Star Interview: Alison Moyet

Alison Moyet
Alison Moyet

For someone with the musical reputation of singer Alison Moyet, getting a recording deal should be easy... or so one would think.

But not so, according to Alison, who earlier this month released her long-awaited album, The Minutes, a creative mash of R&B, modern club sounds and electronic experimentation.

But the album took three years to complete.

Working with musician and producer, Guy Sigsworth, with no record deal behind her, it was not until the end product had been produced that Alison was taken on by Cooking Vinyl.

Alison said: “I had been offered various deals before, but they wanted me to do covers because they think it fits a middle-aged woman, but I wanted to do new music. I wasn’t thinking about audiences or demographics or record companies, I wanted to be free.”

Creating a totally fresh sound and subject seemed to be Alison’s focus.

“I did get quite into that type of writing about miserable love, but a couple of songs into the album I thought, I’m done with that.

“ I didn’t want to know what other people were doing, I did not want to be influenced by what is a hit and what isn’t.”

This autumn, Alison will also be touring the UK and Ireland, stopping off to perform at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate on October 12.

Alison said: “The album will be the focus, but I have said that I want it to be an electronic tour. On one level there will be new material, but also songs that have been significant for me in my career, that I haven’t been able to play for a while.”

Born in Basildon, Alison left school at 16 and began playing in punk bands. She had been training to become a piano tuner but worldwide fame got in the way in the early 1980s when she had her first hit, Only You, with Vince Clarke as part of the Yazoo duo.

Although extremely successful and loved for its synthesized soundscapes, Yazoo was shortlived, lasting only a year.

Alison said: “It wasn’t me who split the band up, I never wanted to go solo. Vince was still sore from his departure from Depeche Mode. He did not have space to allow me into his head. We never had time to bond with one another.”

But a successful solo career lay in wait for Alison, who went on to sell two million albums in the UK alone and land five UK top 10 hits.

Later, she even got to turn her hand to acting, appearing in the West End productions of Chicago and Smaller (with her long-time friend, Dawn French).

Speaking about Chicago, she said: “Growing up, I think I hated musicals, I did not get it at all. The idea of me doing something like that was unbelievable. That became the reason I wanted to do it. I loved the idea of not being the star, working as a character and having to be reliable every day. I found I really loved the format, I had a brilliant time and loved it.”

As for her ambitions, creative freedom is something Alison wants to keep.

“I would love to have the freedom of just being able to be who I am from a creative stand-point as opposed to doing the done thing for a middle-aged singer.”