One of my biggest heroines back in New Wave & New Romantics days, Alison Moyet, just turned 61. And she’s like a fine wine, gets better with age.
Noted for her powerful bluesy contralto voice, Alison Moyet came to prominence as half of the duo Yazoo (Yaz, in North America), but has since mainly worked as a solo artist.
She grew up in the nearby town of Basildon (where Depeche Mode are from). 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 in the South East Essex area during late 1970s and early 1980s, including The Vandals, the Screamin’ Ab Dabs, the Vicars and the Little Roosters (the latter featuring Grarrie Lammin, formerly of Cock Sparrer).
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. The duo formed after Clarke responded to an advertisement Moyet placed in a British music magazine, although the pair had known each other since their schooldays. Yazoo released two albums, Upstairs at Eric’s, and You and Me Both, which received critical acclaim for their production, particularly the blending of Clarke’s synthesizer melodies with Moyet’s blues-and-soul influenced vocals. Yazoo had several hits, including “Only You”, “Don’t Go”, “Situation” and “Nobody’s Diary”.
In 1983, Clarke disbanded Yazoo and went on to form The Assembly and then Erasure while Moyet signed to CBS and began her solo career. In 1984, Moyet released her debut solo album Alf (titled after her punk-era nickname). It was a hit in Britain, reaching #1 in the album chart.
Until 2017, her worldwide album sales have reached a certified 23 million, with over 2 million singles sold. In the Queen’s Birthday Honours for 2021 Moyet was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).
• Read also THOMAS DOLBY’S JOIE DE VIVRE.
Featured image via York Press.