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Alison Goldfrapp

Thanks to her alluring, multi-octave voice and wide-ranging influences, Alison Goldfrapp has left an adventurous mark on electronic and pop music as a collaborator and solo artist. Working with Orbital and Tricky in the mid-'90s soon led to her partnership with composer Will Gregory as the multi-platinum-selling and award-winning duo Goldfrapp, where her quicksilver vocals held together a body of work that borrowed from folk, cabaret, classical, disco, techno, '80s pop, and glam rock. Though the duo's most danceable work was often their most successful -- 2005's Supernature and 2010's Head First both debuted in the Top Ten in the U.K. and earned Grammy nominations in the U.S. -- quieter albums like 2000's Felt Mountain and 2013's Tales of Us were just as powerful in their own right. In the 2020s, Alison Goldfrapp pursued stylishly creative music on her own while her group was on hiatus, blending euphoric grooves and thoughts about aging and climate change into deceptively breezy club workouts on 2023's The Love Invention. Born in Enfield, London, Alison Goldfrapp was the youngest in a family of six children that moved frequently during her early years. Once they settled in Alton, Hampshire, she first studied at the Alton Convent School, where she sang in the choir, and then at Amery Hill School, where she stood out because of her punk outfits and love of disco. As a teen, she spent several years traveling Europe, absorbing music from artists including Donna Summer, T. Rex, Kate Bush, Iggy Pop, and Serge Gainsbourg. By the time she was 20, she had returned to the U.K.; as a fine art painting major at Middlesex University, she incorporated mixed sound, visuals, and performances in her installation pieces. Along with writing her own songs, Alison Goldfrapp collaborated with other artists. In 1994, she appeared on Orbital's album Snivilisation and recorded two songs on Dreadzone's The Good the Bad and the Dread: The Best of Dreadzone. The following year, she lent her vocals to Stefan Girardet's music for the film The Confessional and Tricky's Maxinquaye. After a mutual friend gave some of her demos to composer/producer/multi-instrumentalist Will Gregory -- who studied Western orchestral and chamber music at the University of York and went on to perform with artists and ensembles including Tears for Fears, Peter Gabriel, the Cure, and the London Sinfonietta -- the pair decided to work together. Taking Alison's surname as the moniker for their collaboration, Goldfrapp began their acclaimed, shape shifting career with their September 2000 debut album Felt Mountain. Though it reflected the trip-hop boom of its time, it also revealed more unexpected influences such as folk and cabaret, and its distinctively glamorous sound led to a gold certification in the U.K. as well as a place on the Mercury Prize shortlist. Goldfrapp leaned into their love of disco, glam-rock and techno on April 2003's seductive Black Cherry, which went platinum in the U.K. and spawned the Ivor Novello Award-winning hit single "Strict Machine." The duo doubled down on its dance leanings with their August 2005 breakthrough Supernature. Certified platinum in the U.K., the album earned a Grammy nomination for Best Electronic/Dance Album in 2007 (the album's glammy single "Ooh La La" snagged a Grammy nomination for Best Dance Recording). Goldfrapp moved in a drastically different direction with February 2008's The Seventh Tree, a set of soothing ambient and folk-tinged songs that was certified gold in the U.K. They switched gears again on March 2010's Head First, touching on the joyous sounds of the Pointer Sisters, Van Halen and Olivia Newton-John, and earning a Grammy nomination for Best Electronic/Dance Album in 2011; the single "Rocket" received a nomination for Best Dance Recording. The duo revisited the moody introspection of Felt Mountain and The Seventh Tree on September 2013's Tales of Us, a top five hit in the U.K. that also made the top ten in several European countries. On March 2017's Silver Eye, Goldfrapp balanced their danceable and reflective sides, resulting in another top ten chart placement in the U.K. Following Silver Eye's release, the members of Goldfrapp took a break from their work as a duo, which earned them an Ivor Novello Inspiration Award in 2021. Gregory concentrated on composing, writing the music for the Royal Shakespeare Company's 2019 production of King John and scoring the 2022 thriller series Chloe (which also featured contributions from Alison Goldfrapp and Adrian Utley). Alison Goldfrapp focused on directing and photography before returning to music in the early 2020s. She sang on two songs from Röyksopp's Profound Mysteries album trilogy, a project that spurred her to build the home recording studio where she created much of her first solo album. Working with producers including Claptone, Paul Woolford, James Greenwood, and Head First collaborator Richard X, Alison Goldfrapp drew on Italo disco, bossa nova, and more for the smoothly grooving, club-oriented sounds of May 2023's The Love Invention.
© Heather Phares /TiVo


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