As the frontman of the legendary English rock group Blur, chief songwriter of the award-winning faux band Gorillaz, respected solo artist, and prolific soundtrack contributor to numerous blockbuster films, there's no limit to the amount of success Damon Albarn had through his various musical ventures. A native of London, Albarn burst onto the scene in the early 1990s as the frontman of Blur, a well-respected British rock band that rivaled Oasis in terms of its soaring popularity. Blur released several well-received albums throughout the decade, but by the latter part of the '90s, tensions within the band forced Albarn to pursue other projects, including his self-described "virtual band," Gorillaz, as well as work on the soundtracks of dozens of films, most notably Danny Boyle's hallucinogenic "Trainspotting" (1996), Richard Kelly's "Southland Tales" (2006), and the action remake "Dredd" (2012). Blur's monumental success both in Britain and abroad may be what Albarn is most remembered for, but Damon Albarn was one of the most versatile and multi-talented British musicians of his generation.
Born into an artistically inclined family (his father was an artist; his mother a playwright), Albarn's Bohemian upbringing propelled him to gravitate towards music at a very young age. He first picked up the guitar at age 6, and by his teens, became proficient in the piano and violin. After a brief stint in acting school, Albarn took a music course at Goldsmiths College in 1988. It was there that he formed the band Blur with fellow classmates Graham Coxon, Dave Rowntree and Alex James. The band released their first single, "She's So High," in 1990, and followed that up with the well-received debut album Leisure in 1991. Over the next several years, Blur became one of England's most popular rock groups, with their subsequent albums, among them Modern Life Is Rubbish (1993), Parklife (1994) and The Great Escape (1995), spurring countless hit singles, while selling millions of CDs in the process. By the late '90s, however, inner strife within the band forced Albarn to pursue other projects, including the mock cartoon band Gorillaz, a collaboration with graphic novelist Jamie Hewlett which also spawned several hit albums and singles. Furthermore, Albarn also provided music to the soundtracks of several hit movies, including "Trainspotting" and "Cloverfield" (2008), while also composing the scores to "Ravenous" (1999), "Ordinary Decent Criminal" (2000), and "101 Reykjavík" (2000) and produced several one-one collaborations, including the supergroups The Good, The Bad and the Queen and Rocket Juice to the Moon. Despite his already busy career in movies, and with his various solo and side projects, Albarn reunited with his old band in the summer of 2009 for a concert at London's Hyde Park. A Blur documentary, "No Distance Left to Run," was subsequently released in 2010, and in 2012 the band performed at the closing ceremony of the London Olympics. In 2013 Blur embarked on a world tour, with Albarn continuing to serve as the band's frontman. When the Blur reunion petered out prior to the band releasing any new material, Albarn began work on his first song-oriented solo record. Everyday Robots was released to general critical acclaim on April 28, 2014.