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Damon Albarn

Lead-singer of Blur, Gorillaz takes pop by storm

From indie to hip-hop to African beats and film scoring, Albarn’s talent matches his hometown for growth and diversity. He might have been on angst overload during Blur’s war days with Britpop rivals Oasis, but here’s a frontman who had the fire to become a cartoon and take the world with Gorillaz. His collaboration with Clash bassist Paul Simonon this year produced “The Good, the Bad and the Queen,” a rich combo of Afrobeats and eccentric pop, penned around London life. In October “El Gusto” — an album of upbeat Algerian chaabi music produced by Albarn and backed by a show at the Barbican — is due for release on his Honest Jon’s label. Going for a quiet life is not an option.