Andy Bell is best known as the frontman for the enduring electropop duo Erasure. In addition he has released two solo albums under his own name, a further two as offshoots of his one-man theatre project Torsten The Bareback Saint, and has collaborated with artists as diverse as British Electric Foundation, Jake Shears, Claudia Brücken, Perry Farrell, Shelter and Dave Audé.
Born Andrew Ivan Bell in Peterborough in April 1964 Andy was the first of six children. He developed a love for music at a young age, joining the school choir at the Dogsthorpe Infants and Junior School before going on to dedicate a large amount of time listening to a wide range of musical influences including Japan, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Yazoo and Blondie.
As a young adult, Andy moved to London to pursue a career in music. After brief stints with The Void, Baume and Dinger, he auditioned for former Depeche Mode and Yazoo mainman Vince Clarke. Together, they formed the synthpop duo Erasure, which quickly became an equal songwriting partnership, featuring Clarke on keyboards and Bell on lead vocals. They released their debut single, Who Needs Love Like That, in 1985, followed by their debut album, Wonderland. Their fourth single, Sometimes, became their first big hit, peaking at number two on the UK charts, and in the top five of America’s Billboard Hot Dance Music chart.
Although Andy’s long-running partnership with Vince Clarke in Erasure (recipients of Best British Group at The Brit Awards) remains very much a going concern – since the release of Wonderland the duo have gone on to sell over 20 million albums, 5 of them hitting the UK number one spot and had 17 Top 10 UK singles – he has subsequently embarked on a parallel solo career, writing and recording two solo albums Electric Blue (2005) and Non-Stop (2010).
In 2014 he took the title role in the critically acclaimed one-man theatre show Torsten The Bareback Saint at London’s St James Theatre and the Edinburgh Festival, releasing an album of songs from the show the same year followed by a remix album, Variance, in 2015. Bell will reprise the role of Torsten in a second one-man show, Torsten The Beautiful Libertine, in March 2016.
Andy topped the US Billboard Dance Charts in 2014 with the dance track Aftermath (Here We Go), a collaboration with US producer and remixer Dave Audé and the duo have plans to release more material from their collaboration shortly.
An openly gay man, Andy has become an icon within the LGBT community for his honesty, compassion and support. Among his tireless support of various LGBT causes Andy has served as an ambassador for New York’s Hetrick-Martin Institute and is currently a patron of the Cambridge-based charity Dhiverse.