Damon Albarn is an English-Icelandic musician, singer-songwriter and composer. He is the frontman of the rock band Blur and the co-creator and primary musical contributor of the virtual band Gorillaz.
Raised in Leytonstone, East London, and around Colchester, Essex, Albarn attended the Stanway School, where he met the guitarist Graham Coxon and formed Blur. They released their debut album Leisure in 1991. After spending long periods touring the US, Albarn's songwriting became increasingly influenced by British bands from the 1960s. The result was the Blur albums Modern Life Is Rubbish (1993), Parklife (1994) and The Great Escape (1995). All three received critical acclaim, while Blur gained mass popularity in the UK, aided by a Britpop chart rivalry with Oasis. Albums such as Blur (1997), 13 (1999) and Think Tank (2003) incorporated influences from lo-fi, art rock, electronic and world music. These were followed by The Magic Whip (2015), Blur's first studio album in 12 years.
Albarn formed the virtual band Gorillaz in 1998 with the comic book artist Jamie Hewlett. Drawing influences from hip hop, dub, pop, trip hop and world music, Gorillaz released their self-titled debut album in 2001 to worldwide success, spawning numerous successful follow-ups and continuing to release albums and tour into the 2020s. Albarn remains the group's only consistent musical contributor. His other notable projects include the supergroups the Good, the Bad & the Queen and Rocket Juice & the Moon. He co-founded the non-profit musical organisation Africa Express and has composed film soundtracks. Albarn also scored the stage productions Monkey: Journey to the West (2008), Dr Dee (2012) and Wonder.land (2016). His debut solo album, Everyday Robots, was released in 2014, followed by The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows in 2021.
In 2008, The Daily Telegraph named Albarn the 18th-most powerful person in British culture. In 2016, Albarn received the Ivor Novello Award for Lifetime Achievement from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors. He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2016 New Year Honours for services to music. In 2020, Albarn was granted Icelandic citizenship.