Alison Moyet Biography: In Her Own Words – Exclusive Video, News, Photos
English Singer-songwriter Alison Moyet (birth name Geneviève Alison Jane Moyet) was born in Billericay, Essex, on June 18, 1961. She grew up in the nearby town of Basildon, which in her own words, was “a big working class town with lots of working class people.”
ALISON MOYET BIOGRAPHY: EARLY LIFE, AGE, FAMILY, EDUCATION
There, she attended Janet Duke Junior School and Nicholas Comprehensive Secondary School.
ALISON MOYET BIOGRAPHY: MUSIC CAREER
When asked how she started her singing career, Moyet replied:
“We had no great culture there because it was only just been built. We didn’t have money, even if there were things to do, so everyone made a band. We entertained each other in parking lots or in fields or in the schools. And that’s how I started singing. I became the singer because I had the most front. I wasn’t easily intimidated, so it was easy for me to put on the grrrr, so it kind of happened from there. I discovered I could sing I suppose.”
With a lively band culture in the area, Moyet attended school along side former Depeche Mode members Andy Fletcher, Martin Gore and The Cure member Perry Bamonte. These connections led to her first major hit as well as the formation of her band Yazoo, better known as Yaz. Moyet recalled the story:
“When Depeche formed and split up, Vince (Clarke) was looking for my phone number, (be)cause he has seen me playing punk gigs around, and called me up and asked me to sing on his demo. He’s done the demo of ‘Only You’. At that time, I was a part of the R&B scene so I thought I’d use this opportunity as a demo. I sang on his song, and he called me a week later and said, the record was really loved. Would we record it? I said, yeah. We recorded it, and a week later he said you should make an album. So we started making an album together. So from three months, I went from being somebody who was sleeping on someone’s bedroom floor to playing multi thousand venues.”
Synthpop band Yazoo was formed in 1982 when Moyet was 21. The band changed its name to Yaz when operating in North America because of legal complications with an American band also under the name “Yazoo.” Moyet spoke to uInterview about how Yazoo’s debut album Upstairs at Eric’s came to be:
“We had the single, ‘Only You’. And then of course, we needed a B side. So Vince then wrote ‘Don’t go’, and we recorded ‘Don’t go’. I said we can’t put that on the B side, so let’s write a song together, which was ‘Situation’, so the first three songs we had were ‘Only You’, ‘Don’t Go’, and then ‘Situation’. We didn’t have time to say no to ‘Situation’ we gotta hold that back as well, which was supposed to put that on the B side. Of course, it got taken to America. The American video station weren’t fond of ‘Only You’, but did like ‘Situation’, so that just flew.”
Upstairs at Eric’s was released in August 1982. After their second album You and Me Both (released in July 1983), Yaz was disbanded.
In 1984, Moyet started her solo career and released her first solo album Alf, named after her nickname Alf. This album includes hit singles “Love Resurrection,” “Invisible” and “All Cried Out.” After her second album Raindancing, which saw tremendous success in both the UK and abroad, Moyet took a break away from her career to reevaluate her life.
In 1991, Moyet came back to the eyes of the public with her third album Hoodoo, which featured the hit single “It Won’t Be Long,” for which Moyet received a Grammy nomination. After her next album Essex, released in 1994, Moyet had another hiatus in her career due to litigation with her label Sony.
After eight long years, Moyet was finally released from her contract with Sony. She came back stronger than ever as an artist. She became one of the top five bestselling female artists in the UK in 2002 after the release of her next album Hometime, for which she was nominated for Best Female Vocalist from BRIT Awards, and the Mercury Music Prize. Her two albums after that, Voice and The Turn, were both popular within the UK, scoring No. 7 and No. 21 in the UK Albums Chart respectively.
The Minutes was released in May 2013, marking Moyet’s collaboration with record producer Guy Sigsworth, which she described to be her “happiest studio experience”. The album occupied No. 5 in the UK Chart, her best effort since her second album Raindancing.
ALISON MOYET BIOGRAPHY: EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW ON ‘OTHER’
Released in June 2017, Other is Moyet’s ninth and most recent album. While speaking to uInterview, Moyet described the genre of this album as “prog-rock” and stated that it was “an album based on its lyricism, on its poetry, and the songs cut to fit the words, as opposed to being the words cut to fit the songs.”
Moyet further elaborated on her creation process:
“The majority of the material … is written between me and Guy Sigsworth. How that works is that Guy would send me over very basic tracks, which I won’t listen to until I’ve got to record. I go straight to record. The minute comes on. I start improvising. At which point I don’t even know what the next chord change is, and I think this way you end up with a melody that’s more instinctive as opposed to designed. And I write the words to that. That’s usually what happens.”
This new approach to music not only manifests in Moyet’s composition process, but also how she uses her voice, “The songs I’ve been writing over the last few years has been far more about the poetry than about the grand standing over voice. I just think just because you can sing and sing big doesn’t mean you should do it always.”
She went on to talk about how this change in musical style was brought upon. “My life has changed, quite radically over the past five year,” commented Moyet on her new environment after she moved to Brighton, a town in East Sussex. “This town is so brilliantly interesting, so much diversity, young people and old people, and different sexualities and different religions – a real melting pot of otherness, which appeals to me.”
Moyet went from an isolated lifestyle to one that was surrounded by a variety of people. Instead of “feeling observed,” now she watches others. That was perhaps also the message from her music: a turning outwards – a comment to the world she lived in instead of a pure expression of her inward self.
ALISON MOYET BIOGRAPHY: PERSONAL LIFE
Moyet struggled with her weight and various mental health issues throughout her life, including bipolar disorder and agoraphobia. Moyet credited her current husband, David Ballard, for dragging her out of the seclusion caused by agoraphobia. The former social worker is now a stay-at-home parent, allowing Moyet to focus more on her career. They had a daughter Caitlin in 1996. Moyet also had a son Joe with her ex-husband Malcom Lee in 1985 and a daughter Alex with her former partner Kim McCarthy in 1987.
ALISON MYOET DISCOGRAPHY
- Alf 1984
- Raindancing 1987
- Hoodoo 1991
- Essex 1994
- Hometime 2002
- Voice 2004
- The Turn 2007
- The Minutes 2013
- Other 2017