Chico Slimani

Chico Slimani
Background information
Birth name Yousseph Slimani
Also known as Chico
Born (1971-04-02) 2 April 1971
Bridgend, Wales
Genres Pop, Latin
Occupation(s) Singer, actor
Instruments Vocals
Years active 2006–present
Labels Sony BMG

Yousseph "Chico" Slimani (born 2 April 1971) is a British singer who rose to prominence in the United Kingdom after reaching the quarter-finals of the 2005 series of the talent show The X Factor. In 2006, he had a number one hit on the British charts entitled "It's Chico Time". In 2008, he appeared on the reality TV show CelebAir where he placed third.

Early life

Slimani was born in Bridgend, South Wales to Moroccan parents. Chico's father and mother were both Muslim. At age two, his parents split. Slimani remained in Morocco and lived with his grandparents, whereas his mother opted to live in Belgium. Slimani spent his childhood time in Oujda, Morocco. His family was so poor that he took up goat herding to contribute to the family income, but as he says "We may have not had much money, but we had a lot of love".

When he was 14 years old, his father, living in Crawley, West Sussex, called him back to live in the UK, where he attended Hazelwick School. After leaving school, he began a youth training scheme as a hairdresser, before working as an electrician. He also studied martial arts.

Aspiring to make a name for himself in arts and entertainment, Slimani took part in an exotic dance troupe called "Extreme Force" and later became a singer/compere with Lapattack. He also worked as a stripper[1] for a while. From a young age, he continued writing and recording songs in the hope of breaking into the music business.

In 2004, Slimani also tried his hand at acting and co-wrote, starred, produced and provided the soundtrack for the BAFTA nominated short film Winner Takes All alongside actor JC Mac.


The X Factor and singing career

Judge Simon Cowell walked out of Slimani's initial X Factor audition after fellow judges Louis Walsh and Sharon Osbourne voted him through to the second round[2] after he performed "If I Ever Fall in Love" (from Shai) / "Kiss" (from Prince and the Revolution)

His category ("Over 25s") was mentored by Osbourne, who put him through to the live television phase after a particularly memorable performance at the Osbournes' "home", in which he jumped into a shallow pool and danced in the water (still holding a live microphone).[3]

Slimani was at first mocked in the press, but after changing the style of his performances, to become slightly more self-mocking, he began to win voters over. He also became notable for being the first contestant in a Simon Cowell show (Pop Idol, American Idol, The X Factor) to sing an original song (co-written with X Factor vocal coach Mark Hudson), the camp and iconic "It's Chico Time", named after his catchphrase (Chico: "What time is it?" Audience: "It's Chico Time!")

Cowell was won over during the series, commenting that Chico was a 'born entertainer', even if he wasn't the recording artist the show was looking to discover. Three weeks from the final, Chico was voted out of the competition, which was won by Shayne Ward in December 2005.

The performances by Slimani during X Factor included:

Slimani had originally planned to release "It's Chico Time" as a single before Christmas 2005, but for contractual reasons he had to wait. Chico was stated as saying "I'm absolutely loving every minute of it, and looking forward to releasing the single at last". The single was eventually released in February 2006; it entered the UK Singles Chart at number one on 5 March 2006, toppling Madonna from the top spot. It remained at number one for two weeks.

In early 2006, Slimani took part in the nationwide X Factor tour.

Slimani's follow-up single to #1 hit "It's Chico Time" was a cover of the song "D.I.S.C.O.", entered the chart at number 24 in August 2006 in the British Singles Chart. Slimani's single was an alternative version of the Ottawan hit with considerable changes in lyrics where Slimani sings: "C.H.I.C.O. on D.I.S.C.O.". He also amended the actual lyrics to "D dynamic // I incredible // S supersonic // C Chicolicious (alluding to his own name) // O oh, oh, oh".[4]

His next single, "Curvy Cola Bottle Body", was released on 8 October 2007 and reached #45 in its first week in the chart.[5] Many well-known celebrities appeared in the official video including X Factor judge Sharon Osbourne and her husband Ozzy Osbourne. Proceeds went to the British Eating Disorders Association.

Since his X factor appearance, Chico has made many public appearances all over the UK. He went on tour at Butlins,[6] performing full 45-minute sets along with a live band and dancers as part of The Chico Experience.

He also appeared in 2006 and on later occasions under his original name Yousseph Slimani in Muslim events singing Islamic songs including "Moulana", a song he composed, dedicated to Prophet Muhammad and the Awliya' (the Men of God).[7][8]

The Slimani songs "I Wanna Dance With U" and "You Take My Breath Away" were written by Roachie and produced by Danny Kirsch.[9][10] "Good Day" Another Roachie / Kirsch production was used as part of the 2007 Butlins TV adverts.[11][12]

The video for Chico's fourth single, "Are You In It For Love",[13] was premiered on his official website. It is a cover of a Ricky Martin hit. His debut album titled Lights, Camera, Action was released beginning of 2009.

In 2010, Slimani recorded a single in support of the English Football Team to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Aptly entitled "It's England Time", a play on "It's Chico Time", it uses the same tune of his previous #1 hit with amended lyrics.[14] The song was first played on The Chris Moyles Show.[15] Slimani recorded the single after having a 'vision' that England won the 2010 World Cup and that in the celebrations, commentators made reference to his Chico Time song.[16] The music video[17] was shot in Pinewood Studios and the official release date of the single was 7 June 2010. Proceeds went to Rainbow Child Foundation to help underprivileged children in Africa.

Television and acting career


Slimani is involved with a production company called Unity Films, and his daughter appeared in one of their short films, Left Holding Baby, for which Slimani composed the music. He also stars in the BAFTA-nominated 2004 short film Winner Takes All, along with his brother actor JC Mac . In 2005, he played a male stripper in Roberto Gomez Martin's Hell to Pay, a London underworld gangster film. In 2009, Slimani also appeared in 45, a psychological thrilling boxing movie also alongside JC Mac.

Personal life

Slimani is married to Daniyela Rakic, sister of 2008 and 2009 Wimbledon Men's Doubles Champion Nenad Zimonjić.[21] They have a daughter named Lalla-Khira,[22] and a son Zacharia.[23]

Slimani is a Muslim and his spiritual master was the late Nazim Al-Haqqani.[24]

Charity work

On 20 May 2006 Chico appeared on ITV's coverage of The Prince's Trust annual fundraiser. He took part in a Blind Date themed skit, being picked over Roger Moore and Richard E Grant by Dame Edna Everage.

Chico founded the Rainbow Child Foundation with his wife Daniyela and brother JC Mac, and took part in a promotional video of the foundation[25][26] to open an orphanage in Cambodia.

He went on to take part in another Rainbow Child Foundation project in Malawi and South Africa with the charity One Water to see the work carried out installing Play Pumps. In 2011, Chico went to Malawi and opened Play pumps there.

Chico's single "Curvy Cola Bottle Body" is a protest against the "Size Zero" phenomenon. As part of its promotion, Chico teamed up with the British Eating Disorders Association (beat) charity. Profits from the single were donated to the charity.

Proceeds from Chico's 2010 single "It's England Time" went to the Rainbow Child Foundation to help underprivileged children in Africa.[27]

On February 7, 2015 Chico volunteered as one of the panel judges at the Dancing Strictly 2015 live charity show held at the ArtsDepot in North Finchley, London. The event, now in its third year, raised over £20,000 for the North London Hospice charity.



The album was originally due for release in November 2006, but was shelved due to poor sales of the lead single "D.I.S.C.O.". Despite the album never being released, four singles were taken from it: "D.I.S.C.O.", "Curvy Cola Bottle Body Baby", "Are You In It For Love" and his number-one single, "It's Chico Time".

  1. "I Wanna Dance With You"
  2. "D.I.S.C.O."
  3. "Take My Breath Away"
  4. "Come With Me"
  5. "Cheeky Bow Wow"
  6. "If I'm Not The One"
  7. "Crazy"
  8. "Are You In It For Love"
  9. "Girls of The World"
  10. "Curvy Cola Bottle Body Baby"
  11. "Lights, Camera, Action"
  12. "Girls, Girls, Girls"
  13. "Good Day"
  14. "Prisoner of Love"
  15. "It's Chico Time"


Year Single Chart Positions
2006 "It's Chico Time"[28] 1 3
"D.I.S.C.O."[29] 24 39
2007 "Curvy Cola Bottle Body Baby" 45 -
"Are You In It For Love" - -
2010 "It's England Time" - -






  1. "Chico to star in stripper film". 2006-02-16. Retrieved 2015-09-19.
  2. Chico's audition at X Factor Archived 30 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. "Video of Chico's audition and performance at Osbourne's home". 2009-04-27. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
  4. "Music video for Chico Slimani's version of "D.I.S.C.O."". 2007-04-27. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
  5. "Music video for "Curvy Cola Bottle Body" by Chico Slimani". Retrieved 2011-08-15.
  6. Sign In or Sign Up. "Medley of songs performed live by Chico at Butlins". Retrieved 2011-08-15.
  7. "Chico performing ''Moulana'' at Trafalgar Square". 2009-09-29. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
  8. "Live performance of ''Moulana'' in front of a Muslim congregation". 2007-10-01. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
  9. "Song "I Wanna Dance With U" by Chico written by Roachie and produced by Danny Kirsch". 2008-10-14. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
  10. "Song "You Take My Breath Away" by Chico written by Roachie and produced by Danny Kirsch". 2008-10-14. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
  11. "Song ''Good Day'' by Chico written by Roachie and produced by Danny Kirsch". 2008-02-27. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
  12. "Канал користувача chicoofficial". YouTube. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
  13. "Music video for Chico's single ''Are You In It For Love''". 2008-04-18. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
  14. Audio of "It's England Time" by Chico Slimani Archived 15 January 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
  15. Broadcasting of "England Time" on The Chris Moyles Show Archived 10 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  16. "GMTV site: Richard Arnold interviews Chico Slimani during the taping of the song "It's England Time"". Retrieved 2011-08-15.
  17. "Music video for Chico's "It's England Time"". 2010-05-21. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
  18. "Chico Slimani Interview by Frankie Genchi". Flecking Records. 2010-05-22. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
  19. N/A, N/A (4 January 2012). "Dancing on Ice: injured Chesney Hawkes replaced by Chico". Retrieved 4 January 2012.
  20. N/A, N/A (21 June 2012). "Chico to celebrity host at Bingocams UK". Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  21. chicotime1. "chico slimani (chicotime1) op Twitter". Retrieved 2011-08-15.
  22. "The Official Chico Site". Retrieved 2011-08-15.
  23. CelebAir. ITV2. 9 October 2008.
  24. "Eid In The Square 2009 - Yousseph CHICO - Surah Fatihah and 'Moulana'". PureHeartVideo. 1 October 2009. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  25. "Rainbow Child Foundation site: Chico's page containing bio and contributions to the organization". 2006-02-27. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
  26. Rainbow Child Foundation promotional video by Slimani and others about charity work in Cambodia
  27. "X Factor Reject Chico Launches England World Cup Song". Gigwise. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
  28. "Chico - It's Chico Time - Music Charts". Retrieved 2011-08-15.
  29. "Chico - Disco - Music Charts". Retrieved 2011-08-15.
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