Shirley Bassey was born on January 8, 1937, in Cardiff, Wales. Of mixed-race heritage (with an English mother and a Nigerian father), Bassey reached a level of international acclaim that few other black British performers had seen before her. Dame Shirley Bassey career began when she was 15, singing in pubs and clubs around the Tiger Bay district of Cardiff, where she grew up. She recorded numerous hits throughout her career, including the theme songs for three James Bond films: Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever and Moonraker. Shirley Bassey Biography and Profile.