Alison Moyet

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Alison Moyet
MBE
AlisonMoyet2011.jpg
Moyet performing live in Hanover, Lower Saxony, Germany in November 2011
Background information
Birth nameGeneviève Alison-Jane Moyet
Also known asAlf
Born (1961-06-18) 18 June 1961 (age 60)
Billericay, Essex, England, United Kingdom
Genres
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter
Years active1981–present
Labels
Associated acts
Website www.alisonmoyetmusic.com

Geneviève Alison-Jane Ballard MBE (néeMoyet; /ˈmɔɪ./ MOY-ay; born 18 June 1961) is an English singer, songwriter and performer noted for her powerful bluesy contralto voice. She came to prominence as half of the duo Yazoo (also known as Yaz), but has since mainly worked as a solo artist.

Contents

Her worldwide album sales have reached a certified 23 million, with over two million singles sold. All nine of her studio albums and three compilation albums have charted in the top 30 of the UK Albums Chart, with two of them reaching number one. She has also achieved nine top 30 singles and six top 10 hits on the UK Singles Chart. [1] Her most recent album, her ninth, Other , was released 16 June 2017. [2]

Early life

Moyet was born Geneviève Alison Jane Moyet [3] in the Essex town of Billericay to a French father and English mother. [4] She grew up in the nearby town of Basildon, where she attended Janet Duke Junior School and then Nicholas Comprehensive at secondary level. [5] [6] After leaving school at 16, she worked as a shop assistant and trained as a piano tuner. She was involved in a number of punk rock, pub rock and blues bands in the South East Essex area during the late 1970s and early 1980s, including the Vandals, [4] the Screamin' Ab Dabs, the Vicars and the Little Roosters [4] (the latter featuring Garrie Lammin, formerly of Cock Sparrer).

Music career

1980s: Yazoo and solo beginnings

At the age of 20, Moyet's mainstream pop career began in 1982 with the formation of the synthpop duo Yazoo with former Depeche Mode member Vince Clarke. In the United States, the band operated under the name Yaz, due to trademark issues with the Yazoo Records record label already operating in the region. Yazoo had several hits, including "Only You", "Don't Go", "Situation" and "Nobody's Diary", and recorded two albums, Upstairs at Eric's and You and Me Both .

In 1983, Clarke decided to disband Yazoo. While Clarke went on to form The Assembly (another duo, this time with Eric Radcliffe) and then Erasure (a duo again, with Andy Bell), Moyet signed to CBS, and began her solo career. In 1984, Moyet released her debut solo album Alf (titled after her punk-era nickname). [7] Alf was produced by the record producing and songwriting team of Jolley & Swain. [7] The album was co-written by the duo and Moyet, with the exception of "Invisible", which was written for Moyet by Lamont Dozier. [7] The record was a hit in Britain, reaching No. 1 in the album chart. Alf spawned three international hit singles, "Love Resurrection" (UK No. 10), "Invisible" (UK No. 21) and "All Cried Out" (UK No. 8). In the US, "Invisible" was a Top 40 hit. In some European territories, a fourth single, "For You Only", was also released.

In 1985, Moyet performed at Live Aid alongside Paul Young and later returned unscheduled to the stage (alongside Bob Geldof, David Bowie and Pete Townshend) to provide vocals on "Let It Be" when Paul McCartney's vocal microphone at his piano failed, leaving him unable to be heard for the first stanza of the song. (Twenty years later, he overdubbed his vocal for the Live Aid DVD release.) Moyet also released a single not featured on Alf, a cover of the standard "That Ole Devil Called Love", which climbed to No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart (it remains Moyet's highest-charting UK single).

Moyet had another big UK hit the following year with "Is This Love?" (co-written by Eurythmics' Dave Stewart, under the pseudonym Jean Guiot), [8] followed in 1987 by her second LP, Raindancing . Raindancing spawned further hit singles, including a cover of Floy Joy's "Weak in the Presence of Beauty" and "Ordinary Girl". In 1987, she scored another cover hit with "Love Letters", which peaked at UK No. 4. The video for the song featured comedy duo French & Saunders.

1990s: Further recordings and hiatus

Following a period of personal and career evaluation, she released Hoodoo in 1991. The album sold respectably in the UK, and Moyet was nominated for a Grammy for the single "It Won't Be Long". However, the release of Hoodoo marked the beginning of an eight-year fight for Moyet to secure complete control of her artistic direction. [9] Like many similar artists (including Aimee Mann and the late Kirsty MacColl), Moyet was reluctant to record a radio-friendly "pop" album simply for the sake of creating chart hits. [9]

Moyet's next album, Essex (1994), was also a source of controversy for her; in order for the album to be released, her label (now Sony) insisted that certain Essex tracks be re-recorded and re-produced, and that there be additional material remixed to create a more 'commercial' package. The video for the single "Whispering Your Name" again featured Dawn French.

Following the release of Essex, Sony released a greatest hits compilation of Moyet's work. Singles entered the UK charts at No. 1 and, following a UK tour, was re-issued as a double CD set which included "Live (No Overdubs)", a bonus live CD. Upon re-issue, Singles charted again, this time in the Top 20.

Due to prolonged litigation with Sony, Moyet did not record or release a new studio album for over eight years after the release of Essex. [9] During this time, however, she recorded vocals for Tricky, Sylk-130, Ocean Colour Scene, The Lightning Seeds, and King Britt, [9] and was featured on the British leg of the Lilith Fair tour. 2001 saw the release of The Essential Alison Moyet CD, and in 2002 The Essential Alison Moyet DVD.

In 1995, she sang back-up vocals with Sinéad O'Connor for one of Dusty Springfield's last television appearances, singing "Where Is a Woman to Go?" on the music show Later With Jools Holland .

2000s: Return to recording and touring

In August 2002, Moyet was released from her Sony contract. Moyet signed to Sanctuary Records and released her first studio album in eight years. Hometime was produced by The Insects, who had also produced works by Massive Attack and Madonna. The release of the CD launched Moyet into the top five best-selling female UK artists of 2002, [10] and resulted in a BRIT Awards nomination for Best Female Vocalist, [11] as well as a nomination for the Mercury Music Prize. [12] Hometime was certified gold in the UK for sales in excess of 100,000 copies, with little promotion.

Voice , a collection of cover versions, was released on 6 September 2004 and entered the UK charts at No. 7. Scored and produced by Moyet's neighbour (and Academy Award winner) Anne Dudley, the album was later re-issued with a bonus track, "Alfie". A companion DVD, One Blue Voice , was released in 2006. Voice was certified Gold in the UK within four weeks of its release.

In December 2006, Moyet signed a recording contract with W14 Music, [13] a Universal Music Group imprint. The deal saw Moyet reunited with label head John Williams, who was A&R man for her previous two albums, Hometime and Voice.

Moyet's album, The Turn , was released on 15 October 2007, preceded by the single "One More Time" a week earlier. The album featured self-penned songs, including the three numbers she wrote for the stage play, Smaller in which she starred with Dawn French. For these songs, again Moyet worked alongside producer/songwriter and frequent Moyet collaborator Pete Glenister. The Turn debuted at No. 21 on the UK Albums Chart on 22 October 2007. Moyet left W14 shortly after the release of The Turn. During mid-2008, Moyet reunited with Vince Clarke as Yazoo for a series of live dates.

Alison Moyet with Jools Holland's Rhythm and Blues Orchestra at the Apollo Theatre, Manchester, December 2010 Alison Moyet with Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra.jpg
Alison Moyet with Jools Holland's Rhythm and Blues Orchestra at the Apollo Theatre, Manchester, December 2010

Sony Music released The Best of Alison Moyet on 19 October 2009. It was Moyet's personal selection of tracks from her seven solo albums. The deluxe edition of the album, The Best of: 25 Years Revisited, contained an extra disc, with re-recorded versions of older songs. Moyet supported the release with a tour of the UK and Ireland during November and December 2009. [14] Also in 2009, she provided vocals to My Robot Friend's single "Waiting."

2010s: Return to synthpop roots

Moyet appeared with Jools Holland throughout his tour of the UK in 2010. In the same year she contributed vocals to "The Man That Got Away" on Holland's album Rocking Horse. [15]

Moyet appeared with Heather Peace in January 2012 on the final concert of Peace's first studio album, Fairytales. [16]

Moyet announced on BBC Radio 6 Music that her new album with Guy Sigsworth would be released in 2012, but in February that year she stated "I appear to have forfeited my recording deal because I won't do reality TV. No-one needs to make an album that badly. Tea anyone?" In an interview with Touchbase the following June, Moyet confirmed that she was still recording her album and that she was not rushing it. [17] On 22 January 2013 the singer announced on her Facebook page that she had signed a worldwide deal with London-based record label Cooking Vinyl. [18] Sony Music had earlier announced that Moyet's four solo albums on the label (Alf, Raindancing, Hoodoo and Essex) were being digitally remastered and would be reissued with B-sides and bonus material. In February 2013, Moyet said of the remastered albums: "The project was Sony's – some initial work was done and then the project was suspended." [19]

Alison Moyet in the Gruenspan Hamburg, September 2013 Alison Moyet 346-0010-hinnerk-ruemenapf.jpg
Alison Moyet in the Gruenspan Hamburg, September 2013

The Minutes was released in the UK on 6 May 2013. The first single, "When I Was Your Girl", was released on 1 April 2013. A tour of the UK and Ireland to promote the album was announced for October. [20] Describing the album, Moyet said: "I avoided listening to anything during the process of writing and recording this album, choosing instead to be led by my own melodic voice, the one I now find myself with 30-years-in. Guy Sigsworth returns me to a programmer's world and marries it with perfect musicality. I have been waiting for him. We have made an album mindless of industry mores that apply to middle-aged women and have shunned all talk of audiences, demographics and advert jazz covers. This has easily been my happiest studio experience." [21] The Minutes debuted at number 5 on the UK Albums Chart, her highest debut since 1987's Raindancing. [22]

In July 2013, Moyet said that she has begun writing new material for the follow-up to The Minutes. [23]

On 16 October 2013, Moyet appeared as a guest performer on ITV 1's The One and Only Cilla Black celebrating Cilla Black's 50 years in show business. Moyet sang "Anyone Who Had a Heart".

On 10 November 2014, Moyet released a live album, Minutes and Seconds – Live , taken from The Minutes Tour.

On 30 July 2015, it was announced that Moyet would be releasing deluxe editions of her albums Hometime, Voice, and The Turn. According to her official web site: "Each album will feature plenty of bonus material – including some rare and previously unreleased material." [24]

On 21 September 2015, Moyet performed at the Burberry Show at London Fashion Week. Her set was released as a digital EP, Live for Burberry on 23 September. [25]

On 27 September 2016, it was announced that Moyet's first four studio albums Alf, Raindancing, Hoodooo and Essex would be reissued as Deluxe editions after having been remastered by BMG on 25 November 2016. Each double-disc set comes in a casebound book with the original album remastered from the original tapes along with 12-inch remixes, b-sides and previously unreleased songs. [26]

Moyet's ninth studio album Other , described as "intelligent, adventurous electronic pop," co-produced by Guy Sigsworth, was released 16 June 2017 on Cooking Vinyl. [2] From September through December that same year, she will embark on a world tour, The Other Tour. [27]

In October 2017, Moyet featured as guest artist on the Norwegian band A-Ha's acoustic album, MTV Unplugged – Summer Solstice , singing "Summer Moved On". The performance was recorded at Giske island in Norway in June 2017.

On 20 April 2018, Moyet released her second live album, The Other Live Collection , taken from The Other Tour.

Theatre

Moyet made her stage debut in the London West End production of the musical Chicago in 2001. [9] She played the part of Matron 'Mama' Morton, and although it had initially been intended to be a short run, it eventually ran for six months. In 2006, she appeared in the play Smaller, which undertook a regional tour before a stint at London's Lyric Theatre.

Personal life

Moyet's first marriage, to hairdresser and retired London firefighter Malcolm Lee, with whom she has a son, Joe (born 1985), ended in divorce. Moyet has a daughter, Alex (born 1987), with former partner Kim McCarthy, and a daughter, Caitlin (born 1996), with her current husband David Ballard. In 2013, Moyet moved from Radlett, Hertfordshire, to Brighton.

Moyet has been candid about her battles with weight and agoraphobia and the challenges of having ADHD. [28] She embarked on a weight loss programme, because she did not want to become "an obese old woman". [29]

On 14 October 2014, Moyet was presented with a Gold Badge Award by professional music writers association The Ivors Academy. [30]

She is a supporter of Southend United. [31]

Moyet was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2021 Birthday Honours for services to music. [32]

Discography

Awards and Nominations

AwardsYearWorkCategoryResultRef.
Brit Awards 1984 Herself British Female Solo Artist Nominated [33]
1985 Won [34]
1986 Nominated [35]
1988 Won [36]
2003 Nominated [37]
Classic Pop Readers' Awards 2018Solo Act of the YearWon [38]
Goldene Europa 1985Best International ArtistWon [39]
Silver Clef Awards 2013Icon AwardWon [40]
The Ivors Academy 2014BASCA Gold Badge AwardsWon [41]

Related Research Articles

Yazoo (band) British synthpop duo

Yazoo were an English synth-pop duo from Basildon, Essex, consisting of former Depeche Mode member Vince Clarke (keyboards) and Alison Moyet (vocals). The duo formed in late 1981 after Clarke responded to an advertisement Moyet placed in a British music magazine, although the pair had known each other since their schooldays.

<i>Alf</i> (album) 1984 studio album by Alison Moyet

Alf is the debut solo studio album by English singer Alison Moyet, released on 9 November 1984 by CBS Records. The album launched Moyet's solo career following the disbanding of synth-pop duo Yazoo. The album reached No. 1 on the UK Albums Chart and features the singles "Love Resurrection", "All Cried Out", "Invisible" and "For You Only".

<i>Raindancing</i> 1987 studio album by Alison Moyet

Raindancing is the second solo studio album by English singer Alison Moyet, released on 6 April 1987 by CBS Records. It reached No. 2 on the UK Albums Chart and features the singles "Is This Love?", "Weak in the Presence of Beauty", "Ordinary Girl" and "Sleep Like Breathing". In the United States, Raindancing was released by Columbia Records with a different cover art and a reordered track listing.

<i>Hoodoo</i> (Alison Moyet album) 1991 studio album by Alison Moyet

Hoodoo is the third studio album by British singer-songwriter Alison Moyet. It was released in 1991, reached No. 11 in the UK and features the singles "It Won't Be Long", "Wishing You Were Here", "Hoodoo" and "This House".

<i>Essex</i> (album) 1994 studio album by Alison Moyet

Essex is the fourth studio album by British singer-songwriter Alison Moyet. The album, named after the artist's native Essex, England, was released in 1994, reached No. 24 in the UK and includes the singles "Falling", "Whispering Your Name", "Getting into Something" and "Ode to Boy".

<i>Singles</i> (Alison Moyet album) 1995 greatest hits album by Alison Moyet

Singles is the first greatest hits album of singer Alison Moyet, released in 1995. The album includes two previously unreleased tracks, Moyet's version of "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" and "Solid Wood", as well as a number of hits from the singer's stint in 1980s electro-pop band Yazoo.

<i>The Essential Alison Moyet</i> 2001 greatest hits album by Alison Moyet

The Essential Alison Moyet was essentially a third re-release of Singles, the 1995 greatest hits album of recordings by singer/songwriter Alison Moyet. The album was released in 2001 by Sony Music Entertainment in response to renewed interest in the singer, after she was finally released from her contract with the label and able to sign with Sanctuary Records, regain the artistic control of her musical output and move back into the public eye - resulting in 2002 comeback album Hometime. However, there are some differences in the track listings of the two Sony compilations. The Essential Alison Moyet excludes "Only You", "Situation', "Ordinary Girl", "Ode To Boy II", "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" and "Solid Wood", and replaces them with "Don't Go", "Winter Kills", "Blue" and "Our Colander Eyes" plus cover versions "Ne Me Quitte Pas" and "There Are Worse Things I Could Do".

<i>Hometime</i> (album) 2002 studio album by Alison Moyet

Hometime is the fifth studio album by English singer/songwriter Alison Moyet, released in 2002 by Sanctuary Records. Hometime was produced by The Insects who had previously worked with Massive Attack and Madonna among others.

Invisible (Alison Moyet song) 1984 single by Alison Moyet

"Invisible" is a song recorded by Alison Moyet in 1984, written by Lamont Dozier, from her debut album Alf.

<i>The Turn</i> (Alison Moyet album) 2007 studio album by Alison Moyet

The Turn is the seventh studio album by the British singer-songwriter Alison Moyet, released by W14 Music in 2007. The album includes the singles "One More Time" and "A Guy Like You", as well as three tracks first written and performed in 2006 for stage play Smaller, in which Moyet starred with comedian and long-time friend Dawn French. The Turn was the singer's first release on the W14 Music label and debuted at number 21 on the UK Albums Chart on 22 October 2007, lasting four weeks in the chart.

Dont Go (Yazoo song) 1982 single by Yazoo

"Don't Go" is a song by British synth-pop band Yazoo. It was released in 1982 as the second single from their debut album, Upstairs at Eric's.

Is This Love? (Alison Moyet song) 1986 single by Alison Moyet

"Is This Love?" is a song by the British singer-songwriter Alison Moyet, released in November 1986 as the first single from her second studio album Raindancing (1987). The song was written by Moyet and Dave Stewart. Stewart, who also produced the song, used the pseudonym Jean Guiot for his involvement with the song.

Weak in the Presence of Beauty (song)

"Weak in the Presence of Beauty" is a song written by Michael Ward and Rob Clarke, and originally recorded by their band, Floy Joy. It was released in 1986 as the lead single from their album of the same name. In 1987, English singer Alison Moyet released a version of the song which was a hit across Europe and Australasia.

It Wont Be Long (Alison Moyet song) 1991 single by Alison Moyet

"It Won't Be Long" is a song by the British singer-songwriter Alison Moyet, released in 1991 as the lead single from her third studio album Hoodoo. It was written by Moyet and Pete Glenister, and produced by Glenister.

Sleep Like Breathing 1987 single by Alison Moyet with David Freeman

"Sleep Like Breathing" is a song by British singer-songwriter Alison Moyet with David Freeman, released in 1987 as the fourth and final single from her second studio album Raindancing. The song was written by Freeman and Joseph Hughes, both of whom made up The Lover Speaks, and was produced by Jimmy Iovine, Freeman and Hughes.

This House (Alison Moyet song) 1991 single by Alison Moyet

"This House" is a song by the British singer-songwriter Alison Moyet, released in 1991 as the fourth single from her third studio album Hoodoo. It was written by Moyet and produced by Dave Dix.

"Whispering Your Name" is a song written by American singer-songwriter Jules Shear. It was originally performed by Ignatius Jones in 1983, however Shear also recorded the song, which was issued as a single within months of Jones' recording and included on his 1983 album Watch Dog. It has been covered numerous times, including a charting version by Alison Moyet in 1994.

Getting into Something 1994 single by Alison Moyet

"Getting into Something" is a song by British singer-songwriter Alison Moyet, released in 1994 as the third single from her fourth studio album Essex. It was written by Moyet and Pete Glenister, and produced by Ian Broudie.

<i>The Minutes</i> (album) 2013 studio album by Alison Moyet

The Minutes is the eighth studio album by English singer-songwriter Alison Moyet, released on 3 May 2013 by Cooking Vinyl.

"Ode to Boy" is a song by British synthpop duo Yazoo. Originally the B-side to their 1982 hit "The Other Side of Love", it was later included on their second and final studio album You and Me Both in 1983. Where as Yazoo's version is a sparse atmospheric track with synths and percussion, vocalist Alison Moyet later recorded her own version of the song in an uptempo indie-rock style for her 1994 album Essex.

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