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Toyah

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King's Heath, Birmingham, England (1977 – present)

Toyah (born Toyah Ann Willcox on 18 May 1958 in King’s Heath, Birmingham, England) is an English actress and singer. In a career spanning more than thirty years, Toyah has had 13 Top 40 singles, released 22 studio albums, written two books, appeared in over forty stage plays and ten feature films, and voiced and presented numerous television shows, including Brum, Watchdog and Songs of Praise.

She attended Edgbaston C of E College where she gained a GCE pass in music and trained as an actress at the Old Rep Drama School in her home town of Birmingham. Toyah’s father ran successful joinery businesses.

She first became well-known during the punk rock era, her appearances in Derek Jarman’s 1977 film Jubilee and 1979’s Who album-inspired Quadrophenia launching her as a provocative and anti-establishment figure, an image she eventually abandoned.

Fronting a band known as Toyah, her singing career was slow to take off and the band released six singles in the UK before finally hitting the charts in 1981, with “It’s A Mystery” and “I Want To Be Free”. These singles were also successful on an international level. In 1982, she was voted Best Female Singer at the British Rock and Pop Awards — since restyled as The BRIT Awards, or “BRITs” — and in 1986 she married UK guitarist Robert Fripp. She was one of the first acts to score regularly in the UK Singles Chart with EPs. Also in 1986, Willcox sang lead on the Tony Banks track “Lion of Symmetry”. In 1987 she made the top fifty with her version of “Echo Beach”.

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