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Damon Albarn (born 23.3.1968)
Damon Albarn is a singer and musician. He is best known for his work with Blur and Gorillaz.
Childhood: Damon Albarn was born in the Whitechapel area of London, to Keith and Hazel Albarn. His mother was a theatrical set designer and his father once managed Soft Machine and also presented Late Night Line Up on the BBC, as well as being the head of North Essex College of Art.
Albarn grew up in Leytonstone, in a middle-class, bohemian environment. He went to school at George Tomlinson Primary School. Whilst at school, he learnt to play guitar, piano and violin.
At the age of 12, he befriended Graham Coxon, when they both studied at Stanway Comprehensive School. Three years later, Albarn won his regional heat of the Young Composer of the Year competition. He briefly studied drama at the East 15 Acting School but left after just a year. He found work as a mime artist and as a tea boy at the Beat Factory studio.
Damon Albarn then attended Goldsmiths College, where he studied music. Before forming Blur, he was in other bands, including Two's A Crowd, The Aftermath and Real Lives.
Music: Damon Albarn formed Blur in 1989 with Graham Coxon, Alex James and Dave Rowntree. They became hugely popular in the 1990s. Their album Parklife became their breakthrough album, with the lead single (also named 'Parklife') featuring the actor Phil Daniels.
When Blur released their single 'Country House' on the same date as Oasis' 'Roll With It', the music press made much of the rivalry between the two bands, with Noel Gallagher and Liam Gallagher engaging in a public slanging match with the members of Blur. Eventually, 'Country House' won the battle to the UK singles chart number one spot.
Graham Coxon left Blur in 2002 and embarked on a solo career. The band disbanded not long after that, but reformed in 2009, playing Glastonbury Festival, amongst other dates.
In 1999, Albarn collaborated with Michael Nyman to produce a score for the film Ravenous, which starred Guy Pearce and Robert Carlyle.
Damon Albarn released a solo album in 2002, entitled Mali Music. The album was conceived when he traveled to Mali in 2000 to support the work of Oxfam. In 2009, Damon Albarn was credited with producing parts of Amadou & Mariam's Welcome To Mali album.
In 2003, he released Democrazy, which was a collection of demos that he recorded in hotel rooms on the US promo tour for Blur's Think Tank album.
Damon Albarn's song 'Closet Romantic' also appeared on the soundtrack for the film adaptation for Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting, which starred Ewan McGregor.
In 2004, Albarn also made a guest appearance on Fatboy Slim's Palookaville album.
After leaving Blur, Damon Albarn formed the band Gorillaz along with Jamie Hewlett (the artist who created Tank Girl). The concept of the band is that the music is fronted by four two-dimensional animated characters, named 2-D, Murdoc, Noodle and Russel. They style of the music ranges from rock, to hip-hop and electronica. They have released two studio albums, entitled Gorillaz and Demon Days.
The Good, The Bad and The Queen is a project announced in May 2006 and features Damon Albarn, Danger Mouse (as producer), Paul Simonon of The Clash, Simon Tong of The Verve and Tony Allen (a member of Fela Kuti's Africa 70). In April 2008, The Good, The Bad & The Queen headlines Victoria Park's Love Music Hate Racism concert and were joined onstage by Jerry Dammers of The Specials.
Jamie Hewlett and Damon Albarn worked together once more, adapting the Chinese story Journey to the West and 'Monkey: Journey to the West', along with the opera director Chen Shi-zheng. The show received its world premier at the Manchester International Festival in 2007.
Personal Life: Damon Albarn had a very public, lengthy relationship with Justine Frischmann of Elastica during the 1990s.
Albarn is now in a relationship with the artist Suzi Winstanley. They have a daughter together, Missy Violet, born in 1999.
Will it just mean yet more money being generated for the biggest acts as there are calls to reform streaming payments?
In a recent open letter to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, major players in the UK music industry, including Sir Mick Jagger, Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Tom Jones, have called for a major reform of the way that they, and their fellow musicians, are paid by streaming sites. They argue that, "the law has not kept up with the pace of technological change." It is true that streaming sites pay in a different way to how payments were and are calculated for radio air play, but does that mean that the payment is too small or that the way it is calculated needs to change?
It was recently reported by the BBC that, "On streaming services, labels retain the majority of the money - with the artist receiving about 13% on average, and session musicians receiving nothing." This compares to a radio payment model where "royalties are split evenly between the record label and the artists/songwriters, with a small portion going to session musicians and backing performers, a system known as equitable remuneration."
Gorillaz first album saw a concept realised in full, challenged stereotypes and paved the way for more adventurous musical exploration.
Two decades ago the popular musical landscape was changed substantially by a creation that embraced a cohesive fusion between music and virtual reality in a way that had not been explored on such a scale before. With the advent of Gorillaz there was something new, something vital and something to challenge the turgid norm that permeated much of the music scene around the turn of the century. Brit Pop was in the death throws of it's final spluttering breathe, dance music was reaching a point of mild stagnation and Hip-Hop was limping along to the familiar tune of Jay-Z and Naz.
In a near perfect storm of coincidence and creative longing, Blur were also in a state of fluctuating turmoil. There were on-going differences beginning to surface within the band, and tensions were high. Graham Coxon in particular was unhappy with the direction of the band, and it's musical output. This, coupled with a yearning desire to explore wider musical channels, and realise creative goals that were not deemed possible within Blur at the time, gave Damon Albarn the ideal set of circumstances in which he could seize his moment.
13 was released on this day (March 15th) in 1999.
It's been 20 years since Britpop extraordinaires Blur unveiled their Mercury Prize nominated sixth album 13; a record which was very different sonically and thematically from their previous work, but nonetheless became their fourth consecutive number one album in the UK upon its release.
Blur - 13
13 saw a strong departure from their initial Britpop sound with William Orbit (Madonna, Beth Orton) taking over from previous producer Stephen Street. This time they took on a more alternative rock direction with pronounced electronic tones.
Continue reading: Album Of The Week: The 20th Anniversary Of Blur's Experimental Album 13
The latest music news rounded up, including a first album in 11 years from Damon Albarn's The Good, The Bad & The Queen.
Drake BREAKS BEATLES CHART RECORD
Rap megastar Drake has just overhauled a Billboard chart record held by The Beatles for over half a century, after his new track with Bad Bunny landed in the top ten this week.
The 32 year old’s guest spot on ‘MIA’ means that he’s now had 12 songs reach the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 2018 – the most that any artist has had in a single year. It meant that a chart record that had stood for 54 years, when The Beatles scored 11 top ten hits in 1964 when both ‘I Feel Fine’ and ‘She’s A Woman’ entered the charts in America on December 26th that year.
'The Now Now' will be released on June 29th, and two new teaser tracks have appeared - 'Humility' and 'Lake Zurich'.
Speaking to Zane Lowe on Beats 1, the former Blur frontman confirmed that Gorillaz’ sixth studio album will be released on June 29th, titled The Now Now. It comes a little over a year after the project’s last record, Humanz, was released to critical acclaim.
Gorillaz, consisting of Albarn and animator Jamie Hewlett, are renowned for using a galaxy of guest stars to bring their studio creations to life, but the sixth album features very few outside collaborators. However, in typical fashion, the few they have chosen are stellar, including hip-hop star Snoop Dogg and legendary American guitarist George Benson.
Continue reading: Gorillaz Confirm New Album 'The Now Now'
Famous rocker Steve Earle has calls Noel Gallagher ''the most overrated songwriter ever'' and praised Damon Albarn.
The 'Copperheard Road' hitmaker has slammed the Oasis legend's lyrical ability and thinks his band rocketed to fame in the 1990s because they ''behaved badly'', but hailed fellow British musician Damon Albarn - who sang and penned tracks in rival group Blur - a ''real f**king songwriter''.
He told The Guardian newspaper: ''I dislike Man City because it is Oasis's club. Noel Gallagher is the most overrated songwriter in the whole history of pop music. They were perfect for the Brit press because they behaved badly and got all the attention. Blur were really great. That guy Damon Albarn is a real f**kin' songwriter.''
Continue reading: Steve Earle: Noel Gallagher Is 'most Overrated Songwriter Ever'
Damon Albarn insists he has ''no agenda'' with Gorillaz and loves that they can record anything and make it work.
The 49-year-old singer loves the fact his animated band are able to adapt to whatever he is writing or whatever musical direction he is keen to explore and insists it doesn't matter if their songs don't match up with collaborator JAMIE HEWLETT's drawings of band members 2D, Murdoc, Russel and Noodle.
He said: ''I don't think that matters.
Continue reading: Gorillaz Have No Agenda
The animated group are coming back, with 2016 set to be ‘Gorillaz all year,’ according to Hewlett.
JAMIE HEWLETT has confirmed that Gorillaz will soon be returning with a new album. The artist who is preparing to host an exhibition at London's Saatchi Gallery, titled The Suggetionists, said the band are planning to release their new album next year and make 2016 all about Gorillaz.
Damon Albarn’s Gorillaz are set for a return in 2016.
When asked about a new Gorillaz album, Hewlett told DIY magazine, "That's next year. I'm working on it at the moment, and it's going very well. I'm very excited. I don't want to say too much about it, but I'm at that phase of experimentation.”
Continue reading: Jamie Hewlett Confirms New Gorillaz Album And 2016 Plans
With ‘No Distance Left To Run’, Damon Albarn was ‘Out Of Time’ on Saturday evening.
Blur frontman Damon Albarn just didn’t know when to call it a night on Saturday evening and ending up being carried from the stage after playing a five-hour set. Albarn embarked on the lengthly set at Denmark’s Roskilde festival, where he was appearing with his Africa Express side project, which also features Nick Zinner from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Damon Albarn had to be forcibly removed from the stage on Sunday night.
At 4am festival organisers came onstage to ask Albarn to put an end the show, with the Blur frontman refusing to stop the party. Taking a microphone Albarn told the audience, : "F--k what everyone says. You want more, we're going to give you more." Before encouraging the crowd to chant ‘more’.
The Blur frontman's newest venture, wonder.land, has been described as "disappointing"
Just days after Blur frontman Damon Albarn declared that his latest project wonder.land would be "a little controversial", critics have chosen to disagree and have instead branded the storybook inspired musical "disappointing".
Directed by National Theatre’s Rufus Norris, wonder.land features many of the outrageous characters from Lewis Carroll’s original book, Alice in Wonderland, and tells the story of a 21st Century teen who becomes immersed in a psychedelic online game.
Damon Albarn's score of musical wonder'.land has not been met with praise
Continue reading: Damon Albarn's Musical Hasn't Received A Positive Reception From Critics
Damon Albarn Sunday 27th April 2008 The Good, The Bad and the Queen performing at the 'Love Music Hate Racism Carnival' held in Victoria Park. London, England
Date of birth
23rd March, 1968
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Physical versions of The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows available for pre-order. Including limited… https://t.co/VNo4P9xn0b
Thank you @LatitudeFest. https://t.co/wzIz92e0U3
RT @RollingStoneita: Il nuovo album di @Damonalbarn è una meditazione sulla natura, la vita e la morte scritta cercando di tradurre in note…
Playing the Waterfront Stage @LatitudeFest this Saturday at 7:55pm https://t.co/GFefO3XzkP
See the birds they have been taken by the wind, they are not together now. - Polaris lyric video up on YouTube:… https://t.co/RU3ttzCn8y
Live in Manchester. Thank you @MIFestival https://t.co/rchXR9mblj
New Polaris visualiser is up on YouTube. https://t.co/gmr4Biaaft https://t.co/Dp9cNuGNfT
Saturday 24th July @LatitudeFest. https://t.co/xzWN5hIAuH https://t.co/HODGSqDAPL
RT @SpotifyUK: Get taken away to #Polaris with the dreamy new @Damonalbarn single 🦅 https://t.co/qbchp0IPV3 https://t.co/CQIHmqUj24
Polaris. The second release from The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows, is available now. Watch the l… https://t.co/GezyeIuzQL
In conversation with @MarkRonson for @thefader. Listen to the podcast here: https://t.co/Z35fdc3XKU https://t.co/3vDuwYtqVY
The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows, lyric video. Watch the full version on YouTube:… https://t.co/BsL9G4QtG2
RT @NME: [email protected]: “I had to do something to lift me out of these storms” The icon tells NME about his new solo album 'The Nearer Th…
Live performance from @glastonbury Worthy Farm is up on @BBCiPlayer. Watch here: https://t.co/UqdH8RAFHL @bbcglasto https://t.co/qZwAp4iTOX
RT @SpotifyUK: John Clare poetry gets the @damonalbarn treatment on 'The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows' ⛲️ https://t.co/…
RT @XrRebel: Acclaimed musician @Damonalbarn & @CapitalChoir has joined Writers Rebel @ackroyd_harvey @benokri to ask the world "Can't you…
I have been on my own dark journey while making this record and it led me to believe that a pure source might still… https://t.co/S37gCtDNqd