Damon Albarn is an English musician, singer-songwriter and composer, best known as the frontman and primary lyricist of the rock band Blur and as the co-founder, and primary musical contributor for the virtual band Gorillaz. Raised in Leytonstone, East London, and around Colchester, Essex, Albarn attended The Stanway School, where he met guitarist Graham Coxon and formed Blur. They released their debut album Leisure in 1991. After spending long periods touring the US, Albarn's songwriting became increasingly influenced by British bands from the 1960s. The result was the Blur albums Modern Life Is Rubbish, Parklife and The Great Escape. All three received critical acclaim, while Blur gained mass popularity in the UK, aided by a Britpop chart rivalry with Oasis. Subsequent albums such as Blur, 13 and Think Tank incorporated influences from lo-fi, art rock, electronic and world music. These were followed by The Magic Whip, Blur's first studio album in 12 years.