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Galen Ayers

As a soloist, singer/songwriter Galen Ayers embellishes her bittersweet melodies with a lyrical depth that reflects both nuanced emotion and social consciousness. Following the release of her solo debut album, Monument, in 2018, she teamed up with former Clash bassist Paul Simonon for the retro-rock-flavored Can We Do Tomorrow Another Day? (2023). Hailing from a musical family -- her father was English singer/songwriter Kevin Ayers -- Galen Ayers was born in a commune in France in '70s that also included members of Tangerine Dream and Caravan. Her time there was brief, and she was raised bilingual primarily in Deià, Spain, learning music though community activities and individual practice rather than formal study. She later lived with her mother and stepfather in Sóller, Majorca. Social and environmental activism became key concerns for Ayers as a teen and informed her music as she began writing for London-area bands -- among them, Drugstore -- as a university student. (She studied ethnomusicology and religion as an undergrad.) Around that time, she began a series of collaborations with film director Mike Figgis, including singing in one of his commercials. Ayers went on to eventually complete two master's degrees, one in Buddhism and one in the psychology of religion. In the meantime, an early solo demo led to an invitation to stay with Talking Heads' Chris Franz and Tina Weymouth in New York, a period that included opportunities to work on unreleased material with them as well as Tom Verlaine. Returning to London, she formed bands including Galen and Siskin. A duo with Kirsty Newton, Siskin toured Europe and the U.K., where they received radio support on multiple BBC outlets. Their eponymous album saw release in 2009. Kevin Ayers' death in 2013 not only prompted Galen to work on a solo debut album but informed some of the songs. His death also inspired the early-2018 release of "Girl on a Swing," a duet version of the song featuring an archival recording of her father. The non-album single was followed that July by the full-length Monument. Written mostly during a two-year retreat to the Greek Island of Hydra, it was later recorded with musician/producer Paul Simm (Amy Winehouse, Neneh Cherry). Ayers went on to tour Japan in 2019. Ayers partnered with a different Paul, Paul Simonon, best known as bass player for the Clash, for her next musical endeavor. Calling themselves Galen & Paul, the duo signed with Sony, which released singles beginning with "Lonely Town" in early 2023. Stylistically more retro-rock-minded than Ayers' solo material, and featuring both musicians on lead vocals, the duo delivered the album Can We Do Tomorrow Another Day? in May of that year.
© Marcy Donelson /TiVo
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