Ever since it was announced that Olly Alexander will be representing the United Kingdom at Eurovision 2024, we’ve been going ‘Dizzy’ with with anticipation for his Eurovision 2024 entry, and we simply cannot wait to see what Olly Alexander brings to the table in Malmö. But what do we actually know about the British modern-day icon? Here, we bring you 10 Facts about Olly Alexander, ranging from his career, to who he is and his love for Eurovision.

He’s a huge star in his native U.K., for both his music career and increcible acting. As one of the most recognisable names in the country, there’s lots to dive into before he reveals the full version of the assumed electro-banger ‘Dizzy’ on March 1st.

10 Facts about Olly Alexander

1. Who is Olly Alexander?

To start off, let’s see who Olly actually is. His full name is Oliver Alexander Thornton, and he was born in the north-English (and former Eurovision host) town of Harrogate. However, he spent most of his childhood in the south west of England, in the town of Coleford, Somerset county – near the border with Wales.

He wrote his first song aged 10 on his father’s keyboard, the beginning of becoming the artist he is today. He became an actor first and later joined the band Years & Years. Speaking of which…

2. The frontman of Years & Years

Olly was the face and frontman of British electropop group Years & Years between 2012-2023, after joining when bandmate Mike Goldsworthy overheard him singing in the shower. 

He had huge success with the band (more on that later), releasing 3 albums and 26 singles under the name. In 2021 Years & Years became a solo project for Olly after his 2 colleagues left the group, and the album “Night Call” graced our ears.

When Olly announced he would be representing the United Kingdom at Eurovision 2024, he confirmed he will be leaving the moniker behind. He will now be going forwards just as Olly Alexander, starting with our beloved contest!

3. Huge chart success across Europe and beyond

Even if you’re thinking “I’ve never heard of Olly/Years & Years, why is everyone so excited?”…there’s a good chance you actually have heard their music before. Their breakout single “King” was a colossal hit domestically, and abroad. They hit the top of the UK Singles Chart, and charted high in six other Eurovision-voting countries (Australia, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands and Sweden) – five of which were Top 10. Other UK Top 10 singles for Years & Years include “Shine” and “If You’re Over Me”

This doesn’t even cover his album success, with 2 albums reaching the top of the UK Albums Chart (the debut “Communion” and his solo project “Night Call”), and another reaching the Top 3. These also charted in the six countries mentioned before, again almost all being in the Top 10.

4. Olly is also a critically-revered actor

Olly Alexander actually started in career in acting, debuting in limited-series children’s drama Summerhill as ‘Ned’. He then acted in various indie films and also performing in London’s West End. He shared the stage with British film icons Judi Dench and Ben Wishaw!

His biggest role to date was as Richie Tozer in the BBC & HBO drama series ‘It’s A Sin’. The show depicts the experience of a group of young LGBTQ+ people living through the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980’s and early nineties. The show was hard-hitting and critics raved over it, and especially over Olly’s performance. His character goes through an intense emotional arc of elation of moving to London, the fear of the pandemic and homphobia in the UK, and inevitable grief from losing loved ones. His character faces questions and denial over mortality, and Olly depicted the character so incredibly that it became one of the largest talking points out of the show.

It is unsurprising then, that Olly was nominted for a BAFTA Television Award (The British Academy awards – comparable with the Emmy’s) for Best Actor. He was also nominated for a Critic’s Choice Award for Best Actor in a Limited Series, an incredible achievement.

5. Olly has done many iconic duets

Olly Alexander has managed to snag the kind of duets most artists can only dream of! In his chart releases, he’s worked with Swedish icons such as Tove Lo and EDM star Galantis (on ‘Sweet Talker’, a personal favourite). He also released ‘Play’ with Grammy-nominated Jax Jones, a fellow British chart-stormer.

However, Olly is very well-known for his incredible live collaborations. When the TV show ‘It’s a Sin’ was released, Olly covered the show’s namesake song, originally by The Pet Shop Boys. He later performed this at the famous BRIT Awards in 2021, with none other than THE Elton John.

The star-power didn’t stop here, with Olly bringing in some equally huge names for his BBC New Year’s special on New Year’s Eve also in 2021. If you asked all queer artists in the world who they would love to work with, many would reply with Kylie Minogue. Olly got to do exactly this, singing ‘A Second To Midnight’. He also sang with the afore-mentioned eighties ground-breakers The Pet Shop Boys twice, for the second time, after performing with them back in 2019.

6. A leading LGBTQ+ campaigner and rights advocate

It’s no secret that Olly is a passionate rights activist for the LGBTQ+ community. He has used two opportunities to deliver an impassionaed speech about queer rights on one of the biggest stages in the world: Glastonbury Festival. In 2016 he spoke to the crowd about the devastating Orlando nightclub attack, and the safety of LGBTQ+ people. In 2019, the group were on the biggest stage of the festival – the world-famous Pyramid Stage. Here Olly spoke about his experience being gay, and celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York. He told the audience of up to 200,000 people about the black transgender women who fought for the rights that queer people hold today.

In 2020, continuing the celebrations of the 50th anniersary of Stonewall, Queerty magazine named Olly in their list of 50 Heroes “leading the nation toward equality, acceptance, and dignity for all people”. In the same year he later won LGBT Celebrity of the Year at the British LGBT Awards.

7. Olly’s love for the Eurovision Song Contest

After announcing that he will be representing the UK at Eurovision, Olly gushed about his love for the show. In an interview with BBC Breakfast, when asked about how far back his Eurovision memories go, Olly said:

I think they go back to being a kid, and watching the show with my family and like, ordering pizza and spending all night in front of the TV watching this insane, amazing show

Olly then called the contest a “spiritual homecoming” for him. He described Eurovision as a “celebration of joy, and fun” and particularly said he loves “the theatrics, the drama, there’s such an amazing chaos”. The different musical styles and varying types of performers were other things he said he admired about the event, and of course the fact it’s camp. Naturally!

8. And his favourite Eurovision song?

Unsurprising to many, when asked what his favourite Eurovision entry of all time was – like many modern contest alumni before him – he said his pick is “Euphoria” by Loreen. It’s a classic for a reason, y’all!

9. ‘Growing Up Gay in a Straight World’

T/W: Self-harm, bullying

Olly hosted a short-documentary for the youth-aimed channel BBC Three called ‘Growing Up Gay in a Straight World’. Olly is extremely open in this about his past mental health struggles. Much of these problems he attributes to homophobia faced from when he was 9 years old and into adulthood. On the hardships LGBTQ+ people face, he says “I personally am yet to meet an LGBT person that hasn’t been unscathed by growing up LGBT”.

His mother features, as says she had a feeling Olly was gay when he was younger but she was scared to affirm that, due to fear of how this would affect his life.

He says that he still suffers with anxiety and depression as an adult, but he also bravely opens up about self-harm issues he faced during the worst of the bullying he faced.

10. Olly is a huge Rihanna fan

Aren’t we all? Olly appeared on The Graham Norton Show in 2021, Olly recounted a time when he’d been on the show before and met Rihanna. Did he act cool and calm? No. He said that it was one of the best nights of his life, and he “blacked out” and “didn’t remember the experience” because he was too intensely excited. He even said he’d reached over Helena Bonham Carter in order to touch Rihanna, and then watched the show back later and was rather embarrasses about it all. Oops!

He talked to her after the show, and gave her a copy of Years & Years’ 2nd album Palo Santo. he said she could throw it in the bin, but luckily Rihanna told him she would “never do that”, so that’s a happy ending I guess!

Come back for more exciting stories and facts about Olly Alexander as national final season continues and we head towards pre-parties and Malmö 2024 itself!

 

 

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vetrina
vetrina
1 month ago

The snippet was disappointing. Let’s see!

Eve
Eve
1 month ago

I’m sooo looking forward to his song!

Jay
Jay
1 month ago

Great! A nancy boy representing the UK .. is no one straight? This will be embarrassing!

Masher
Masher
1 month ago
Reply to  Jay

Grow up mate. You’re embarassing.

ESCflyer
ESCflyer
1 month ago
Reply to  Jay

You’re the embarrassment!!! Pathetic!!

Noam600
Noam600
1 month ago

I like how he is now 7 in the odds…. and Israel without even a song yet pass Iceland, Ireland and the UK… DAMN… hahahahaha

Wedding Cake Island
Wedding Cake Island
1 month ago
Reply to  Noam600

If i could swat you pesky Israeli fly trolls, i would.

Ana
Ana
1 month ago

But you actually can choke on our d*ck. Bon appetit

Brobb
Brobb
1 month ago

Buzz buzz, ya ben zona

Elle P
Elle P
1 month ago
Reply to  Noam600

The UK not Iceland have a song yet lol

Anyway Israel are getting kicked out so that dropped very quickly didn’t it :’)

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
1 month ago

Olly was born in Harrogate. I like that coincidence.

Cassidy Civet
Cassidy Civet
1 month ago

Anyone seen what Olly has done to the Years and Years profile on Spotify? Kinda makes him look like an unlikeable egomaniac.

Anhel
Anhel
1 month ago
Reply to  Cassidy Civet

Someone didn’t read the article.

Alex
Alex
1 month ago
Reply to  Cassidy Civet

Because he owns the band’s music catalog.

Jas
Jas
1 month ago

The uk can’t do right for doing wrong. Complain they don’t make effort and deserve bottom
Placing. They then make an effort and send a decent act (granted we don’t know the song yet) and the hate doubles?

Skirmy
Skirmy
1 month ago

My fear is that he’s entering this with a song that “should” appeal to a typical audience of Eurovision which is a super camp pop song when in fact it’s all about connecting each aspect of music performing to create an authentic experience for the viewer. This so far just feel like “let’s go camp for Eurovision”.

NoMoreEscAddicted
NoMoreEscAddicted
1 month ago

I learned nothing new here, so why especially this article here today only applying cream again on Olly… I don’t get it…

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
1 month ago

Yay, you mentioned it’s a sin for your 10 facts list, which is how I first heard of Olly Alexander. Now I hope he can reconnect with Russell T. Davies and book himself a guest spot on doctor who.

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  BadWoolfGirl

I’d like a Doctor Who episode where they travel back to Lugano 1956.

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas

Ooh, a doctor who episode exploring the origins of Eurovision? Sign me up, or I could write it myself as a fan fic. There actually is a doctor who audio called bang-bang—a-boom that features a parody of Eurovision called the intergalactic song contest. You can listen to it on Spotify.

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  BadWoolfGirl

That audio sounds interesting, thank you.

If you are writing fan fic, make sure to include Zero Mavity!

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas

Or Ukraine 2013, Mavity

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas

That’s actually a really good idea! You should pitch that to them. (Pitch – unintentional double meaning there.)

Leo M
Leo M
1 month ago

A lot of hype, love Years and Years but why am I sensing disappointment?

Ana
Ana
1 month ago

Is there a special price for overrated performers? Because I know who will definitely win it

anna
anna
1 month ago
Reply to  Lucy Percy

Is he one of the biggest starts in the UK? Like really? Or it’s just the think you tell yourself to feel superior. Because feeling superior is something that the Brits like to do. As we all know

Jason
Jason
1 month ago
Reply to  anna

Yea. Like putting a whole nation down is like making you feel superior!

Ana
Ana
1 month ago
Reply to  Jason

Putting whole nations down was also British speciality, like physically putting them down.

Devito
1 month ago
Reply to  Lucy Percy

I didn’t know it was him who sang “Years & Years” and many other hits, but then again, it was around 10 years ago. Is he still relevant to this age of music? I mean, does he make music that charts in the UK? I always find it vague when big countries bring famous names from the long past. Cascada and The Rasmus come to mind as prime examples.

Sandy
Sandy
1 month ago
Reply to  Devito

Lol years and years was sung by olly murs….. completely different singer. Years and years is the name of olly Alexander’s ex band.
olly Alexander was only starting out around ten years ago, years and years were the 16th biggest selling band globally of the 2010s decade. He is only now focusing on his solo career due to also being a very successful actor both on screen and in theatres.

Devito
1 month ago
Reply to  Sandy

My bad, I misinterpreted those two as a single person. So from what I see, at least on his Youtube channel, he’s more of an entertainer, and the songs he published did not attract much either. Maybe he is big elsewhere? Like Spotify or… I’m just honestly trying to find the logic behind why the bookmakers have been bidding on him since December: the song has not been released, and he does not seem to be a big star from my perspective. What’s the catch? If the numbers aren’t too different on other platforms, I assume it’s because most bookmakers… Read more »

Laura
Laura
1 month ago
Reply to  Devito

Because your opinion isn’t fact?

Sandy
Sandy
1 month ago
Reply to  Devito

Haha, it’s fine it’s a easy mistake to make. To be honest I do agree with you about the betting odds having him very high, at one point he was the favourite to win, which is very bizarre as his song hadn’t even had a clip released at that point. My guess is he is simply high because he was confirmed as the uk’s act very early on and he is someone who is relatively well known. In reality the bookmakers make their odds based on the past three Eurovision’s scores combined then they adjust them up or down depending… Read more »

Matt
Matt
1 month ago

I am going to be a bag of nerves during the day on the 1st of March. There’s reason to have so much hope for this, but the snippet (which of course is just 20-seconds or so) isn’t doing anything for me, and the stars really need to align for the U.K. at Eurovision. Here’s hoping.

Matt
Matt
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt

*as in the stars need to align for the U.K. to do well at Eurovision.

Bandido
Bandido
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt

Definitely overrated and too generic to meet near the expectations of the odds right now. Almost ridiculous think this is going to be top, cause there’s so much variety potential of this year contest with this basic generic pop-song.

Jonny
Jonny
1 month ago

Don’t forget that he signed a letter where Israel is called an “apartheid regime”.

Roy
Roy
1 month ago

Its going to flop soo hard.. and I’m here for it!

Nath
Nath
1 month ago
Reply to  Roy

You’re just nasty. Eurovision should be about positivity and bringing people together, not routing for them to fail.

Jay
Jay
1 month ago
Reply to  Roy

I believe it will be my #36 just in front of the dreadful Estonia …

The Voice of Reason
The Voice of Reason
1 month ago

As a Brit, i’m more excited to see how Marko Puriši? aka BABY LASAGNA will perform on Friday and Sunday at Dora! He’s just released another music video that shows the origins of Rim Tim Tagi Dim with shots of farmers banging their fists against a table and tools against the ground! Croatia will be in revolution if he’s not chosen!

Despicable Annie
Despicable Annie
1 month ago

Well, since we’re on topic, happy birthday Rihanna!

Roy Moreno
Roy Moreno
1 month ago

Considering the calls to ban Israel, the UK should be banned too for attacking in Yemen.
So 11th fact about Olly – his country is attacking the people of Yemen. Hypocrisy really.

Sandy
Sandy
1 month ago
Reply to  Roy Moreno

HIS country has not attacked the people of yemen. HIS countries ships were attacked by a group of terrorists who want to drag other countries into the Israel crisis. Stop being a troll and go and get a day job and do something more productive with your time.

Roy Moreno
Roy Moreno
1 month ago
Reply to  Sandy

I am, actually. This is just something I do on my spare time 🙂 Do you know what’s funny though? When we say that we’re attacking terrorists, people say exactly what I said up there, about how Israel is just attacking the innocent people. If they can twist reality, why shouldn’t I do the same? I know who’s being attacked in Yemen, I know the Houthis, but I don’t think you guys know H@mas. Unless, of course, Israel is the only country not allowed to attack back. That’s your hypocrisy, exposed. By the way, trying to mock me and talk… Read more »

Sandy
Sandy
1 month ago
Reply to  Roy Moreno

I stated known true facts.
1, the situation as it is known
2, your a troll who doesn’t have two brain cells in your head, if you did then you would put them to use and go and do something constructive for the world.

no country should be attacking another country unprovoked, or even retaliating as it just becomes a vicious circle of hate that breeds more hate and the situation never becomes resolved.

Roy Moreno
Roy Moreno
1 month ago
Reply to  Sandy

The fact you’re trying to speak so lowly on me just shows how you have nothing wise to say.
I’m not trying to lower you, so show some respect back.
FYI, I’m a student for medical imaging, which is quite helpful for people, so I am doing something productive, but once again, you don’t care about facts, you just try to be mean.

Im so fab
Im so fab
1 month ago

11. He will flop hard no matter how much you push him into our faces.

Roy
Roy
1 month ago
Reply to  Lucy Percy

Not at all he is already down in odds… he is too extra

Roy Moreno
Roy Moreno
1 month ago
Reply to  Lucy Percy

Just like you talked about Eden Golan… Nothing besides politics…
You’re allowed to do whatever you want, it’s a private blog, just say so clearly

The Voice of Reason
The Voice of Reason
1 month ago
Reply to  Lucy Percy

Why aren’t we talking more about Croatia in the odds? My boy just got 5,000 views and 1.6 likes in an hour on his new music video for RIM TIM TAGI DIM?

Sandy
Sandy
1 month ago
Reply to  Lucy Percy

Baby lasagnes song has such a addictive beat, even people who don’t like this genre of music have said it’s annoyingly catchy. I haven’t seen anything else this season that will beat him this year so far. I do also like let3 babaroga aswell, it’s def a step up from their song last year in my opinion.
I don’t think it’s 100 percent clear cut baby lasagne will win Dora, it might come down to what crazy antics let3 have planned for babaroga on stage at Dora

Ari
Ari
1 month ago

The shared snippet makes me think Eurovision will be Mustii’s party instead.