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Famous Like Me > Singer > A > Damon Albarn

Profile of Damon Albarn on Famous Like Me

Name: Damon Albarn  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 23rd March 1968
Place of Birth: Leytonstone, London, England
Profession: Singer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
Albarn singing in the video for "Beetlebum"

Damon Albarn, born March 23, 1968 in Leytonstone, London, is a British vocalist and keyboardist who initially gained fame as the lead singer of rock band Blur. Though Blur has not disbanded, Albarn has been more active as of late as a member of Gorillaz and as a solo artist.

Early years

Albarn's early life was spent living in Leytonstone with his parents Hazel and Keith and his sister Jessica. His family then lived in Turkey for a brief few months. When he turned ten, his family moved to Colchester, Essex, England due to the needs of his father's teaching career. Albarn then attended Stanway Comprehensive School there and was often referred to as "weird" or gay by his peers. He met future Blur guitarist Graham Coxon at school and found they both liked similar bands, such as the Jam, the Kinks, and the Human League.

After finishing comprehensive school, Albarn moved to London to attend drama school, losing contact with Coxon. He concluded after one year's stay that he was a terrible actor and instead took up writing and performing music. Some of the songs he wrote in his early recording days later became Blur songs, such as "Birthday" on their debut album, Leisure. At the age of fifteen, he won an award for "Young Composer of the Year".


In 1988, Albarn enrolled at Goldsmiths College in New Cross, London, England; he took a part-time course which he claims he did "just to get on campus". There, he met up with Coxon once more. After recording a number of demo tapes together, the two formed "the Circus," at which point Coxon introduced Albarn to Alex James. With the addition of Dave Rowntree, the band began playing as "Seymour". Before long the band was signed to Food Records and changed its name to Blur.

As of 2005 Blur has released seven full-length albums, five of which went to #1 in the United Kingdom and all of which reached the top 40. Albarn wrote the lyrics to nearly every song performed by the band since their formation. He has publicly stated he is waiting for the return of Graham Coxon, who left the band prior to the release of Think Tank, to produce more Blur material.


Albarn formed virtual hip-hop band Gorillaz with Tank Girl creator Jamie Hewlett in 1999. With a decidedly ambiguous line-up, the group has released two full-length studio albums to date. Their music has featured contributions from DJ Danger Mouse, Simon Tong (who also played guitar for Blur in live performances) and Ike Turner, among others.

Gorillaz and Demon Days have done well in both the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as their respective hit singles "Clint Eastwood", "Feel Good Inc." and "DARE".

Solo career

Albarn released Mali Music in 2002. As the name suggests, the album's recording sessions were done in Mali, a trip he made to support Oxfam in 2000. He has also visited Nigeria to record music with African drummer Tony Allen. Albarn says he would like to produce a Blur album in Baghdad as he "likes the Iraqi style of music".

He also released Democrazy in 2003, a collection of demos he recorded while staying in hotel rooms on the U.S. portion of Blur's tour for Think Tank.

Albarn has also appeared on other unrelated works. His song "Closet Romantic" appeared on the soundtrack for Trainspotting alongside an early Blur recording, "Sing". Fatboy Slim's 2004 release Palookaville featured Albarn's vocals on the song "Put It Back Together".

Personal life

Albarn had a long-standing relationship with Elastica frontwoman Justine Frischmann. His involvement with her profoundly influenced his songwriting in Blur in the late 1990s. "Beetlebum," opening track and chart-topping hit single from Blur, is said to be about Frischmann's heroin addiction. 13, Blur's sixth album, presents strong overtones brought about by their break-up. He currently lives in Notting Hill, London, England with artist Suzi Winstanley. Their daughter, Missy, was born in 1999.

Albarn is openly anti-war and has spoken out against wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2002 he took out full page advertisments in the NME challenging the need for war, along with Robert Del Naja of Massive Attack, which they paid for personally. He also complained that Bob Geldof's Live 8 did not feature enough black or African acts, resulting in the addition of several non-white perfomances to the program.


For detailed Blur and Gorillaz discographies, see their respective articles: Blur, Gorillaz.

  • Ravenous (movie soundtrack) 1999 Written and performed by Damon Albarn and Michael Nyman.
  • 101 Reykjavík (movie soundtrack) - March 4th, 2002
  • Mali Music - April 15th, 2002
  • Democrazy (10" vinyl release) - December 8th, 2003

Sources and external links

  • Collection of articles regarding Albarn and Blur
  • Albarn's Mali mission - BBC News
  • Blur biography
  • Damon Albarn interview
  • Blur information

Band members: Damon Albarn | (Graham Coxon) | Alex James | Dave Rowntree

Albums: Leisure | Modern Life Is Rubbish | Parklife | The Great Escape | Blur | 13 | Think Tank

Compilations:The Special Collectors Edition | 10 Year Anniversary Box Set | Bustin' + Dronin' | Blur: The Best Of

See also: Britpop | Gorillaz | Fat Les | Stephen Street

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Damon Albarn