Jemma Griffiths (born June 18, 1975 in Penarth, nr. Cardiff, Wales), better known as Jem is a Welsh singer-songwriter known for her eclectic musical stylings. Her debut album has defied the categorization of some music critics with a fusion of genres. While some of her songs are straight up rock ballads, some of her tracks verge on New Wave styled electronica and trip-hop. Her throaty, mellow voice draws immediate comparisons to Imogen Heap, Beth Orton, Sophie Barker and to a lesser extent Dido.
Along with electronic producer Guy Sigsworth (Björk, Frou Frou), she wrote the song "Nothing Fails", which was later reworked by Madonna and appeared on her 2003 American Life album.
Although she began singing and writing songs at age thirteen, she decided to head into law and attended Sussex University. However, she spent less time and energy on studies and focused on being a DJ agent (although she did eventually receive a degree in law). There in Brighton, she spent a lot of time promoting club nights, and helped set-up and run the specialist breaks label Marine Parade.
According to an interview article published on The Sun Online, Jem said she "went to class as little as [she] could without being kicked out!".
Jem left everything behind in November of 1999 and assembled a mobile studio where she further developed her songwriting and music production skills. During this period, she completed four demos that would eventually setup her career in the music industry.
From there, she moved to London where she collaborated with Guy Sigsworth, and then to Brooklyn to work with Ge-Ology (Mos Def, Talib Kweli). In the autumn of 2002 she met Yoad Nevo, who became her co-producer.
Jem's solo career began in earnest in 2002, when a demo version of the song "Finally Woken" was played on Los Angeles station KCRW. The track became one of the most listener-requested songs at the station, landing her in their top 5 played artists, and all prior to any record label being attached. As a result, Bruce Flohr was so impressed with her demos that he offered Jem a record deal onto Dave Matthews' ATO record label.
She was subsequently signed to the label ATO and released the moderately successful EP It All Starts Here in autumn 2003, followed by the album Finally Woken in March 2004.
Jem released the single "24" from Finally Woken on 2003 as a limited edition promo single. This single wasn't followed by a music video. The single "They", from Finally Woken, was released in the UK on 13 March 2005. This included an interpolation of the Swingle Singers's adaptation from 1963 of Bach's Prelude in F Minor from Book II of the Well-Tempered Clavier(c. 1720)
She simultaneously began receiving publicity in the US, as her music was featured on numerous television shows such as The O.C.; Desperate Housewives; Wonderfalls; Six Feet Under; Crossing Jordan; Grey's Anatomy; and Wish I was used as the theme tune to the ITV show Celebrity Love Island.
Jem is currently working on her next album with the producers Jeff Bass and Lester Mendez. The album will be released sometime in 2007.
According to Jem's official site, her influences are wide ranging and extend into almost all genres of music. She describes her inspirations as a "strange mix of soul, hip hop, reggae, dance music, film soundtracks, classical music and cheesy love songs", from Stevie Wonder to the soundtrack of the Braveheart movie.