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Roland Orzabal (full name Roland Jaime Orzabal de la Quintana) is an internationally acclaimed musician, songwriter and record producer. He is known mainly as a co-founding member of Tears for Fears,
of which he is the main songwriter and predominant vocalist, but he has
also achieved success as a producer of other artists. Born on 22 August
1961, in Portsmouth, England, Orzabal's mother is English and his
father is from Paris, but of Spanish-Basque descent. Orzabal was
originally named "Raoul" at birth for two weeks, but this was
subsequently changed to Roland to anglicize the name as they were
living in England.
Orzabal met Curt Smith while both were in their early teens in Bath, England. In the late-1970s, they formed a ska music group, Graduate, along with three other members. Following the release of their debut album, Acting My Age, the group disbanded and Orzabal and Smith went on to form Tears for Fears, a synth pop/new wave music outfit directly inspired by the writings of American psychologist Arthur Janov (see the Wikipedia Tears for Fears page for more details).
After a decade of major international success, Orzabal and Smith had an acrimonious split in the early 1990s. Although Orzabal continued to work as Tears for Fears after he and Smith parted ways, the subsequent TFF albums Elemental (1993) and Raoul and the Kings of Spain (1995) are effectively solo works by him in all but name. In April 2001 (and Sept 11, in the U.S.), he released his first proper solo album, Tomcats Screaming Outside, under his own name as he and Smith had reconciled by that point and were working on a new Tears for Fears album together (2004's Everybody Loves a Happy Ending).
In addition to co-producing most of Tears for Fears' records, Orzabal also produced Oleta Adams' successful album "Circle Of One" (1990) along with Dave Bascombe, following on from Adams' collaboration on the 1989 Tears for Fears album The Seeds Of Love. The album reached #1 in the UK and was top 20 in the US. Orzabal also co-wrote the lead track "Rhythm of Life" for the album, which was initially intended for The Seeds Of Love. He also appeared in the song's accompanying music video. In 1999, Orzabal also co-produced the Icelandic singer/songwriter Emiliana Torrini's acclaimed album Love In The Time Of Science, along with Tears for Fears associate Alan Griffiths. The pair also wrote two tracks for the album. Although he did not produce it, Orzabal's talents as a songwriter were recognised again in recent years after Gary Jules' cover version of the song Mad World became the Christmas #1 single in the UK in 2003. It is taken from the soundtrack of the film Donnie Darko. The song was originally composed by Orzabal and was Tears for Fears' first hit single in 1982.
Orzabal has been married to his wife Caroline since 1982. They have two children, Raoul and Pascal. At the height of Tears for Fears' popularity in 1985, Orzabal gained considerable press attention for his strained relationship with his father and a humorous cartoon was printed in the UK tabloid The Sun pertaining to this. The cartoon was later reprinted within the cover artwork for the Tears for Fears single "I Believe".Other than music and psychology, Orzabal has cited interests in photography, politics, sociology and astrology.
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