Origin: Toronto, Ontario
Led by singer/songwriter Martina Sorbara, Canadian electro-poppers Dragonette are known for their glistening and hooky, new wave-inspired sound. It's a style that initially drew comparisons to the Scissor Sisters, No Doubt, and the Killers, especially with the release of 2007's Galore and 2009's Fixin' to Thrill. However, later albums like 2012's Bodyparts and the group's international hit collaboration with producer Martin Solveig, "Hello," proved the group had its own confident, club-savvy identity. While 2015's Royal Blues marked the end of Sorbara and longtime-collaborator Dan Kurtz's relationship, she forged ahead and debuted her solo version of Dragonette on 2022's Twennies.
Martina Sorbara founded Dragonette in 2005 with multi-instrumentalist Dan Kurtz (formerly of the jazz and electronica-influenced Toronto-based jam band the New Deal), guitarist Simon Craig, and drummer Joel Stouffer. The daughter of York University Chancellor and former member of Ontario's provincial government Greg Sorbara, Sorbara had previously maintained a moderately successful solo career as an AOR/adult alternative artist in the style of Sarah McLachlan, releasing several albums including 2002's The Cure for Bad Deeds. However, after sparking a creative and romantic partnership with Kurtz, she decided to move forward in a collaborative fashion with Dragonette.
A self-released and self-titled 2005 demo attracted the attention of the U.K. office of Mercury Records, which offered Dragonette a recording contract the following year. Moving their base of operations from Toronto to London (and losing Craig in the process, replaced by British guitarist Will Stapleton), Dragonette released their first single, "I Get Around," in April 2007. Three more singles followed, "Take It Like a Man," "Competition," and a gender-reversal cover of Calvin Harris' hit "The Girls" called "The Boys." Dragonette's debut album, Galore, was released in late summer 2007. The same year, Sorbara sang lead vocals on the hit Basement Jaxx single "Take Me Back to Your House." Galore was released in the U.S. in 2008 on I Surrender Records.
The band's second album, Fixin' to Thrill, a more focused and polished effort that charted in Canada's Top Ten, arrived in 2009 and earned a nomination for Dance Recording of the Year at the 2011 Juno Awards. The following year, Dragonette released the Mixin' to Thrill remix album and collaborated with several dance producers on singles such as Kaskade's "Fire in Your New Shoes," Don Diablo's "Animale," and, most notably, Martin Solveig's "Hello." The single, which appeared on Solveig's 2011 album Smash, became a worldwide hit, topping the charts in five countries, reaching the Top Ten in ten other countries, and topping Billboard's Hot Dance Club chart in the U.S. early in 2011 (the song ultimately earned the group a Juno for Dance Recording of the Year in 2012).
In 2011, Dragonette co-wrote and produced the song "Lucky Day" for Girls Aloud member Nicola Roberts' solo album Cinderella's Eyes, and returned to the studio to work on their third album. Released in 2012, Bodyparts was the first Dragonette album to be produced by the band, as well as the first to be released in Canada and the U.S. at the same time. The band followed it with several years of singles and collaborations, including a 2013 cover of the Mister Rogers' Neighborhood theme song "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" that appeared in Target Canada commercials. Later, team-ups with Mike Mago, LENNO, Joey Stylez, Paul Harris, and Big Data kept them busy in 2014 and 2015.
Dragonette issued the single "Let the Night Fall" in June 2015, offering the first taste of their fourth album, Royal Blues, which was inspired in part by Sorbara and Kurtz's separation. It was released in November 2016 and featured production work by Mago and U.K. producer Dada. Following the end of their relationship, Kurtz returned to his former band the New Deal, while Sorbara moved forward with Dragonette as her solo project. In October 2022, she returned with the full-length Twennies, recorded in Toronto with producer Dan Farber (Dizzee Rascal, Lizzo).