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Gary Kemp

Best known as the guitarist and chief songwriter in British new romantic outfit Spandau Ballet, Gary Kemp has seen his career range from playing sold-out shows across the globe to treading the boards of London's West End and acting in Hollywood blockbusters. Throughout this time, he also released two solo albums, 1995's Little Bruises and 2021's INSOLO. Born and raised in North London, Kemp, alongside his brother, Martin, had a regular childhood, attending local schools as well as a being an active member of a children's drama club. Kemp scored his first leading role in 1972, with a part in the David Eady-directed movie, Hide and Seek, but music also played a key role in his life. Inspired by seeing the Sex Pistols play in Islington in 1976, Kemp formed a band with fellow schoolmates Tony Hadley, John Keeble, and Steve Norman. Although the group went through various name changes and musical styles, they started to earn positive reviews for their live shows, and by 1979, Kemp's brother, Martin, had joined on bass, with the band had settling on the name Spandau Ballet. With their fresh take on synth pop and new wave resonating with a young audience, the group found themselves as key players in the London club scene, while also spearheading the new romantic movement. Kemp and co. became international pop stars over their 11-year career, earning plaudits for their albums -- including 1983's True -- and scoring numerous chart-topping singles. By 1990 the group had split, and Kemp, alongside his brother, returned to their acting roots, being cast as notorious London gangsters the Kray Twins in the 1990 movie The Krays. Over the next few years, Kemp continued acting, scoring roles in the international blockbuster The Bodyguard and the Roger Avary-directed crime film Killing Zoe. Kemp returned to music in 1995, releasing his debut solo album, Little Bruises, which saw him working with former Bow Wow Wow member Leigh Gorman. Following a subsequent solo tour, Kemp returned to acting, earning roles on British television as well as performing on the West End. In 2009, Spandau Ballet reunited, playing sold-out shows across the world and issuing an album, Once More. Kemp continued to split his time between touring and acting over the next few years before being invited to join former Pink Floyd member Nick Mason's Saucerful of Secrets in 2018, adding vocals and guitar to the reimagining of classic Floyd material. The group toured the live show throughout 2019 while work with Spandau Ballet was put on hold. The following year, Kemp started to write new material for what would become his sophomore album. Working with longtime collaborator Toby Chapman, he recorded the material at the legendary RAK Studios in London, while bringing in a wealth of talent, including the Feeling's Richard Jones, Saucerful member Guy Pratt, and brother Martin. The resulting album, INSOLO, was issued in mid-2021.
© Rich Wilson /TiVo

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