Spotlight On: Olly Alexander

With so few successful LGBT members in the media, it is important to recognise and support the openly gay stars that we do have. Olly Alexander is the frontman of one of the most exciting, and successful new bands in recent time Years & Years synonymously becoming a forefront LGBT figure in the mainstream media.

Born in Yorkshire on 15 July 1990, Alexander was raised in a musical household by his single mother, Vicki Thornton, who was one of the founders of the Coleford Music Festival. At age 10, he wrote his first original song on his fathers Casio keyboard and continued to develop his artistry.

In his teen years he was enrolled to study performing arts at Hereford College of Arts, eventually leaving after hiring an agent and beginning to act full time. Alexander snagged some minor roles in movies such as Tormented, Gulliver’s Travels, and The Riot Club; while taking centre stage in independent offerings The Dish & the Spoon, God Help the Girl and Funny Bunny.

Most notably he starred in two episodes of Skins as Cassies stalker Jakob, and alongside Judi Dench, and Ben Whishaw in the stage show Peter and Alice.

In tandem with his burgeoning acting career, Alexander performed as the lead vocalist in the electronica band Years & Years. Forming in 2010 as a five-piece, the group underwent numerous alterations, eventually comprising of three members under the label Polydor Records.

As they began releasing singles from their debut album ‘Communion’, their success skyrocketed, culminating in a range of top 40 singles, including a number one and their album also topping the charts.

Following the colossal, overnight success the band achieved with their 2015 album they became an A-list band – nominated for a range of awards, including a Brit, and touring the world including a festival spot at Glastonbury.

As of now Alexander is working on new music with the band, while working tirelessly as an advocate for LGBT rights, and visibility, including mental health issues in the gay community for which he has fronted his own documentary movie Olly Alexander: Growing up Gay. 

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