Over the past five years, British chanteuse Alison Moyet changed just about everything in her quiet, provincial life.
She moved from her farm in the countryside to an apartment in more bustling Brighton and blended into the city, unrecognized. It led to the sumptuous ballads “Alive,” “April 10th,” “The Rarest Birds” and the title track of her new album, “Other.”
“I was suddenly the observer, when all my life, even before I did this job, I was always noticeable,” says Moyet, who appears at the Fillmore this week. “I didn’t ever quite fit, but here I am now in this place where I do fit, a place where I can watch and describe, with no rhyme or reason.”
Moyet didn’t stop there. As she tended to her dying parents in nearby Essex, she decided to revisit some unfulfilled dreams from childhood.
When she dropped out of high school at 16 to play punk — eventually fronting ex-Depeche Mode keyboardist Vince Clarke’s brilliant synth-pop duo Yazoo, then going solo with “Alf” in 1984 — she planned on returning to art school to study sculpting.
“I always felt that music would give up on me, and I kept thinking, ‘Oh, it’ll be next year, it’ll be next year,’” she says. “But it never came about.”
She finally did enroll for art classes at a London university; it was the same week her manager contacted her about working on the new album (produced by Guy Sigsworth).
“I was commuting two hours into London to go to college all day, then commuting across town for another hour to the studio, where I’d be recording all night. It was this really interesting creative time,” she says.
The pursuits began to dovetail.
By day, she learned how to depict live models in clay, then in plaster and polymers. As she was composing the opening track on “Other” called “I Germinate” — inspired by Cora, or Persephone, the Greek goddess of the underworld — she found out her class thesis would be a mythology module.
The final project of Moyet’s first year of art school, which she recently finished, was a bronze sculpture of the goddess “putting plants into the ground while simultaneously sinking back into the ground herself.”
The singer, who will return to college after her touring sabbatical, says one fellow student recognized her as a pop star: “They were gobsmacked, because it turned out they were a fan. … But otherwise, nobody put two and two together!”
IF YOU GO
Where: Fillmore, 805 Geary Blvd., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Sept. 25
Contact: (415) 346-6000, www.ticketmaster.comAlfAlison MoyetAliveApril 10thGuy SigsworthOtherPop MusicRarest BirdsYazoo