Damon Albarn, OBE is an English musician, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer. He is best known as the singer of the British rock band Blur as well as co-founder, vocalist, instrumentalist. After spending long periods of time touring the US, Albarns songwriting became influenced by British bands from the 1960s. The result of these came in the form of Modern Life Is Rubbish, Parklife. All three albums received critical acclaim while Blur gained mass popularity in the UK, aided by a Britpop rivalry with Oasis, subsequent albums such as Blur,13, Think Tank and The Magic Whip contained influences from lo-fi, electronic and hip hop music. Along with Tank Girl creator Jamie Hewlett, Albarn formed the virtual band Gorillaz in 1998, drawing influences from alternative rock, trip hop, hip hop, electronica, dub, reggae and pop music, the band released their self-titled debut album in 2001 to worldwide success. Although Albarn is the only permanent musical contributor, the albums feature collaborations from a range of artists. Gorillaz are cited by the Guinness Book of World Records as the Most Successful Virtual Band and he has also ventured into the world of opera with Dr Dee and Monkey, Journey to the West. In 2008 The Daily Telegraph ranked Albarn number 18 in their list of the 100 most powerful people in British culture, in a 2010 UK poll for Q magazine Albarn was voted the fourth-greatest frontman of all time. He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 2016 New Year Honours for services to music, Albarn was born on 23 March 1968, is the eldest child of artist Keith Albarn and his wife Hazel, née Dring. Their daughter Jessica, born in 1971, also went on to become an artist, Keith Albarn, originally from Nottinghamshire, was briefly the manager of Soft Machine and once a guest on BBCs Late Night Line-Up. He was head of The School of Art and Design at Colchester Institute, damons paternal grandfather Edward, an architect, had been a conscientious objector during the Second World War and was involved in a farming community in Lincolnshire, becoming a peace activist. In 2002 Edward Albarn died, Damon stated in an interview that Edward did not want to any longer. The Apollo Cumfycraft and The Tailendcharlie produced by his fathers company Keith Albarn & Partners Ltd under the trade-name of Playlearn, when Damon and Jessica were growing up, their family moved to Leytonstone, East London. The household was described as bohemian and their upbringing as liberal, Albarn agreed with his parents views, later claiming, I always thought my parents were absolutely dead right. I went against the grain in a weird way – by continually following them and his parents primarily listened to blues, Indian ragas and African music. The population of the area was predominantly white as opposed to the ethnically mixed part of London which he had used to. He described himself as not really fitting in with the politics of the place, Albarn was interested in music from an early age, attending an Osmonds concert at the age of six
Image: Damon Albarn Gorillaz Roskilde Festival 2010
Coxon (left) and Albarn on stage at the Newcastle Academy in June 2009.