With the warm arrival of May, we’re one step closer to Olly Alexander’s highly anticipated Eurovision performance of his synth-pop track ‘Dizzy’. 

Before he made global headlines as the song contest’s UK entrant, the singer chart-topped radio airwaves and toured worldwide as part of pop-collective Years & Years, collaborated with a series of music legends, and even appeared in a BAFTA winning ‘Best New Drama’ TV series (more on that later!).

So, how did pop’s modern icon rise to superstardom over the last decade? We delve into the topsy-turvy world of Olly Alexander from past to present.

The ‘Years & Years’ Era

Olly stormed into music as the lead vocalist of London-based pop band Years & Years, alongside Mikey Goldsworthy and Emre Turkmen. The trio officially shot to stardom with their playful debut album ‘Communion’, which reached No.1 on the UK Album Chart in 2015 and became the fastest-selling debut from a UK band that year.

Years & Years later made history with a world-first interactive ad break takeover on Channel 4 featuring three pick-your-own ‘Shine’ music videos. They also received four BRIT Award nominations, including British Group, British Breakthrough Act, British Single, and British Artist Video for their worldwide hit ‘King’. Their second boundary-pushing pop album ‘Palo Santo’ arrived in 2018 with a year-long global tour.

The band shifted into a new era post-pandemic, explaining that they would continue as an “Olly solo project”, with Mikey playing live shows and Ezra writing/producing. A series of collaborations with music legends followed, including ‘It’s a Sin’ with Elton John, ‘Starstruck’ with Kylie Minogue, and ‘Sweet Talk’ with Galantis.

From Lead Vocalist to Lead Actor

Before rising to fame as part of Years & Years, Olly explored the acting world with appearances in ‘Skins’, ‘Bright Star’, ‘Gulliver’s Travels’, ‘The Riot Club’, ‘Penny Dreadful’, ‘The Dish & the Spoon’, and ‘Tormented’. After a swift hiatus, the actor returned in 2022 for Russell T. Davies’ 80s drama ‘It’s a Sin’, a starring role that landed him a BAFTA nomination for ‘Lead Actor’ alongside critical praise.

The ‘Night Call’ Years

From the midst of Years & Years’ separation, Olly emerged with his powerful solo debut album (under the band’s name) ‘Night Call’ alongside a dynamic worldwide tour in 2022. The playful, 80s synth-fuelled album topped the UK Albums charts with singles ‘Starstruck’, ‘Crave’, ‘Sweet Talker’, and ‘Sooner or Later’, all performed at his Glastonbury set the same year.

The singer songwriter continued to ripple festival waves as Mighty Hoopla’s 2023 headliner (alongside Destiny’s Child icon Kelly Rowland) – and even welcomed Girls Aloud’s Kimberley Walsh and Nicola Roberts on-stage for an unmissable mini-reunion.

Flying Solo: Eurovision Stardom

Fast forward to 2024, and the Eurovision star is embarking on his official solo career, with ‘Dizzy’ marking the first release under his name. Co-written by Olly and Danny L Harle (well known for producing Dua Lipa’s ‘Houdini’), the song swirls with electronic pulses and pop synth chords, taking inspiration from Pet Shop Boys and Erasure.

Since the big Eurovision reveal, the singer has been exploring new walks of fame, including teaming up with Absolut Vodka to create a limited-edition bottle as well as making a guest appearance on long-running British soap ‘Eastenders’.

When is Eurovision?

Olly’s performance in Sweden’s grand final will air on Saturday, 11 May.

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