The Puppini Sisters are an English close harmony vocal trio composed of Italian-born singer Marcella Puppini and English singers Kate Mullins and Emma Smith. Although the three are not related, the name was chosen in tribute to The Andrews Sisters. The three met in the same Music College, but their résumés were very different: Kate (the blonde) had sung in the heavy metal band Killed In Action; Marcella (the brunette) had recorded the dance hit Revolution after serving time in a punk group; as for Rosanna, and later Stephanie, they both came from a classical background. After eight years with the group, O'Brien was replaced by Emma Smith, who comes from a London Jazz dynasty, and is a Royal Academy of Music graduate with a soulful voice and a very cheeky personality.
Marcella had had a career in fashion (she had graduated from Central St Martins College of Art and worked with Vivienne Westwood before embarking on a Music degree), so the trio's first appearances were (almost naturally) à la mode. But their gigs quickly became a unique rendezvous for a mix of impassioned fans: jazz-goers, retro-aesthetes, people into nostalgia, others with a style obsession, and also kids, spellbound by the vivacity and colour which sparkled in the Sisters' voices...
The trio are backed by a three-piece band featuring Blake Wilner on guitar, Henrik Jensen on double bass and Peter Ibbetson on drums. Critic Arion Berger described them as part of "Retro's futuristic vanguard" and characterised their sound as "swing-punk". The group is associated with a burlesque revival.
The group was founded in 2004 by Marcella Puppini after she was inspired by the animated film Les Triplettes de Belleville (2003). In 2005 they were signed by UCJ (Universal Classics and Jazz). The Puppini Sisters' debut single, "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy", was a cover of the hit single by The Andrews Sisters. The Puppini Sisters' second album, The Rise and Fall of Ruby Woo includes original compositions by Puppini, Stephanie O'Brien and Kate Mullins.
The Puppini Sisters television appearances include This Morning, Loose Women, The Alan Titchmarsh Show, Big Brother's Little Brother, Hell's Kitchen, CBeebies' Space Pirates, The View (on ABC), and 2011's A Michael Bublé Christmas on NBC and Graham Norton with Bublé in 2012. The group also appeared in the 2009 Jonathan Creek New Year's special "The Grinning Man", performing their 2007 single "Spooky". The trio was also featured on the soundtracks for the US TV series Greys Anatomy and Chuck. In 2015 the Sisters also appeared on BBC1's Strictly Come Dancing.
The group performed at Glastonbury Festival 2009 on 27 June as well as performing at Goodwood Vintage Festival on 15 August.
On 27 June 2012, O'Brien announced via the group's Facebook page that she was leaving the group. It was later revealed that Terrianne Passingham would replace O'Brien. However, Passingham also left the group and shortly thereafter Emma Smith took her place. The singer made her debut with The Puppini Sisters on The Graham Norton Show in November 2012.
The trio started a Pledge Music campaign to crowd fund their new album with the help of fans. The album was finalized before Christmas 2015 and its release is scheduled to March 2016.
According to Marcella Puppini, the group sings about modern and risqué subjects in a quaintly old-fashioned way. This comes from their interest in 1940s songs such as "Hold Tight (Want Some Seafood Mama)" that have sexual undertones despite their overtly innocent lyrics.
The Puppini Sisters' MySpace page includes a list of acts which have influenced the trio, including The Andrews Sisters, The Chordettes The Boswell Sisters, Marlene Dietrich, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Kate Bush, Mike Flowers, Joan Crawford, The Smiths, and Tom Waits.
The Puppini Sisters won a Gold Disc for international sales of their first CD, Betcha Bottom Dollar, in 2007.
The Puppini Sisters website won the 2008 Cream of Yorkshire awards "Gold Award" for best website. The digital advertising agency twentysix won the top award the "overall Grand Prix award" for its design of a website for Universal Music showcasing the group.