Pop-rocker Shannon Noll rose to stardom down under after earning runner-up honors in the 2003 debut season of the television amateur showcase Australian Idol. Born September 16, 1975, in remote Condobolin, New South Wales, Noll spent his formative years shearing sheep before joining his siblings in the band Cypress. Upon entering Australian Idol, Noll emerged as a major crowd favorite, and the series' finale, which pit him against eventual winner Guy Sebastian, was Aussie television's highest-rated broadcast of the 2003 season. Despite the loss Noll earned a recording contract with Sony BMG, and in early 2004 issued his debut single, a cover of Moving Pictures' 1982 power ballad "What About Me," which not only topped Australian charts but also reached the number two spot in Ireland. His first LP, That's What I'm Talking About, also went number one, buoyed by the highly rated television special Up Close with Shannon Noll. In early 2005, Noll toured in a new production of the classic stage musical Grease. His sophomore album, Lift, followed mid-year, debuting at number one and generating a series of Top Ten singles including "Shine," "Now I Run," and the title cut. ~ Jason Ankeny
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