During her time as the frontwoman of Moloko and throughout her solo career, Róisín Murphy made a name for herself as a purveyor of adventurous, omnivorous pop that blended influences as far-flung as disco and hot jazz.
Born in Dublin, Murphy moved from Ireland to Manchester, England with her family when she was 12, and remained there even after her parents returned to Dublin four years later. On her own at 16, Murphy had no aspirations to sing until she met producer Mark Brydon, with whom she formed the eclectic electronic pop duo Moloko. The pair's stylish yet quirky sound scored them several hits, including "Sing It Back," "The Time Is Now," and "Fun for Me." By the time of Moloko's fourth album, 2002's Statues, Murphy and Brydon's personal and professional relationships were strained, and Moloko called it a day after completing the tour supporting that album. Murphy moved to London and began working with forward-thinking electronic producer Matthew Herbert, who had previously worked on a remix of "Sing It Back" with Moloko. He encouraged Murphy to bring typically non-musical items like notebooks into the studio and use them in musical ways; the results were first released as three limited-edition vinyl EPs, Sequins #1, Sequins #2, and Sequins #3. In 2005, Moloko's label, Echo, released the EPs as the full-length album Ruby Blue. In spring 2006, Ruby Blue was released in the U.S. Overpowered, which featured productions by Bugz in the Attic and Groove Armada members and some of Murphy's most pop-oriented songs to date, arrived in late 2007.
During the late 2000s and early 2010s, she issued a string of singles, EPs, and collaborations, starting with 2009's garage-house single "Demon Lover" (which was released the same day Murphy announced she was pregnant with her first child). "Orally Fixated," another collaboration with Bugz in the Attic's Seiji, arrived that November, and "Momma's Place" followed in January 2010. That year, she also made guest appearances on Crookers' album Tons of Friends and David Byrne and Fatboy Slim's collaboration Here Lies Love. In 2011, she worked with the Dutch DJ Mason, singer/actor Tony Christie, and the Feeling. She returned in 2012 with a trio of singles: the David Morales-produced "Golden Era" in May, the sleekly disco-tinged "Simulation" in August, and "Flash of Light," a collaboration with Luca C & Brigante, in October. Over the next two years, she worked with producers including Boris Dlugosch, Hot Natured, and Freeform, and also released the EP Mi Senti, a collection of Italian-language songs inspired by singers such as Mina. Late in 2014, "Invisions" -- another collaboration with Luca C & Brigante -- arrived. Early in 2015, the single "Gone Fishing" heralded the release of Murphy's first full-length in eight years: Hairless Toys was a more personal set of songs drawing inspiration from sources including Paris Is Burning, the 1990 documentary of New York City's ball culture and the African-American, Latino, gay, and transgender people who created it. The album was nominated for the Mercury Prize as well as Ireland's Choice Music Prize. Murphy returned in 2016 with Take Her Up to Monto, which she recorded with Eddie Stevens during the Hairless Toys sessions. Shortly after the album's July release, Murphy staged a show at London's famed Globe Theatre. ~ Heather Phares, Rovi