Alison Elizabeth Margaret Goldfrapp (born 13 May 1966) is an English musician and record producer, known as the vocalist of English electronic music duo Goldfrapp. Alison Elizabeth Margaret Goldfrapp was born on 13 May 1966, in Enfield, London, the youngest of six children. Her mother, Isabella Barge, was a nurse. Her father, Nicholas Goldfrapp, had been an army officer, and worked in advertising. Goldfrapp’s surname is of German origin.
While Goldfrapp was growing up, her family moved frequently, eventually settling in Alton, Hampshire, where Goldfrapp attended the independent Alton Convent School. She sang in a choir at the school and has said that she loved being in a school with nuns. However, she was forced to leave at age 11 after failing the senior exam, and attended the local comprehensive school, Amery Hill School.
She moved into a squat in London aged 16, then lived in Belgium for a brief time. Four years later she went to art school, where she started experimenting with music.
In 1994, she featured on the Orbital album Snivilisation and recorded songs “The Good” and “The Bad” with trip reggae outfit Dreadzone, for their ‘best of’ album The Best of Dreadzone – The Good The Bad and the Dread. Performing with them live resulted in two songs on the limited edition Performance album released in 1994. In the same year, Goldfrapp featured on trip hop artist Tricky’s 1995 song “Pumpkin” and collaborated with Stefan Girardet on two songs on the soundtrack to the 1995 film The Confessional.
Goldfrapp was introduced to composer Will Gregory in 1999 after he had listened to her vocal contribution for “Pumpkin”; they then formed Goldfrapp and signed to Mute Records.
In 2000, she was a featured vocalist on the songs “The Time Of The Turning” and “The Time of the Turning (Reprise)/The Weaver’s Reel” from the release OVO, Peter Gabriel’s soundtrack album to the London Millennium Dome Show.
The pair began recording their debut album over a six-month period, beginning in September 1999, in a rented bungalow in the Wiltshire countryside. The band’s debut album Felt Mountain was released in 2000 and featured Goldfrapp’s synthesized vocals over cinematic soundscapes. Goldfrapp released their second album Black Cherry in 2003. The band recorded the album in Bath, England. This album focused more heavily on dance music and glam rock-inspired synths than its predecessor. Black Cherry peaked at number nineteen on the UK Albums Chart and sold 52,000 copies in the US.
Supernature, Goldfrapp’s third album, was released in 2005. The album comprises pop and electronic dance music prominently featured on Black Cherry, but focuses more on subtle hooks instead of the large choruses that made up its predecessor. It has sold one million copies worldwide and earned the duo two nominations at the 2007 Grammy Awards for Best Electronic/Dance Album and Best Dance Recording for the song “Ooh La La”.
Seventh Tree, Goldfrapp’s fourth album, was released in 2008 and debuted at number two on the UK Albums Chart. The album is a departure from the pop and electronic dance music featured on Supernature, featuring ambient and downtempo music. The band were inspired by an acoustic radio session they had performed, which led the duo to incorporate acoustic guitars into their music to create “warm” and “delicate” sounds.
In 2009, she was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Music degree by the University of Portsmouth.
Goldfrapp have released seven albums, most recently Silver Eye in 2017. Hits include “Strict Machine”, “Ooh La La”, “Lovely Head” and “A&E”. The multi-platinum selling band have been nominated for the Mercury Prize, multiple Grammy Awards and won an Ivor Novello for “Strict Machine”. Goldfrapp scored the films My Summer of Love and Nowhere Boy.
In recent years, Goldfrapp has dedicated more time to her role as a photographer and director. She created and photographed the album artwork for Silver Eye and directed videos for singles “Systemagic”, “Everything Is Never Enough” and “Ocean”.
In September 2021, Goldfrapp were awarded the Ivor Novello ‘Inspiration Award’ which celebrates “peer recognition for the excellence of the Goldfrapp songwriting catalogue and in particular how it has inspired the creative talent of other creators”.