HOLLYWOOD, CA — Gwen Stefani —whose ability to reinvent herself from a ska-brand frontwoman to an avant-garde pop chart-topper to a reality competition host has kept her in the limelight for nearly three decades — was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Thursday.
Stefani, who broke out in the mid-90s as the lead singer of ska-tinged rock band No Doubt, has earned 18 Grammy nominations, three wins and has sold more than 60 million units worldwide with over 10 billion streams.
More recently, she’s been a coach on the NBC singing competition “The Voice” since 2014 and enjoyed a Las Vegas residency, which Stefani said at the ceremony was her “second chapter.”
During the ceremony, Stefani recalled how record executive Jimmy Iovine pushed a reluctant Stefani to go to a recording session with Akon shortly after the birth of her son, Kingston. The pair would end up creating the 2006 chart-topping single “The Sweet Escape.” Stefani recalled how Akon came up with the song’s notable “woo hoo, yee hoo” hook seemingly out of thin air.
“Within seconds [Akon]’s my best friend,” she recalled of meeting the rapper. “All I have to say to him is ‘I want to write a song about something sweet.'”
Iovine, along with Stefani’s husband Blake Shelton and entertainment executive Irving Azoff, introduced the singer Thursday. Iovine recalled his first time seeing No Doubt perform.
“I go see these four people playing literally like a hurricane, I couldn’t hear the songs, I couldn’t hear the singer, I didn’t know if they were good or bad, but they had a phenomenal energy,” he said. “Those were the days when you would sign a band for a record label based on energy, heart, feel and potential.”
Stefani’s star is next to Shelton’s near Amoeba Music at Hollywood and Vine.
Stefani was born Oct. 3, 1969, in Fullerton and raised in Anaheim. She graduated from Loara High School in Anaheim in 1987, then briefly attended Fullerton College and California State University Fullerton, dropping out later in 1987 to pursue a music career.
No Doubt received the first of its nine Grammy nominations in 1997 for best new artist, losing to LeAnn Rimes, and best rock album for “Tragic Kingdom,” losing to Sheryl Crow’s self-titled second studio album.
Stefani would have to wait until 2002 to win her first Grammy, joining Eve in winning for best rap/sung collaboration for “Let Me Blow Ya Mind.”
Stefani won best pop performance by a duo or group with vocal Grammys as part of No Doubt each of the following two years, winning for “Hey Baby” in 2003 and “Underneath It All” in 2004.
Stefani’s other honors include four MTV Video Music Award and an American Music Award in 2005 for favorite pop/rock female artist.
As a solo performer, Stefani has released four studio albums, two extended plays, 33 singles (including nine as a featured artist), six promotional singles, one video album, and 28 music videos. Her debut solo album, “Love. Angel. Music. Baby.” was certified as platinum five times by the recording industry trade group, the Recording Industry Association of America.
City News Service contributed to this report.