer/songwriter and performer, Gwen is also a talented fashion designer and cosmetics mogul. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce is ready to welcome not 'Just a Girl' but a mega talent to the Hollywood Walk of Fame!”
Originally published Oct 18, 2023.