The last 18 months have seen the profile of British singer and actor Olly Alexander soar to new heights. Already well-known as the frontman of Years & Years, in early 2021 Alexander starred in the drama It’s A Sin. And he hasn’t slowed down since!
The show followed lead character Ritchie Tozer (played by Alexander), a young gay man who moves to London just as the AIDS epidemic hits the UK. The heartbreaking five-episode series won plaudits and award nominations on both sides of the pond, with Alexander nominated for a Critics Choice Award and Best Actor BAFTA.
While promoting It’s A Sin, Alexander was keen to remind everyone that, although huge progress has been made in treating HIV, the issue has not gone away. He urged people to know their status.
it’s national HIV testing week!! let’s celebrate our progress in fighting this virus by taking a free test and knowing our status. Go check @THTorguk for more info✨🌈 #nationalhivtestingweek #ItsASin https://t.co/FoPsojEESv pic.twitter.com/Uj7tt4iRuc
— olly alexander (@alexander_olly) February 1, 2021
Alexander was raised in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. As a teenager, he swapped school for art college, determined to pursue a career in acting or singing.
“I really hated school because I was totally bullied,” he told Anthem magazine in 2015. “But you’re never bullied in drama class because the weird kids do well in drama class. That’s a safe place”.
Professional roles arrived early. He had a small part in the Oscar-nominated movie Bright Star in 2009, then a lead role in the Glasgow-set musical, God Help the Girl, in 2014. He also played the role of Peter in Peter & Alice (about Peter Pan) ,alongside Judi Dench, in London’s West End.
Alexander spent much of the last 12 months concentrating on his music.
Years & Years, which he joined in 2010, found fame as a three-piece. However, last year he confirmed the band would continue as a solo project for him. He followed this up with the third Years & Years album, Night Call, in January, which hit #1 on the UK album chart.
In addition to this, Alexander spent most of the last year working with a list of LGBTQ icons and allies. He released two tracks with Kylie Minogue (a reworking of “Starstruck” and “A Second To Midnight”).
He also covered Lady Gaga’s ‘The Edge Of Glory’ for her Born This Way Re-Imagined album.
Then there was this incredible performance with Elton John of the song “It’s A Sin” at the BRIT Awards.
Alexander wrapped up 2021 performing with the Pet Shop Boys and Kylie for a New Year’s Eve concert for the BBC. His figure-hugging costumes raised a few eyebrows, but in his typical fashion, the singer laughed it off.
— olly alexander (@alexander_olly) January 12, 2022
This summer, Alexander plans to promote his latest album with even more live appearances. He’s also enjoying being in a relationship again. While he tends to keep quiet about his private life, last month he told the ‘Charli XCX’s Best Song Ever‘ podcast he rekindled a romance with someone during the pandemic after being “single for quite a while.”
“I’m in love,” he confirmed. “I feel like this is a new feeling for me as well, even though I’m with someone who, we were together quite a long time ago, but now we’re kind of in a sequel.”
“I haven’t been in one place for so long, so just having this experience with someone I really love and being able to lean on someone has been amazing.”
We’re proud of Alexander for refusing to be anything other than his authentic queer self, and for continuing to be such a positive and inspiring representative for the LGBTQ community. And, of course, for finding love. Here’s hoping for many more amazing times ahead!
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