Born on March 26, 1962 in Northampton. He graduated from a private school for boys, where he sang in the choir. He studied piano, saxophone and clarinet, and also studied theology at King's College London and at the University of Leeds.
In 1980 he moved to London, where he worked in the theater. He performed a saxophone solo in the video "It Ain't Necessary So" by the British pop group Bronski Beat. At the same time, he met Jimmy Somerville, with whom he founded the pop group The Communards in 1985.