Maritimes-born Holly Cole grew up in a musical family. In her teens, she discovered jazz through some of its greatest singers like Nina Simone, Anita O'Day, and Billie Holiday. In 1983, the budding artist left for Toronto, where she formed the Holly Cole Trio with bassist David Piltch and pianist Aaron Davis. In 1990, the group signed with Alert Records and released Girl Talk, a debut album that successfully showcased Cole's sensual, smoky voice. With Blame It on My Youth (1992), the vocalist's popularity soon spread overseas. Influenced by pop, blues, and French chanson, Don't Smoke in Bed (1993) featured the crossover hit-single I Can See Clearly Now. A steady string of releases followed, including Dark Dear Heart (1997), Shade (2003), and the eponymous Holly Cole (2007), for which the singer penned her first original composition.