LaToya Renee London (born December 29, 1978 in San Francisco, California) is an American R&B and soul singer and actress, who was the fourth-place finalist on the third season of the reality/talent-search television series American Idol.
London was raised in Oakland, California where she had her first public musical performance when, at the age of 7, she sang in her mother's wedding. Her interest in singing began when she was just 4 years old, she frequently sung when attending a baptist church, and her talent took off from there. As a teenager, she sang with the Oakland Youth Chorus from 1993 to 1996. In 1997, she graduated from Skyline High School (the same school where popular movie actor Tom Hanks and basketball player Gary Payton attended). She also worked as a waitress and a bartender and even sang in a Christian rock group, as well. She currently lives in southern California, where she is studying music.
London auditioned for the third season of American Idol in Los Angeles, California. A member of the third group of eight semifinalists, she was voted through to the final 12 contestants with 32.3 percent of audience votes.
On May 11, 2004, the final four contestants each performed two disco songs. Judge Simon Cowell, who previously endorsed her as the best singer in the competition, suggested that his only complaint with Ms. London was that after ten weeks he still didn't know anything at all about her. Cowell also suggested that contestant Jasmine Trias would almost certainly be voted off the next day. However, on May 12, in a result that came as a surprise to many, including the judges, London became the ninth of the 12 finalists to be eliminated, finishing in fourth place. American Idol judge Paula Abdul was in tears when LaToya sang her farewell song "Don't Rain On My Parade," and the other two judges, Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell gave her a standing ovation.
In November 2004 it was announced that London had been signed to an imprint of Concord Records. Her first single "Appreciate" hit the airwaves in July with a video to follow. Her first album, Love & Life, was released on September 20, 2005.
The single reached #8 on the Billboard Singles Sales Chart and the album has sold about 55,000 copies thus far.
LaToya suffered a setback when she had to pull out of the VH1 Soul Tour with Jaguar Wright and Kindred due to a "family emergency". On the other hand, Ebony magazine named her one of the hottest African-American bachelorettes in America, sparking off speculation about the state of her marriage - while she was on American Idol she mentioned that she was married and had stepchildren. She later confirmed that she and her husband had, in fact, parted ways.
Most recently, Latoya released two follow-up singles, "Every Part of You" and "State of My Heart," the latter of which hit #5 on the radio industry periodical Friday Morning Quarterback's Adult Contemporary spin chart. In April 2006,"State of My Heart" spent a week atop the Idol Waves online radio Top 12 chart. In February 2006, she landed a lead role in Laterras R. Whitfield’s touring dramatic comedy play, "Issues: We All Have 'Em," also starring Angie Stone, Dave Hollister, and Kim Fields. The play recently ended its run; Latoya has been keeping busy with many singing engagements. She will make her film debut in "Hollywood Chaos," an upcoming movie featuring a multitude of reality television stars.
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