Please join the Albumism team in celebrating Alison Goldfrapp’s musical legacy and share your personal memories of her with us in the comments below!
Born: May 13, 1966
Biography (via Wikipedia):
Alison Goldfrapp was born in 1966 in Enfield, London, the youngest of six children. Her mother was a nurse. Her father, Nick, had been an army officer, and worked in advertising. Goldfrapp's surname is of German origin, and she has German ancestry through her father. While Goldfrapp was growing up, her family moved frequently, eventually settling in Alton, Hampshire, where Goldfrapp attended the independent Alton Convent School. She sang in a choir at the school and has said that she loved being in a school with nuns. However she was forced to leave at age 12 due to failing the senior exam, and attended the local comprehensive school, Amery Hill School. She moved to London aged 16. At 24 years old, she attended Middlesex University where she studied fine art and mixed media.
In 1994, she featured on the Orbital album Snivilisation and also recorded songs "The Good" and "The Bad" with trip reggae outfit Dreadzone, for their 'best of' album The Best of Dreadzone – The Good The Bad and the Dread. Performing with them live resulted in two songs on the limited edition Performance album released in 1994. In the same year, Goldfrapp featured on trip hop artist Tricky's 1995 song "Pumpkin" and collaborated with Stefan Girardet on two songs on the soundtrack to the 1995 film The Confessional.
Goldfrapp was introduced to composer Will Gregory in 1999 after he had listened to her vocal contribution for "Pumpkin.” She then formed Goldfrapp with Will Gregory in 1999 and subsequently signed to Mute Records.
The pair began recording their debut album over a six-month period, beginning in September 1999, in a rented bungalow in the Wiltshire countryside. The band's debut album Felt Mountain was released in 2000 and featured Goldfrapp's synthesized vocals over cinematic soundscapes. Their second album Black Cherry focused more heavily on dance music and glam rock-inspired synths than its predecessor. Black Cherry peaked at number nineteen on the UK Albums Chart and sold 52,000 copies in the US.
Supernature, Goldfrapp's third album, was released in 2005. The album comprises pop and electronic dance music prominently featured on Black Cherry, but focuses more on subtle hooks instead of the large choruses that made up its predecessor. It has sold one million copies worldwide and earned the duo two nominations at the 2007 Grammy Awards for Best Electronic/Dance Album and Best Dance Recording for the song "Ooh La La".
Seventh Tree, Goldfrapp's fourth album, was released in 2008 and debuted at number two on the UK Albums Chart. The album is a departure from the pop and electronic dance music featured on Supernature, featuring ambient and downtempo music. The band were inspired by an acoustic radio session they had performed, which led the duo to incorporate acoustic guitars into their music to create "warm" and "delicate" sounds.
In 2009, she was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Music degree by the University of Portsmouth.
Goldfrapp have released seven albums, most recently Silver Eye in 2017. Hits include 'Strict Machine', 'Ooh La La', 'Lovely Head' and 'A&E'. The multi-platinum selling band have been nominated for the Mercury Prize, multiple Grammy Awards and won an Ivor Novello for 'Strict Machine'.
Goldfrapp have also scored the soundtracks to the films My Summer of Love and Nowhere Boy.
In recent years, Alison has dedicated more time to her role as a photographer and director. She created and photographed the album artwork for Silver Eye and directed videos for singles ‘Systemagic’, ‘Everything is Never Enough’ and ‘Ocean’.
Goldfrapp possesses an expansive soprano vocal range. She is also noted for her operatic abilities, particularly on the group's debut album Felt Mountain and prominently on the songs "Utopia" and "Pilots"; her delivery in a more contemporary voice has been described as "breathy", "sultry", "ethereal" and "startling.”
Goldfrapp has also been commended for her vocal versatility, morphing her voice to fit various genres such as folk, pop, classical, dance, trip hop and electronica throughout her career. Goldfrapp has also been noted for her use of a vocoder, altering her voice to fit the artistry of the material she is singing, such as in the songs "Lovely Head". Vocally, Goldfrapp has been compared to Marlene Dietrich, Siouxsie Sioux, Björk, Kate Bush and the Cocteau Twins.
Goldfrapp produces and writes most of her material alongside bandmate Will Gregory. She draws inspiration from a range of artists and musical genres. As a teenager she listened to Kate Bush, T. Rex, Donna Summer, Joan Jett, Marc Bolan, David Cassidy, and Iggy Pop and The Stooges, and discovered Serge Gainsbourg while working in Belgium. While travelling through Europe in the early 1990s, she also began listening to Polish disco music and cabaret music from the Weimar Republic. Other media, including film, have influenced Goldfrapp who cites Roman Polanski's 1966 psychological thriller Cul-de-sac, the 1973 cult film The Wicker Man and the James Bond franchise as influences.
She also draws inspiration from surrealism and nature, all of which appear in Goldfrapp's album artwork, which she designs in collaboration with Big Active. Goldfrapp believes that "music is a visual experience" and therefore visualises her lyrics before writing them. While writing, Goldfrapp uses her vocals to create melodies and drumbeats. Her songwriting is characterised by its use of animals to describe human emotions and status.
EXPLORE Goldfrapp’s discography here