Roland Gift

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Roland Gift
Roland Gift 1990.jpg
Gift pictured at a Grammy rehearsal in 1990
Roland Lee Gift

(1961-05-28) 28 May 1961 (age 62)
Birmingham, England
Occupation(s)Musician, actor
Years active1978−present
Known forMember of Fine Young Cannibals and Akrylykz

Roland Lee Gift (born 28 May 1961)[1] is a British singer, songwriter and actor. He is the former singer/frontman of the pop band Fine Young Cannibals.

Early life[edit]

Gift was born on 28 May 1961 in the Sparkhill district of Birmingham,[2] to an English mother and an Afro-Caribbean father. He lived in Sparkhill until the age of 11, receiving his early formal education at Anderton Park School and Arden Primary School.[3] His family then moved to Kingston upon Hull, where his mother, Pauline, ran several second-hand clothes shops, whilst he was a pupil at Kelvin Hall School.

Music career[edit]

Gift's first recording was as a saxophonist with Akrylykz, a ska band from Hull. The album the second release on York's Red Rhino Records.[4] Although this record was unsuccessful, it did bring him to the attention of Andy Cox and David Steele of the Beat. Akrylykz toured with the Beat,[5] which led to them, in around 1985, asking him to be the lead singer of their new band Fine Young Cannibals after their old band, the Beat, had broken up. He also was a guest artist on the Ska City Rockers' "Time Is Tight" single.

In 1990, he was named by People magazine as one of the "50 Most Beautiful People" in the world.

Gift has performed as a solo artist, appearing at the Rewind Festival in Henley.[6] On 13 February 2012, Gift appeared on BBC Radio Solent promoting the gigs and announced a potential new album in 2012. This would be a soundtrack to a film Gift was apparently involved with. "The Prisoner" was played on the show and Gift said this would probably be included in the soundtrack.

He also appeared in Jools Holland's 20th annual Hootenanny show, which aired overnight on BBC2 on 31 December 2012 / 1 January 2013,[7] the last to be recorded at BBC Television Centre. Gift sang the Fine Young Cannibals hits "Good Thing" and "Suspicious Minds".

Gift was a guest vocalist on Jools Holland's 2013 tour.[8]

10 years after his first Hootenanny appearance, Gift re-appeared in Jools Holland's annual Hootenanny show again, which aired overnight on BBC2 on 31 December 2022 / 1 January 2023,[9]. Gift sang the Fine Young Cannibals hits "Suspicious Minds" and "Good Thing".

Acting career[edit]

Roland Gift at Guilfest 2011

In 1987, Gift had his first screen role in the film Sammy and Rosie Get Laid, and also appeared in Out of Order the same year. In 1990 he did his first stage work, playing Romeo in the Hull Truck Theatre's production of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, a production which had a brief run in the United States at the Staller Center for the Arts.[10] He also appeared as a lounge singer (singing songs that were included in the Fine Young Cannibals' album The Raw and the Cooked) in the 1987 film Tin Men, directed by Barry Levinson.[11]

In 1989, he appeared in Scandal as Johnny Edgecombe, Christine Keeler's boyfriend.

In December 1992, he began the first of five appearances as the evil Immortal Xavier St. Cloud in the television series Highlander: The Series, and appeared in a 1993 episode of the Yorkshire Television series Heartbeat (Ser. 2 Ep 5). He also had a small role as the jazz saxophonist Eddie Mullen in the mini-series Painted Lady (1997), starring Helen Mirren, and appeared in the movie The Island of the Mapmaker's Wife (2001).

In 1997, he appeared in a series of commercials to launch BankDirect, an internet and phone based bank.[12]

In 2020, he starred as Johnny Holloway, an ex-pop star sent to jail, in the BBC Radio 4 musical drama Return to Vegas. Gift wrote the play and co-composed the music together with Ben Barson, brother of Madness's Mike Barson).[13][14][15]

Personal life[edit]

Gift has three sisters, Helga, Ragna and Jay, and one brother, Paul.

One of Gift's two sons,[16] Louis, was a member of an experimental acrobatic circus company called the 'Barely Methodical Troupe', which staged a public performance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2016.[17]

His wife Louise died in 2019.[16]



Year Information UK Albums Chart
2002 Roland Gift


Year Single UK Singles Chart Album
2002 "It's Only Money"
2009 "Crushed"
*(as Roland Lee Gift)
Non-album single


  1. ^ Roland Gift at AllMusic
  2. ^ Coleman, Andy (15 March 2002). "Good Thing, Where Have You Gone?: Interview – Roland Gift". Birmingham Evening Mail. Trinity Mirror Midlands. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  3. ^ Robertson, Peter (10 August 2002). "Home truths: Roland Gift". The Mirror. Trinity Mirror. Archived from the original on 11 June 2014. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  4. ^ "Tony Kostrzewa: Founder of Red Rhino Records". The Independent. 9 May 2008.
  5. ^ "The Rebel Magazine: Q & A with Roland Gift". 12 January 2011. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
  6. ^ "Roland Gift – Rewind 2012". Absolute Radio. Archived from the original on 9 August 2014. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  7. ^ "BBC Two – Jools' Annual Hootenanny, Jools' 20th Annual Hootenanny – 2012". 31 December 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  8. ^ "Official Web Site | Tour Dates". Jools Holland. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  9. ^ "BBC Two – Jools' Annual Hootenanny – 2022". 31 December 2022.
  10. ^ "Review/Theater; Pop Star as a Nontraditional Romeo". The New York Times. 14 July 1990. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
  11. ^ Gerard, Chris (11 February 2014). "Classic album revisited: Fine Young Cannibals "The Raw and The Cooked"". Metro Weekly.
  12. ^ "BankDirect legal fees offer". YouTube. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 11 September 2020.
  13. ^ "Fine Young Cannibal Roland Gift: 'I went back to where being pretty didn't matter'". The Guardian. 3 December 2020. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  14. ^ "Album: Roland Gift". The Independent. 13 April 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  15. ^ "Return to Vegas: A Music Drama - Media Centre". Archived from the original on 28 September 2021. Retrieved 3 December 2020.
  16. ^ a b Simpson, Dave (3 December 2020). "Fine Young Cannibal Roland Gift: 'I went back to where being pretty didn't matter'". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 December 2020.
  17. ^ Lyons, Beverley (7 August 2014). "Video: Bromance star Louis Gift reveals how his life has gone full circle as he appears at Edinburgh Fringe". Daily Record. Retrieved 17 January 2016.

External links[edit]