Olly Alexander is the singer representing the UK on the Eurovision Track Contest 2024, which is able to happen in Malmö, Sweden, in Could.
Aged 33, Alexander isn’t any stranger to the stage, being higher identified to music followers because the frontman of pop band Years & Years, in addition to a star of hit TV reveals together with Channel 4’s critically acclaimed drama, It’s a Sin.
Right here’s all the things we learn about him:
Born in Harrogate, north Yorkshire, then raised in Blackpool, Alexander developed a love of music from a younger age. His mum, Vicki Thornton, co-founded the Coleford Music Competition within the Forest of Dean – the place the household moved when Alexander was in his teenagers – and advised the BBC that her son honed his performing abilities there.
Alexander dropped out of faculty after touchdown early appearing roles in reveals resembling Skins, in addition to a small half within the Oscar-nominated movie Brilliant Star, reverse Ben Whishaw.
He joined Years & Years, shaped by Mikey Goldsworthy, Emre Turkmen and Noel Leeman, after Goldsworthy heard him singing within the bathe after a mutual pal’s social gathering; Turkmen, Goldsworthy and Alexander signed a file deal as a trio in 2013.
That yr, Alexander additionally appeared onstage with Whishaw and Judi Dench on the Noel Coward Theatre, in a manufacturing of Peter and Alice. In 2014, he starred alongside Sam Claflin, Douglas Sales space and Max Irons in Riot Membership, a movie a few fictional, unique all-male eating membership at Oxford College.
Years & Years fame
Years & Years gained traction with early singles together with “Want”, which peaked at No 22 on the UK Singles Chart. In March 2015, the band launched their first album Communion, which debuted on the prime of the charts, two months after they had been topped because the winners of the BBC’s Sound of 2015 Ballot. They adopted the file’s launch with additional hit singles together with “Shine” and “Eyes Shut”.
Alexander cited R&B acts resembling TLC and Aaliyah as influences in a 2015 interview withThe Guardian: “They wrote unhappy songs – [TLC’s hit] ‘Waterfalls’ is de facto unhappy.
“I get nostalgic for that once I’m writing for Years & Years, and possibly [the sadness] will get into our songs by osmosis.”
Since changing into a public determine, Alexander, who’s homosexual, has been a vocal campaigner for LGBT+ rights in addition to these combating psychological well being points. He fronted the 2017 BBC documentary, Rising Up Homosexual, by which he addressed the problems nonetheless confronted by the LGBT+ neighborhood, and spoke about his personal experiences of bullying and homophobic abuse.
“There’s entrenched homophobia behind the scenes in any respect ranges of the music trade,” he advised The Unbiased in an interview in 2018, across the launch of Years & Years’s second album, Palo Santo.
“It’s obtained so a lot better, however I feel it’s gonna take a radical shift earlier than these males who’re in charge of the funds and the labels and the radio stations are gonna be OK with overt queerness. They see it as turning off a part of the viewers.”
A yr later, he delivered an impassioned speech at Glastonbury Competition throughout Years & Years’s efficiency, shortly after the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall riots.
“I discuss being homosexual – you may need already observed a number of the refined messaging on stage – however I’m homosexual and I discuss being homosexual type of so much,” Alexander mentioned.
“I’m positive some folks want I might shut up about it generally, however I’ve my causes and a few of them are private, as a result of I spent such a very long time wishing I wasn’t homosexual, being ashamed of that, so now it’s like I’m making up for misplaced time, you already know?”
He continued: “The one cause I’m even capable of be up right here speaking about my homosexual self is due to all of the folks that have got here earlier than me that fought for the rights of lesbian, homosexual, bisexual and transgender folks.
“Typically we’re known as the acronym LBGT, generally LGBTQ+, I personally like to make use of the phrase queer, however numerous folks don’t like that phrase, and that’s as a result of the phrase has a sophisticated and painful historical past. And whether or not we prefer it or not, historical past actually issues.”
Alexander went on to star in the 2021 drama It’s a Sin. Written and created by Russell T Davies, the five-part Channel 4 sequence adopted a gaggle of homosexual males in London at the beginning of the Aids epidemic.
The present and its forged acquired near-unanimous reward, with Alexander nominated for Greatest Actor on the Baftas and Critics’ Alternative Awards for his efficiency as Ritchie.
He has additionally appeared in reveals together with the seventh sequence of Channel 4’s teen drama Skins as Jakob the pal/stalker of most important character Cassie, and movies together with Brilliant Star, concerning the romantic relationship between poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne, and The Riot Membership, a few group of privileged college students in a fictional unique, all-male eating membership on the College of Oxford.
He has additionally appeared as himself on reveals together with Movie star Gogglebox and RuPaul’s Drag Race UK.
Years & Years cut up
In March that yr, Years & Years shared an announcement to Instagram that their forthcoming third album, Night time Name, can be a solo venture by Alexander launched below the band identify.
Goldsworthy continued to tour with Alexander, whereas Turkmen works as a author and producer with different artists. He additionally has his personal band, Exit Child.
“Bands are like marriages,” Alexander advisedThe Guardian in a 2022 interview. “Any separation is tough, and I feel it went in addition to it may, with us.”
Eurovision Track Contest 2024
Alexander was introduced as the UK’s entry for the Eurovision Track Contest 2024 in December final yr, in the course of the reside ultimate of BBC present Strictly Come Dancing.
Talking to host Claudia Winkleman, the singer mentioned: “I like Eurovision a lot, it’s a dream come true. I’m simply so, so excited.”
Written by Alexander and Danny L Harle (producer for artists together with Dua Lipa, Stylish and Charli XCX), Alexander’s music “Dizzy” was previewed on the pop star’s social media on Wednesday night (7 February). It will likely be formally launched on 1 March.
Delivered over an uplifting, digital beat, the music consists of the lyrics: “Time has frozen, all recollections misplaced/ So gained’t you make me dizzy to your kisses/ Will you are taking my hand and steer me/ Spherical and spherical till the second by no means ends.”
“Good day!” Alexander wrote on X/Twitter, alongside a clip of him performing the music from a balcony. “Right here’s the primary tease of my [Eurovision] music ‘Dizzy’! Oh I’m so excited!!!! I like you!!”