At 32 years old, Olly Alexander has this physical status:
Alexander's acting career began in the film Summerhill released in 2008. His next film Bright Star was nominated for an Academy Award in the United States for Best Achievement in Costume Design. He acted in the 2009 released films Tormented starring Alex Pettyfer and Enter the Void. In 2010 he played Evan in the Bush Theatre production of The Aliens. Alexander contributed to the script and music for indie film The Dish & the Spoon, released in early 2011. In 2012, he appeared in the theatre production of Mercury Fur, taking the part of Naz at The Old Red Lion, Islington.
From March to June 2013, Alexander starred as Peter Pan in the West End play Peter and Alice acting alongside Ben Whishaw and Judi Dench. Alexander also had a supporting role in the final series of Skins, playing Cassie Ainsworth's stalker in the two-part episode "Skins Pure", which aired in July 2013. Also in 2013 Google Analytics released an internal corporate video which features Alexander as a demanding shopper under the sub-heading "That is what happens when you save on usability".
Alexander plays one of the main characters in the 2014 musical feature film God Help the Girl, where he also sings and plays guitar. The film was written and directed by Stuart Murdoch, the lead singer of the group Belle and Sebastian, as part of the God Help the Girl project.
Alexander also appeared in The Riot Club, the film adaptation of Laura Wade's stage play Posh alongside British actors Sam Claflin, Max Irons and Douglas Booth. Alexander briefly portrayed the vampire Fenton in the British-American horror series Penny Dreadful in episodes aired in 2014.
In the indie film Funny Bunny, which first premiered at SXSW 2015, Alexander plays Titty, a troubled teenager. The film was directed and written by Alison Bagnall, who directed The Dish & the Spoon, while Alexander was a co-writer together with the other two leads. The film was shown at art houses during the summer and was theatrically released on 13 November 2015.
In January 2021, Alexander appeared in a leading role in Russell T Davies' Channel 4 and HBO Max drama It's a Sin, which depicts gay life in the 1980s and early 1990s, and the onset of HIV/AIDS. The show and Alexander's performance earned critical acclaim, with some critics expressing their desire for Alexander to win a BAFTA for his performance.
Years & Years formed in 2010, with Alexander joining the band as lead vocalist after member Mikey Goldsworthy heard him singing in the shower and liked his voice. Alexander's voice has been commented on for its unique tone, with the music being described as "Nina Simone ...crooning a melodic lullaby to the folktronic lovechild of Beach House and Terry Riley".
Their debut single "I Wish I Knew" was released in July 2012 on the Good Bait label, with the band performing as a five-piece group. In 2013, the group signed a deal to the French label Kitsuné as a three-piece and released their second single, called "Traps", in September 2013, which achieved support from Radio 1 and Radio 6, as well as many online publications such as The Guardian and The Fader. "Traps" also features on Kitsuné Maison's 15th compilation.
The band released their second single "Real" on Kitsuné and iTunes in February 2014. The music video featured an appearance from Alexander's Peter and Alice co-star, Ben Whishaw, and former Misfits actor Nathan Stewart-Jarrett. Telling the story in The Independent article of 28 July 2015 of the Ben Whishaw effect (most recent James Bond Q actor), the video received eight and a half million views online, and in 2014 they also changed their record label from the French smaller label Kitsuné to Polydor as they gained prominence. In January 2015, they were announced winners of the BBC's Sound of... vote.
Years & Years' most successful single, "King", released under Polydor, headed straight to number one in the UK Single Chart in March 2015, earning the band national recognition. Their debut studio album, Communion, was released on 10 July 2015 and entered the UK Albums Chart at number 1.
As a gay songwriter, Alexander has stated in interviews he would like to see greater use of the qualified male pronoun in music. He explained that when he used to write in a diary, he would refer to "you and I" because he wanted to hide who he was writing about. Several Years & Years songs feature male pronouns. "It is kind of sad to me that we don't have gay popstars singing about men using a male pronoun," he told Digital Spy, "but that could change hopefully." Though his work with Years & Years openly references his sexuality, Alexander "can't speak for all gay people, because there are so many different issues, and experiences, and different shapes and sizes. But I can speak for myself, and that is what I'm doing if I'm going to be writing songs and giving interviews, I want to be able to speak about something I care about."Years & Years' second studio album, titled Palo Santo, was released on 6 July 2018 and features hits like "If You're Over Me" and "Sanctify". On 14 August 2018, "If You're Over Me" was certified Gold by the British Phonographic Industry and announced via the band's Twitter account
In September 2018, Years & Years released the official music video for "All For You", featuring an angelic version of Alexander dancing within an abandoned warehouse before transforming into a demonic version of himself and engaging in a dance-off with an android.
Alexander collaborated with the Pet Shop Boys on their 2019 single 'Dreamland,' and later released a cover of their hit 'It's a Sin' to coincide with his starring role in the drama series of the same name.
On 18 March 2021 Years & Years became the solo project of Olly Alexander.
In July 2021, Alexander was announced as one of the five musicians hosting BBC Radio 1's Future Sounds show for the month of August and early September alongside Arlo Parks, YUNGBLUD, Charli XCX and Tom Grennan. Annie Mac, who hosted Future Sounds, left the radio station in late July after spending 17 years there.
By Jack Irvin
Recovering from a breakup isn’t easy, even if the relationship wasn’t romantic. Early last year, Olly Alexander told fans he’d be pursuing Years & Years as a solo venture after fronting the synthpop band, alongside instrumentalists Emre Türkmen and Michael Goldsworthy, for over a decade. Following years of creative disagreements, Alexander became free to fully explore his lifelong aspirations of major pop stardom, no longer seeking his bandmates’ approval. But having full creative control has come with unforeseen, mainly self-inflicted pressures for the 31-year-old musician, whose new album, Night Call, drops today (January 21). “I have a big fear of failure, I realized. If anything goes wrong, it’s really on my shoulders,” Alexander tells MTV News. “It’s been a real journey, but I’m so grateful. I love making music and being Years & Years.”