Parlophone / UK
Gorillaz is singer 2D, bassist Murdoc Niccals, guitarist Noodle and drummer Russel Hobbs. Created by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, their acclaimed eponymous debut album was released in 2001. The BRIT and Grammy Award winning band's subsequent albums are Demon Days (2005), Plastic Beach (2010) and The Fall (2011). A truly global phenomenon, Gorillaz have topped charts around the world and toured the globe from San Diego to Syria, picking up hundreds of millions of streams and record sales along the way. Gorillaz have achieved success in entirely ground-breaking ways, winning numerous awards including the coveted Jim Henson Creativity Honor and are recognised by The Guinness Book Of World Records as the planet's Most Successful Virtual Act.
In January of this year, on the eve of Donald Trump's presidential inauguration, Gorillaz fans needed to wait no more, as 'Hallelujuah Money' (featuring Benjamin Clementine) dropped to widespread acclaim. Gorillaz were back making their highly anticipated return with a new studio album. Humanz, their fifth - "… an inspired party album for a world gone mad." (The Guardian) arrived in April reaching #1 and #2 in the U.S. and U.K. charts respectively, topping the iTunes charts in over 60 countries around the world. Produced by Gorillaz, The Twilite Tone of D /\ P and Remi Kabaka and recorded in London, Paris, New York, Chicago and Jamaica, Humanz comes seven years on from the release of albums The Fall and Plastic Beach. Murdoc, Noodle, Russel and 2D are - as always - joined by a stellar line up of featured artists which includes Jehnny Beth (Savages), Danny Brown, Benjamin Clementine, De La Soul, D.R.A.M., Peven Everett, Anthony Hamilton, Grace Jones, Zebra Katz, Kelela, Mavis Staples, Vince Staples, Popcaan, Pusha T, Jamie Principle and Kali Uchis among others.
Other highlights this year include the launch of mixed reality Gorillaz app which allowed fans to hear the album for the first time as part of the largest ever worldwide geo specific listening experience bringing people together across 500 locations, from Tokyo to Santiago; Saturnz Barz (Spirit House) – the six-minute Jamie Hewlett-directed epic animated film featuring four Humanz tracks - was YouTube's highest debuting 360 video; the "joyful apocalypse" that was Demon Dayz - the new one day festival curated by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, "took over the amusement park for a carnivalesque festival of great performances" (The Guardian) and featured a headline slot from Gorillaz - sold out within minutes on announcement and included performances from Kano, Vince Staples, Danny Brown, Popcaan, Little Simz, Kali Uchis, and Kilo Kish across three stages. The world tour which followed has seen Gorillaz play to sold out crowds across Europe and North & South America.