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Margaret Urlich

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Margaret Urlich

Margaret Urlich
Urlich performing live in Hawkes Bay, 2008. Photograph by Tim Whittaker.
Background information
Born 1965 (age 50–51)
Origin New Zealand
Genres Rock, pop, new wave, jazz
Years active 1985–present
Labels CBS, Sony, Columbia

Margaret Urlich (born in Auckland, New Zealand) is an ARIA Award-winning[1] musician based in New South Wales. Urlich came to Sydney, Australia, in 1988 to pursue her singing career. Her debut solo album, Safety in Numbers, released in 1989, was highly successful and won "Breakthrough Artist - Album" at the 1991 ARIA Awards,.[1] Its follow-up Chameleon Dreams was also a success when released in 1992. Urlich has been successful Trans-Tasman, selling over 400,000 albums during her career, ranking her as one of New Zealand's most successful recording artists.


  • Biography 1
  • Discography 2
    • Albums 2.1
    • Singles 2.2
  • Awards and recognition 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Margaret Urlich began her career as the vocalist for the new wave group Peking Man with her brother Pat, Tim Calder, Perry Marshall, Jan Foulkes, Neville Hall, John Fearon and Jay F-bula. Peking Man won the 1984 Shazam! Battle of The Bands, (a TVNZ pop show) nz on screen, had a number of hit songs in New Zealand, "Good Luck to You", which reached No. 6, "Lift Your Head Up High", reaching No. 21 and the number one, "Room That Echoes", in 1985.[2] Later she was a member of an all-girl pop group in New Zealand called When The Cat's Away. Urlich moved to Australia during the late 1980s and released her solo debut album Safety In Numbers in 1989. The album peaked at No. 4 on the New Zealand album charts[3] and No. 5 on the Australian album charts[4] and went triple platinum in Australia. Urlich winning an ARIA Award in 1991 for "Best Breakthrough Artist."[5]

In 1990 Urlich, previous mostly unknown outside of New Zealand, provided backing vocals on a track for Australian artist Daryl Braithwaite, on his second album Rise, which released late 1990. The song she featured in was the Rickie Lee Jones ballad "The Horses", which was a No. 1 hit for Braithwaite.[6] The video clip featured Braithwaite singing on a beach, with a model (riding a horse), lip syncing Urlich's voice. Margaret chose not to appear in Darryl's film clip as she had just released 'Safety in Numbers' and was working hard to establish herself as a solo artist.

In March 1991, Urlich, armed with a half million dollar recording budget, returned to the studio to commence pre-production for her second album, Chameleon Dreams, with English writer/producer Robyn Smith, the man behind her highly successful debut. By mid year, Urlich and Smith had entered Sydney's 301 Studios to record their two songs, plus a third track written by Smith and Barry Blue. The same team had been responsible for two of the best tracks on Safety in Numbers ("Escaping" and "Guilty People"), and their latest offering Boy In The Moon, proved pivotal to the sound of the new album. Other tracks were collected by travelling all over the world.

First Urlich went to London to co-write with celebrated writers like Rob Fisher with whom she wrote the album's title track Chameleon Dreams. She then went on to Los Angeles, where she met up with Grammy Award-winning writer/producer Ian Prince, and with whom she wrote two songs for the album and he produced four tracks. She returned to London again, where she co-wrote a number of songs with Simon Law and Tony Swain before completing the project with three tracks produced by Swain.

The success of Chameleon Dreams earned Urlich the "Best Selling New Zealand Artist of the Year" award at The 1992 World Music Awards in Monte Carlo. She attended the awards ceremony and performed Love Train.

In 1993 Urlich was part of Export Music Australia (EMA) and Austrade's second Wizards of Oz promotion, she toured Japan with fellow singer Rick Price and the group Yothu Yindi. Margaret Urlich and Dale Barlow recorded a version of I've Got You Under My Skin for Kate Ceberano's 1994 album, Kate Ceberano and Friends.

She spent much of 1994 living back in New Zealand and appeared as Mary Magdalene in a major concert production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. Urlich released a version of "I Don't Know How to Love Him" which reached No. 44 on the New Zealand singles charts.[3]

For her third album, The Deepest Blue she returned to her long standing partnership with British Writer/Producer Robyn Smith. Smith and Urlich co-wrote all but two of the tracks on the album. The Deepest Blue was released in August 1995 but failed to have the same impact as her previous two albums, only reaching No. 18 on the New Zealand charts[3] and No. 17 on the Australian charts.[4]

In 1998, her contract with Sony Music having expired, she moved to the Southern Highlands of New South Wales where she set up home and a new recording studio with her partner.

Here she produced her fourth album, Second Nature, a recording project produced by Eddie Rayner from Split Enz that was recorded on and off over 12 months and involved musicians from Australia and New Zealand. The album comprised cover versions of some of Margaret's favourite NZ songs that she grew up with. These included artists like Split Enz, Crowded House, Dave Dobbyn, Max Merritt, Shona Laing, Don McGlashan and Tim Finn. The album was released in New Zealand in 1999 and reached No. 11 on the charts. It achieved platinum status in that country.[3]



Year Title Details Peak chart
NZ[7] AUS[8]
1989 Safety in Numbers
  • Released: 11 August 1989
  • Format: LP, cassette, CD
  • Label: CBS Records Australia
  • Catalogue: 465652 1
4 5
1992 Chameleon Dreams
  • Released: LP, cassette, CD
  • Label: Columbia
  • Catalogue: 4721182
18 5
1994 Live
  • Label: Sony
1995 The Deepest Blue
  • Format: Cassette, CD
  • Label: Columbia
  • Catalogue: 478315-2
18 17
1999 Second Nature
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Sony Music NZ
  • Catalogue: 491251-2
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


Year Title Peak chart
NZ[7] AUS[8]
1989 "Escaping" 1 17 Safety In Numbers
1990 "Only My Heart Calling" 46
"Number One (Remember When We Danced All Night)" 10 24
"Guilty People" 99
1992 "Boy In The Moon" 9 21 Chameleon Dreams
"Human Race" 55
1993 "(I Don't Want To Be) Second Best" 39 132
"Burnt Sienna" 33
"Man Overboard"
"Where Is The Love" (with Rick Price) 31 Live
1994 "I Don't Know How To Love Him" 44 Jesus Chris Superstar: New Zealand Cast Recording
"All By Myself" 26 100 Non-album single
1995 "Gonna Make You Mine" 29 The Deepest Blue
"Every Little Thing" 50
"All For The Love" 148
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Awards and recognition

Year Award-giving Body Award Result
1985 New Zealand Music Awards Best Female Vocalist Won
1986 New Zealand Music Awards Best Female Vocalist Won
1989 New Zealand Music Awards Album Of The Year Won
1989 New Zealand Music Awards Single Of The Year Won
1989 New Zealand Music Awards Best Female Vocalist Won
1989 New Zealand Music Awards Best Album Cover Won
1990 New Zealand Music Awards Best Female Vocalist Won
1991 ARIA Awards Breakthrough Artist - Album Won
1992 World Music Awards Best Selling New Zealand Artist of the Year Won
1993 ARIA Awards Best Female Artist Nominated
1994 ARIA Awards Best Female Artist Nominated
1994 ARIA Awards Best Adult Contemporary Album Nominated


  1. ^ a b "1991 ARIA Award winners". Retrieved 18 March 2010. 
  2. ^ "Peking Man". Retrieved 18 March 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Margaret Urlich". Retrieved 18 March 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Margaret Urlich". Retrieved 18 March 2010. 
  5. ^ "ARAI Awards - Margaret Urlich".  
  6. ^ "Daryl Braithwaite - The Horses". Retrieved 18 March 2010. 
  7. ^ a b "Margaret Urlich discography". Retrieved 14 February 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Australian (ARIA) chart peaks:
    • Top 50 singles and albums peaks: "Margaret Urlich discography". Retrieved 14 February 2013. 
    • Top 100 singles and albums peaks, including those peaking between 51-100: Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. 
    • "(I Don't Want To Be) Second Best" and "All For the Love": "Response from ARIA re: chart inquiry, received 15 July 2015". Retrieved 28 August 2015. 

External links

  • Official Website
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