David Sylvian (born 23 February 1958) is an English singer-songwriter and musician who came to prominence in the late 1970s as the lead vocalist and main songwriter in the group Japan. His subsequent solo work is described by AllMusic critic Jason Ankeny as "a far-ranging and esoteric career that encompassed not only solo projects but also a series of fascinating collaborative efforts." Sylvian's solo work has been influenced by a variety of musical styles and genres, including jazz, avant-garde, ambient, electronic, and progressive rock.
Sylvian was born in Beckenham, Kent, the son of a plasterer and a housewife. He was educated at Catford Boys' School, Catford, South East London leaving at 16. As a youth, he listened to glam rock artists such as David Bowie and Roxy Music.
The band Japan, whose other members included bassist Mick Karn, guitarist Rob Dean, keyboardist Richard Barbieri and Sylvian's brother Steve Jansen as drummer, began as a group of friends. As youngsters they played music as a means of escape, playing Sylvian's two-chord numbers – sometimes with Karn as the front man, sometimes with Sylvian at the fore...
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