Years & Years are a British electronica trio founded in London. The band consists of frontman and keyboard player Olly Alexander, bass guitarist Mikey Goldsworthy, and keyboardist Emre Türkmen. Years & Years' music has been described as electropop, mixing R&B and 1990s house elements, with Flying Lotus, Diplo, Radiohead and Jai Paul being their core influences. Their single, "King", reached number 1 on the UK Singles Chart, while their later single "Shine", reached number 2.
The band was formed in 2010, after Goldsworthy moved to London from Australia and met Türkmen online. Shortly afterwards, Alexander joined the band as lead vocalist after Goldsworthy heard him singing in the shower. The band was originally a five-piece group, with Noel Leeman and Olivier Subria. Leeman left the band in 2013.
Years & Years' first 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 to the French label Kitsuné Records as a three-piece and released their second single, "Traps", in September 2013. Their third single, "Real", was released by Kitsuné in February 2014 and its music video featured an appearance by Alexander’s Peter and Alice co-star, Ben Whishaw, and the former Misfits actor Nathan Stewart-Jarrett. In 2014, the group signed to Polydor Records and released their fourth single, "Take Shelter". The EP reached number 1 on the iTunes UK Singles Electronic Chart. In December 2014, the group's fifth single, "Desire", was released, peaking at No. 22 on the UK singles chart. In January 2015, Years & Years' sixth single, "King", was previewed on BBC Radio 1 and selected as Zane Lowe's Hottest Record of the day. In March 2015, the single reached number one on the UK Singles Chart. In January 2015, Years & Years won the prestigious BBC Sound of 2015 award. Years & Years were also nominated for the Critics Choice Award at the Brit Awards in 2015. "King", released on 1 March, reached number one on the UK Singles Chart on 8 March 2015. On 18 March 2015, Years & Years announced their first album, Communion. It was released on 10 July 2015 by Polydor and entered the UK Album Chart at number 1. As well as it being the fastest-selling debut album in 2015 from a UK signed band, it was also the first number one on the inaugural New Music Fridays release date, marking a moment in history.
To celebrate the launch of the album, a world first interactive ad-break takeover happened on Channel 4, on the evening the album was released. Three exclusive music videos for the band's next single, "Shine", were filmed especially for the initiative, and fans were encouraged to 'take control' of the ad break by tweeting the hashtag for the video they most wanted to see; #ChooseLight, #ChooseShadow or #ChooseDark. The initiative garnered 1.55 million viewers and resulted in the most interacted-with ad in Channel 4 history. "Shine" was released as the band's seventh single, serving as a follow-up to their sixth single, "King". It was released on 5 July 2015, peaking at number 2 on the UK Singles Chart. "Eyes Shut" was released as their eighth single that was to be taken from Communion. The music video for the single was released on 27 September 2015, and the video depicted the band exploring a post-apocalyptic world, set in the outskirts of Sofia, Bulgaria.
In January 2016, Years & Years were nominated for four BRIT Awards, including British Group, British Breakthrough Act, British Single (for "King") and British Artist Video (also for "King"). On 2 March 2016, the band announced that Tove Lo would feature on their next single; a new version of, "Desire". The music video was released on the next day, accompanied by an open letter from frontman Olly Alexander on the band's Facebook page. This detailed the concept of the video and highlighted the LGBT issues addressed by it (such as sexuality and gender dynamics), for which Alexander had become somewhat of a spokesperson. The band played their biggest headline show to date on 8 April 2016, at Wembley Arena, London, as part of their 2016 UK headline tour. The show was completely sold out, with support coming from MØ, Nimmo and Mabel. In July 2016, the band released the music video for their next single from Communion, "Worship". The music video was directed by Matt Lambert, with choreography from Ryan Heffington. On 11 September 2016, Years & Years performed the last show of their Communion tour at Lollapalooza in Berlin.
On 13 September 2016, the band released the song "Meteorite", which was included on the soundtrack for the film Bridget Jones's Baby. On 28 September 2016, the music video for the song was released. Alexander later announced that he had been working on new music with Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter. The first single from the album, called "Sanctify", was released on 7 March 2018. The song reached #1 Trending on YouTube within the first 24 hours after its launch. A short interview was released after the music video with Olly explaining his inspiration for the song came from experiences he's had with men who claim to be hetrosexual but have desires of other sexualities in which they struggle to embrace.
Olly Alexander – vocals, keyboards
Mikey Goldsworthy – synthesizers, keyboards, bass guitar, acoustic bass guitar
Emre Türkmen – synthesizers, keyboards, beats, samples, sampling, sequencers, laptop, acoustic guitar
Dylan Bell – drummer (live performances)
Sources: Last.fm, Wikipedia
Years & Years in the news
|Songs by Years & Years|